Prescription Drug Addiction Withdrawal
What Is Drug Withdrawal?
Prescription drug withdrawal is a stage the body enters after the effects of drugs wear off. It has intense physical and psychological effects that cause discomfort and pain. The intensity of drug withdrawal varies from person to person and drug to drug. But generally, these symptoms are worse the longer a person experiences dependency. Thankfully, withdrawal drugs help curb the intensity and make the transition into sober living easier.1
It’s worth noting that anyone suffering from dependency will undergo withdrawal at various periods, either due to being unable to access the drug or attempting to quit prescription drug misuse altogether. But without proper medical help, relapse has a higher chance of occurring and a higher chance of causing an overdose.
It’s admirable to want to quit drugs by yourself, but there’s no shame in asking for help. Once you’re on the road to recovery, you gain access to a medical team and emotional support system to make that transition into sobriety a little easier.
Physical Prescription Drug Withdrawal Symptoms
Factors That Affect the Severity and Timeline of Withdrawal
- Type of prescription drug: Addictive properties vary from drug to drug. Some are far more addictive than others. For example, prescription painkillers can cause dependency within months. Other drugs have no addictive properties but can cause psychological addiction. This means that the drug itself doesn’t stimulate the brain’s reward center, but the person craves the drug anyway.
- How long taking the prescription drug: How long a person has experienced dependency correlates with the withdrawal period. After long-term drug use, a person will experience intermittent cravings for potentially the rest of their life.
- Dosage and potency of the prescription drug: The stronger the drug, the greater the risk for dependency.
- Mental and physical health: Any person with underlying mental illness or physical pain unrelated to drug use may be incentivized to continue abusing substances as a way of staving off the side effects of their condition. Thankfully, there are other forms of treatment to help someone who has underlying issues and experiences drug dependency.
Prescription Drug Timelines of Withdrawal
- Opioid withdrawal timeline: The initial stages of opiate withdrawal can last anywhere from three days to approx. a month. Opiate withdrawal, left unmanaged, can be deadly. Methadone is commonly prescribed to ease the symptoms of drug withdrawal.
- Benzodiazepine withdrawal timeline: Benzodiazepine withdrawal occurs in three stages over approx. 20 days. Withdrawal from alcohol and other substances can intensify the effects of benzodiazepine addiction and withdrawal.
- Sleeping pill withdrawal timeline: Sleeping pill withdrawal can take up to 11 days to kick in. The withdrawal can last for approx. a week.
- Gabapentinoid withdrawal timeline: Gabapentinoid withdrawal occurs after 48 hours from the last dose and can last up to seven days.
- Stimulant prescription drug withdrawal timeline: Stimulant withdrawal occurs within hours of last use and can persist for approx. 30 days.
Withdrawal time frames vary from person to person and are dependent on the drug taken. After long-term abuse, it’s best to detox in a medical environment. However, withdrawal typically lasts between three to five days, fluctuating based on drug type and the severity of the addiction.3
Medications Used in Drug Detox
- Clonidine: Clonidine medication is used to counteract the physical effects of prescription drug withdrawal, such as high blood pressure and joint pain.
- Lofexidine: Lofexidine works similarly to Clonidine, but it has less of an effect on high blood pressure.
- Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine counteracts opioid withdrawal and addiction by blocking opioid receptors in the brain.
- Valium (diazepam): Valium is used to treat anxiety. A key side effect is tiredness.
- Methadone: Methadone is used to combat drug overdoses and soothe the effects of prescription drug withdrawal.
Drug withdrawal medication is essential to replenish nutrients, reduce drug withdrawal symptoms, and set someone up for success in recovery. We offer free assessments and tours to ensure that our facilities are a good fit for you. Get a consultation with our passionate and trained staff today to start your journey into recovery.4
We look forward to working with you.