When you enter a treatment program, you will be given an evaluation by the medical staff. In some cases, your doctor will decide that medical detoxification is needed. Medical detox is a process where medications are used temporarily to help you get off drugs or alcohol. These medications can reduce or eliminate your withdrawal symptoms. They can also help protect your health during the stress of withdrawal. Each person’s situation is different, but there are several medications that are typically used during detoxification. The medications vary based on the substance that you’ve used.
Painkillers and Opiates
Addiction to prescription painkillers is a common occurrence. It can happen to someone who has taken painkillers that were legally prescribed or to someone who illegally obtained the drug. OxyContin is a painkiller that is often abused. Opiates such as morphine and heroin are also very addictive. Getting these types of drugs out of your system can cause you to experience side effects like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Withdrawal can also make you feel agitated and have dark moods. Withdrawing from opiates and painkillers can cause physical agony that is unbearable.
Methadone is the most common detox drug used for addiction to opiates and painkillers. It reduces cravings and is very effective at eliminating withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone is a combination drug that also reduces your craving for opiates and can shorten the time for detoxification. Clonidine, a blood pressure medication, may be used to lower your agitation and calm your nervous system during withdrawal. Clonidine may also help you sleep better during detox.
Alcoholics tend to suffer from the shakes or DTs (delirium tremens) when they quit drinking. They may also be irritable and depressed. Alcohol withdrawal can be harmful to your health if you are a heavy drinker over a long period of time. Some alcoholics experience seizures when they stop drinking. Detox medications can reduce these side effects.
Anxiety, depression and shakiness during alcohol withdrawal can be controlled with medications like Valium, Ativan and Librium. If you experience seizures, you may need to take an anticonvulsant like Tegretol. In some cases, antipsychotic medications may be needed to treat extreme anxiety or hallucinations.
Stimulants, like cocaine or amphetamines, raise your alertness and mood. These drugs speed up your nervous system, increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. Stimulants can be used legally to treat medical conditions, but the abuse of stimulants can lead to serious medical conditions such as paranoia, panic attacks and heart failure.
Initial withdrawal from stimulants causes a crash. You may want to sleep a lot during withdrawal. You may feel depressed, agitated and crave more drugs. Antidepressants like Norpramin and Valium can help reduce withdrawal symptoms. Antipsychotic medications can be used to control paranoia and panic attacks.
Have you tried to quit on your own? If you had severe withdrawal symptoms in the past, you may find it very difficult to try again. A bad experience makes you want to avoid the side effects of withdrawal. Don’t let your past experiences stop you now. Medical detoxification can help you. When you enter a treatment program, the staff can ease your withdrawal with medications. Are you ready to stop using drugs or alcohol? Call our hotline at 800-447-9081 any time, day or night. We can help you take the next step toward a life without drugs or alcohol.