What to Expect From a Prescription Drugs Detox

Written By

Finding yourself addicted to prescription drugs can be a hard wake up call. Making the decision to take on a pill detox is hard. Knowing where to begin is even harder.

You may feel as if detoxing is impossible, but it’s not. You just have to be prepared for the bumpy road ahead of you.

It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but there are a few ways you can prepare for a prescription drugs detox. The key is knowing what to expect and how to be ready for those moments when it gets difficult.

We commend you for wanting to change your life for the better and we want to help. That’s why we’ve come up with the ultimate guide on how to detox your body from drugs.

Am I Addicted to Prescription Meds?

Prescription drugs can be addictive. The first step in detoxing correctly is identifying if you are addicted.

Here’s a list of some signs and symptoms that you might be addicted to prescription meds.


If you find yourself exhibiting a craving to use a drug, you might be addicted.

Cravings can feel like life itself is dependent on taking this drug. It may feel like you need this drug for your physical well-being.

The satisfaction you get from taking this drug may also be a sign of intense cravings.

Increased Tolerance

Over time, the body builds up a tolerance to drugs. This means that extended use will result in needing a higher dosage for the same effect.

This can be dangerous and detrimental to your health.


If you’ve ever tried to stop taking your prescription drugs before or even skipped a day, you might have experienced withdrawals.

Withdrawals can manifest physically and mentally.

Physical withdrawals include headaches, trouble breathing, nausea, a racing heart, muscle tension, and sweating. Mental or emotional withdrawals include anxiety, depressive symptoms, difficulty falling asleep, and poor concentration.

What Are The Benefits of Detoxing From Pills?

The long term side effects of chronic prescription drug use are unknown. While we can predict some of the side effects, we don’t fully understand all of them.

Liver Health

These foreign substances also need to be removed from the body through the liver. Constant use of these meds may overwhelm the liver. When it is overburdened, your liver can have trouble removing other toxins.

By cutting prescription drugs from your daily routine, you can help your liver better detoxify your body.

Cleaning Your System

When a drug is metabolized, it creates metabolites. Some drugs have an affinity for fatty substance. As a result, their metabolites are stored in the fatty tissues of the body.

By detoxing these drugs, you are able to remove these metabolites from the body.

Changing Your Brain Chemistry

Your brain adapts to the changes in the chemistry of the brain through a process called neuroadaptation.

Because some prescription drugs can impact the levels of neurotransmitters in your brain, your brain reacts and changes the way it functions. This can cause negative effects on the brain long-term.

Detoxing from prescription meds can begin the process of rewiring the brain into a healthy chemical balance.

How Long Does a Drug Detox Take?

How long a drug detox takes depends on a few factors. Your prescribed dosage, length of usage, your individual liver health, and body weight can all impact your detox time.

If your liver is in good condition, you may have accumulated fewer metabolites in your system. However, if your liver is not as efficient, it may take longer for your body to rid itself from residual metabolites.

This is coupled with your dosage and length of use. The higher your dose and the longer you use means more time to detox.

Don’t lose hope. No matter how much has accumulated in your system, you can still detox successfully.

What Does a Prescription Drug Detox Feel Like?

The hardest part about a prescription drug detox will be withdrawal symptoms. The severity of your withdrawals will depend on how much buildup you have in your system. Certain withdrawals will also be dependent on which drug you were taking.

Opiate Drug Detox

An opiate drug detox comes with severe physical withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms seem to worsen with a higher dosage of opiates. They can begin as soon as six hours after cessation of use.

Opiate withdrawal symptoms can range from flu-like symptoms to muscle aches, sweating, irritability, fever, difficulty concentrating, and a racing heart.

More severe symptoms that appear as withdrawal progresses are nausea, extreme drug cravings, stomach pain, paranoia, and depression.

Opiates may also have an effect on mood long-term. These drugs interact with the dopamine system in the brain and can down-regulate your natural dopamine production. When you detox opiates you may experience dopamine deficiency.

Anxiolytics or Anti-Anxiety Medications

Anxiolytics are central nervous system depressants that are prescribed for anxiety. These drugs increase the level of the relaxing neurotransmitter GABA.

Not surprisingly, anxiety returns with a vengeance when quitting. Anxiolytic medication withdrawal symptoms may also be more severe with some experiencing seizures.

Agitation, tremors, excessive sweating, and hallucinations are also examples of some withdrawal symptoms.

Stimulant Detox

Stimulant drugs are prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD.

Symptoms of stimulant withdrawal include trouble sleeping, anxiety, sweating, mood swings, and depression.

Precautions to Take During a Prescription Drugs Detox

Detoxing is your first step to freedom.

However, detoxing is not always as simple as ending the use of the drug. Sometimes, you need the help of a professional.

Additionally, you should always consult your doctor before considering a drug detox. Licensed professionals that are trained in the specific area of prescription drug detox can make or break a successful detox.

Detox Plans Under a Professional

Withdrawal symptoms can be severe in the cases of some drugs like opioids. For this reason, you may need a medication-assisted detox. This is a specific kind of detox that is assisted by other drugs to reduce withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse. Rehab patients are usually more successful on these detox plans.

Some medications that are used for medication-assisted detox are Methadone, Naltrexone, and Buprenorphine.

Although these medications can help with the physical symptoms, they aren’t a cure for the mental addiction to the drug. Mental addictions require behavioral therapy. These are usually provided by rehab centers.

Other detox plans include tapering. This is a method where you gradually lower the dosage over time to reduce severe withdrawal symptoms. Tapering is done under the care of a trained professional.

A Professional Gives You Accountability

It is unsafe and usually unsuccessful to begin a drug detox on your own.

By utilizing a treatment center, you are fully accountable to a professional. This increases the success rate of your treatment dramatically.

Be Committed

Withdrawal symptoms are the hardest part of drug detox. They may also last for a considerable amount of time.

When you are prepared and aware of them, you can push through. If you are committed, your motivating force will carry you through with success.

Being committed means being aware, prepared, and being accountable.

If you feel like you may need some outside guidance to stay committed, consider a rehabilitation center.

Finding the Right Program For You

After working with a professional to identify which detox plan is right for you, you’ll then need to find the right treatment environment.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment provides a safe and supportive environment for individuals who need to detox prescription drugs.

This is an option if you feel like a prescription drug detox would be too intense in your own home. If you’ve been on moderate dosages, this also may be the best option for you.

Residential treatments have a set schedule that will give you an established routine. This can create a sense of groundedness.

Partial Hospitalization Program

If you struggle with mental health issues, concerns about group environments, or are detoxing from high dosage drugs, the partial hospitalization program may be for you.

The major difference between this and the residential treatment is that you will receive your own personalized, individual space.

Intensive Outpatient Program

The intensive outpatient program is perfect if you are dealing with a mild prescription detox. This program provides more flexibility and independence while still working to help you overcome addiction.

This treatment isn’t for everyone. If you’ve had an addiction and relapsed in the past or if you’ve used a substance for a long period of time, the residential or partial hospitalization program may be of better service.

An intensive outpatient program works for those who have unavoidable responsibilities like work or young children. The flexible schedule allows you to fulfill obligations during your treatment time.

Aftercare Treatment

A prescription drugs detox doesn’t end with treatment. In fact, relapse prevention is one of the most important aspects of a treatment plan. This is where aftercare treatment comes in.

Some features of an aftercare program are group meetings, drug testing, social activities, and one-on-one counseling sessions.

These aftercare programs can create a sense of community, support, and encouragement. These are all factors in maintaining the success of a good treatment program.

Does Insurance Cover Rehabilitation?


Your insurance may cover your treatment at a rehabilitation center. This will depend on your specific insurance plan and provider.

To find out whether your insurance company covers rehabilitation costs, call or email your insurance provider.

Consider DreamLife Recovery

At DreamLife Recovery, we are committed to creating an environment for mental, physical, and spiritual healing. We create a comfortable structure based on science with proven, integrative treatments.


Here at DreamLife Recovery, we know that a comfortable rehab experience is a solution for some recovering patients. Because of this, we offer various amenities to encourage our patients.

Here are some of our world-class amenities:

  • Acupuncture
  • Energy Healing
  • Equine Therapy
  • Meditation Therapy
  • Physical Fitness
  • Yoga
  • Spiritual Counseling
  • and more…

Family Therapy

Knowing that your family is committed to your recovery can make all the difference in your success.

That’s why we offer family therapy at our treatment center.

Family Addiction Education

The first step in creating a successful support system is through education. By offering addiction education, we empower families to provide support based on understanding, knowledge, and empathy.

Our qualified counseling professionals also guide families to teach them how to best supportive of you during this difficult time.

Family Therapy May Help Prevent Relapse

Your family is going to be around you for the rest of your life. By equipping your family with tools to support and encourage you, relapse is much less likely.

Counseling through our family therapy program can also begin resolution of detrimental family issues that can arise with addiction. By resolving these issues, underlying problems contributing to addiction are removed and can aid recovery.

A Prescription Drugs Detox Is the Beginning of True Freedom

Detoxing prescription drugs is difficult. We are so proud that you’ve made the decision to change your life for the better.

A prescription drugs detox can be unpredictable. Your experience will be dependent on your unique relationship with prescription drugs. It can be impacted by the length of use, dosage level, body weight, and even liver health.

The thought of withdrawals can be overwhelming. The good news is that working with a licensed professional to assist you in finding the right treatment plan and environment for you. This will set you up for success in the long run.

Through comprehensive treatment plans and a strong support system, you can get clean and stay clean for life.

At DreamLife Recovery, we offer a variety of programs for any degree of addiction. From residential programs to more flexible outpatient treatments, we have a solution for anyone looking to heal.

Our programs designed for success extend beyond treatment to prevent relapse. This means recovery for life.

If you need more information, don’t hesitate to contact us.