Prescription Drug Detox, Addiction, Types of Prescription Drugs, Signs of Abuse, Withdrawal Symptoms & Detox Process

What is Prescription Drug Detox? Prescription Drug Detox is part of the treatment process for recovering from Prescription Drug Addiction. Prescription Drug addiction is a disease that makes a person compulsively use this type of substance even though the drugs are harming their health and well-being. Quitting prescription drugs suddenly can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. […]

What is Prescription Drug Detox?

Prescription Drug Detox is part of the treatment process for recovering from Prescription Drug Addiction. Prescription Drug addiction is a disease that makes a person compulsively use this type of substance even though the drugs are harming their health and well-being. Quitting prescription drugs suddenly can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. But before we get to the main topic, let’s first learn about this kind of drug.

Prescription Drug Addiction is a disease that affects a person’s behavior and brain; this condition represents a huge problem in the US. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 52 million Americans older than 12 have used prescription medications nonmedically at some point in their lives. Many become addicted, and that process happens slowly. Some people don’t notice the moment at which they shift from recreational abuse to intense addiction, but when addiction takes hold, it can be serious.

Prescription drugs are designed to treat certain medical conditions or ease the discomfort that diseases can bring. For people with medical conditions like asthma or cancer, and people with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, prescription medications can mean the difference between a healthy and happy life or an upsetting and painful illness. But some people use prescription medications for reasons that have very little to do with illnesses. These people take prescription medications recreationally, and there are a lot of people just like this in the world.

Prescription Drug Detox
Prescription Drug Detox is part of the treatment process for recovering from Prescription Drug Addiction.

Understanding Prescription Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a component of drug use disorder. It’s a disease that can affect your brain and behavior, making it difficult to control your use of drugs. Some people become addicted to illicit recreational drugs, such as cocaine or heroin. However, it’s also possible to become addicted to medications that your doctor has prescribed. If you become addicted to a prescription drug, you may compulsively use it, even when it causes you harm.

Some prescription drugs are more addictive than others. Most addictive drugs affect your brain’s reward system by flooding it with dopamine. This results in a pleasurable “high” that can motivate you to take the drug again. Over time, you might become dependent on the drug to feel “good” or “normal.” You might also develop a tolerance to the drug. This can push you to take larger doses.

Types of Prescription Drugs 

Anti-anxiety medications and sedatives 

Is used to relieve anxiety and or help with sleep, but their use can result in dependency and a substance use disorder. Like alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium), and hypnotics, such as zolpidem (Ambien), used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.


Often used as medicines because they contain chemicals that relax the body and can relieve pain. For example, medications containing oxycodone such as Oxycontin, Percocet, and those containing hydrocodone such as Norco.


A drug that excites any bodily function, but more specifically those that stimulate the brain and central nervous system. Stimulants induce alertness, elevated mood, wakefulness, increased speech, and motor activity, and decrease appetite such as methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, others), dextroamphetamine and amphetamine (Adderall XR, Mydayis), and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain sleep disorders.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse


  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Feelings of Euphoria
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Poor coordination
  • Increased dose required for pain relief
  • Worsening or increased sensitivity to pain with higher doses (hyperalgesia)


  • Increased alertness
  • Feeling high
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • High body temperature
  • Reduced appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

Anti-anxiety medications and sedatives may cause:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Unsteady walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor concentration
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with memory
  • Slowed breathing

Other signs include:

  • Stealing, forging or selling prescriptions
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Excessive mood swings or hostility
  • Increase or decrease in sleep
  • Poor decision-making
  • Appearing to be high, unusually energetic or revved up or sedated
  • Requesting early refills or continually “losing” prescriptions, so more prescriptions must be written
  • Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor

Prescription Drug Detox

A person can implement their Prescription Drug Detox at several facilities. These include a medical facility such as a hospital, a dedicated detox center, or even a treatment facility that also provides prescription drug detox services, such as We Level Up Treatment Center in Washington. However, attempting to self-detox at home can be incredibly dangerous and even life-threatening. It can also increase the likelihood of a relapse.

The struggle when it comes to getting off Prescription Drugs is due to a couple of reasons. First, people might be afraid of the symptoms that will come along with withdrawal. Second, they might have even attempted to prescription drug detox at home, and the side effects were so harmful they decided to continue using. But, if you tried to get off of methadone and have struggled, the best and safest way to withdraw from methadone is by detoxing under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals.

Prescription Drug Detox
A person can implement their Detox at several facilities. These include a hospital, a dedicated detox center, or even a treatment facility that also provides detox services, such as We Level Up WA.

Prescription Drug Detox Withdrawal

During withdrawal, the body tries to regulate itself back to its original state before it relied on prescription drugs and painkillers to function. However, withdrawal can be a painful process to go through if it is not done safely and properly.

The reason the body reacts so severely during withdrawal is that the chemical processes in the brain were disrupted. Stimulants, opiates, and antidepressants interfere with the GABA receptors in your brain. The role of the GABA receptors is to inhibit or reduce the activity of your nerve cells. Therefore, a person who is weaning off of the prescription medication on their own can put themselves in danger if the process is not done with proper medical supervision.

Not every person experiences withdrawal in the same way. The kind of withdrawal symptoms that a person struggles with depends on:

  • The length of the addiction: If prescription drugs and painkillers are taken on a daily basis for an extended period of time, this results in a higher tolerance of the drug, which paves the way for more severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • The half-life of the drug: If the prescription drug  is fast-acting, the person may experience the withdrawal symptoms immediately after the first dose they missed. If it’s slow-acting, the symptoms may be delayed by a couple of days.
  • The prescribed dosage: The higher the dose of the prescription drug, the more likely a person is to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Any mental or physical disorders: If a person suffers from a co-occurring disorder, such as depression or anxiety, or a physical condition, such as severe pain, a person’s withdrawal symptoms are likely to be severe as well.

Prescription Drug Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

When experiencing withdrawal, the body goes into shock as it begins to rid itself of the prescription drugs and painkillers that it has become accustomed to. While withdrawal symptoms are usually somewhat similar, there are different symptoms for different kinds of drugs.

Symptoms of Stimulant Withdrawal

Stimulants are prescribed to help patients with sleep disorders, hyperactivity disorders, and severe cases of depression. The impact of the drug on the nervous system makes the body release natural chemicals, like dopamine, to make someone more alert. Stimulants are popular among students because they are used as study drugs to enhance academic performance. When a person stops misusing stimulants, they can experience symptoms like:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depression
  • Intense dreaming
  • Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Tremors
  • Stomach pains
  • Sweating
  • Fever

Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal

Typically, opiates are prescribed to treat pain. Opiates have a long history of being used to treat pain and misused for recreational purposes. Opiates are available in a couple of different forms: one form is as a prescription pharmaceutical, like morphine or codeine, and the other form is an illegal street drug, like heroin.

When opiates are taken, the drugs enter the brain through the bloodstream, which creates false endorphins and dopamines. This means that the drug gives the person the kind of high that creates a rush of happiness and euphoria. On the other hand, opiate withdrawal is far from euphoric. Symptoms of opiate withdrawal include:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches and spasms
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Aggression
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate

Symptoms of Antidepressant Withdrawal

Another common prescription drug that can often get misused are antidepressants, which are the most commonly used prescription drug among teenagers.

While antidepressants are usually used to treat medically diagnosed depression, these medications are misused for the feeling of euphoria they can provide. For the most part, antidepressant misuse occurs in teenagers who have a substance use disorder or a mental illness. Much like opiate withdrawal, antidepressant withdrawal comes with a handful of potential side effects. Symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors
  • Loss of coordination
  • Headache
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nightmares
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle spasms

The Prescription Drug Detox Process

To start the prescription drug detox process from painkillers and prescription drugs, it’s important to understand how the process works to ensure that the road to recovery will be smooth and simple. We Level Up Washington center helps people who are looking for a solution to their addictions by offering comfortable and cohesive treatment options.

To start the prescription drug detox process, an evaluation is essential in determining the specific treatment plan for each client. This is a very significant part of the recovery process as it gives the medical professionals at We Level Up an idea of what treatment is going to work the best. During this time, the team evaluates symptoms, medical history, and the severity of the addiction to pain pills and prescription drugs. The team will then create a unique and individual treatment plan to make the detox process as effective as possible.

Prescription Drug Detox
To start the prescription drug detox process from painkillers and prescription drugs, it’s important to understand how the process works to ensure that the road to recovery will be smooth and simple.

After the evaluation comes the detoxification process itself. The moment a person stops using prescription drugs and pain pills, the detoxification process automatically starts. During this process, the body works to remove the drugs that were consumed. The most effective form of prescription drug detox is one that is medically supervised and assisted. 

How long does it take a prescription drug detox?

  • Inpatient Rehab: Depending on the severity of the addiction, the treatment team may suggest staying in a 24-hour care facility during the inpatient rehabilitation program. During that time, the client will have the chance to receive one-on-one counseling, group therapy and additional recreational therapy opportunities.
  • Outpatient Rehab: Instead of living in a rehabilitation facility, clients commute daily for treatment during an outpatient rehabilitation program. The treatment team determines how often the client should come in, but they still receive the same therapeutic options as inpatient rehab provides.
  • Intensive Outpatient Rehab: In this case, the client may not live in a facility. With a minimum of nine hours each week, this intensive outpatient rehabilitation program can be split between either a full week or several days throughout the week – whatever is going to fit into the client’s schedule the best. This program can last for as long as it needs to, to ensure maximum impact and convenience. As the client progresses during the recovery process, their treatment team may feel that the client can receive a less intense level of treatment.

Reclaim Your Life from Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription Drug Addiction is a chronic disease that can cause major health, social, and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. Are you looking for Prescription Drug Detox Centers? We Level Up Treatment centers in the country can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this condition with a professional and safe Prescription Drug Detox process. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.

We Level Up Washington Mental Health Center: Primary Mental Health Treatment with Secondary Co-Occurring Treatments

The We Level Up Washington primary mental health center stands ready to help. Offering secondary treatment programs for underlying conditions like a prescription drug addiction that frequently fuels harmful behaviors. Taking that first step to get the professional support you need can be life-transforming.

We know how mental health disorders and secondary co-occurring substance abuse diagnoses directly affect one another. The We Level Up Washington treatment center provides recovery programs through science-based mental health treatments that can help you feel better. Call us now for a free mental health evaluation! 

Inpatient medical detox and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at affiliated facilities at other We Level Up Treatment Centers locations beyond the Washington treatment facility.


[1] National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (

[2]  We Level Up Treatment Center – ‘Prescription Drug Abuse’