opioid valiumSubstance abuse and addiction relating to prescription opioids and other pills has been on the rise in the US for over 20 years. Over 10 million people aged 12 or older used opioid painkillers in the past year. While opioids are the most commonly abused prescription pills, there are still millions of individuals that seek out other medications for recreational use. With their current abuse levels, these drugs include:

  • Stimulants such as ADHD and certain weight loss medications – 5.1 million people misused prescription stimulants
    in the past year.
  • Tranquilizers and sedatives such as alprazolam, lorazepam, clonazepam, or diazepam products – 6.2 million people misused tranquilizers or sedatives in the past year.
  • Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Klonopin and Valium – 4.8 million people misused prescription benzodiazepines in the past year.

With so many prescription medications being abused, it’s vital to make sure those struggling with drug abuse understand that there are options to lead a sober life. Many individuals show concerns about what will happen when they quit but don’t fully realize how manageable and short term withdrawals can be.

What Happens During Drug Withdrawal?

Withdrawal is the period of time it takes for the body to recover after an individual’s last use of drugs. During withdrawal, there are various symptoms that one can go through depending on the drug being abused as well as the severity of abuse. Withdrawal symptoms will present in different ways that fall under physical, psychological and emotional types of pain or discomfort. The length of time withdrawal symptoms last vary based on the drug, but here are general guidelines accepted and used by medical professionals:

  • Short-Acting Opioids such as heroin and most opioid painkillers – Withdrawal symptoms generally begin 8-24 hours after last use and last an average of 4-10 days.
  • Longer-acting opioids such as methadone – Withdrawal symptoms start later, taking 2-4 days to begin while lasting for up to 10 days.
  • Benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium – Benzo withdrawal symptoms typically begin within 1-4 days after the last use and wind down after 10-14 days. It’s important to note that abuse of benzodiazepines can also leave lifelong issues for the individual’s central nervous system.

Prescription Pill Withdrawal Symptoms

Many painkillers are considered opioids and share these common side effects during withdrawal:

  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hot flashes
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Profuse sweating
  • Anxiety

On the other hand, we have benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms that share some opioid symptoms and include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

The more severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures occur only in rare cases. These cases often stem from long-term abuse where the individual has built up a tolerance to the drug. The higher someone’s tolerance is, the more they need each time they use a substance in order to achieve the same effects.

Are Withdrawal Symptoms Life Threatening?

While withdrawal symptoms don’t tend to be fatal, certain drugs and individuals are at a higher risk of severe and extremely painful or uncomfortable symptoms. If the detox process is not medically supervised, the risk of fatal withdrawal symptoms increases exponentially. Not only does a medical detox keep patients safe, but it also allows for the administration of other drugs that can combat the feelings brought on by the mind and body going through withdrawal.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms are some of the most unpleasant symptoms for those ending drug abuse but are less of a concern for fatal outcomes. The primary concern for those going through addiction recovery treatment for opioid abuse is that the drug has an extremely high rate of relapse compared to other abused pills. Once someone stops taking a particular drug, their tolerance for said drug drops. If they return to using the drug, the dose they think they need can be high enough to overdose from which can lead to death.

America’s Rehab Campus is open to anyone seeking out help for addiction recovery. If you have any questions or have concerns about yourself or someone you know, we encourage you to reach out for a confidential consultation at no charge.