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Prescription Drug Detoxification

Prescription drug addictions affect people of all ages, making prescription drug detox centers important for recovery.

What is Prescription Drug Addiction?

The effects of the opioid epidemic continue to reach across the nation, responsible for the loss of thousands of lives annually. However, opioid drugs are not the only prescription drugs with elevated abuse rates. Data from the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that prescription drug abuse leads to more than one hundred deaths daily.

Also, in 2020, approximately forty-one million people ages twelve and older reported abusing prescription drugs. 1
Prescription Drug Detox Centers

What is Prescription Drug Detox?

When someone abuses prescription drugs, they use medication in a way other than that intended by the prescribing doctor. This could mean taking higher than prescribed doses or taking a prescription that belongs to someone else. It may also include using a medication differently than prescribed, for example, grinding up a painkiller and mixing it with liquid to inject it.
Prescription drugs are powerful medications. Even when used as prescribed, the risk of developing an addiction is high with certain types of medications. When prescription drugs are misused, tolerance and dependence on their effects quickly develop. When you are dependent on a substance and try to stop using, prescription drug withdrawal symptoms will typically occur. 2

Prescription Drug Detox Challenges

When you stop using a drug, your body continues to cleanse itself of any remaining traces of that drug. For prescription drugs, this is called prescription drug detox. Prescription drug detox can be complicated and lead to challenging and sometimes life-threatening symptoms. Because detox symptoms are unpredictable and vary widely in intensity and severity, starting your detox journey at a prescription drug detox center is important.

The Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

There is a common misconception that prescription drugs are safer or less harmful than other illicit drugs, but this is not always the case. Many prescription drugs have a high risk of addiction and trying to reduce or stop using them can lead to various prescription drug detox symptoms. 3


Depressant drugs include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and medications used to manage sleeping disorders. People of all ages abuse depressants such as Xanax, or sedatives used to treat sleep disorders, like Ambien. Depressants can cause shallow breathing, fatigue, lack of coordination, and in some cases, seizures upon withdrawal from chronic or long-term use. In addition, misuse of sedatives in teens has an increased risk of overdose and death.


This class of drugs often includes medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, such as Ritalin or Adderall. Stimulants have side effects in common with cocaine. The most common may include paranoia, elevated blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat. Additional side effects include an increased risk of heart problems and seizures.

Opioid Narcotics

The class of drugs labeled as opioids often includes medications such as oxycodone (Oxycontin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin). Opioid medications act on the same parts of the brain as heroin. When used, even appropriately, they can cause drowsiness, nausea, and constipation. They can also result in severely slowed breathing when taken in larger quantities. Users may crush the pills to achieve a stronger, more immediate effect, resulting in lower blood pressure and potentially coma or death.

Prescription Drug Detoxification Symptoms

The effects of prescription drug detox vary depending on several factors, including the substance and the severity of your addiction. Typically, drug detoxification symptoms include physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms.
The precise duration of prescription drug detox symptoms also varies from substance to substance and is based on the severity of the addiction. For some, symptoms may resolve in a few days, whereas for others, they may persist for weeks or months.

Short-Acting Opioids

Detox symptoms from short-acting opioids, such as heroin and some prescription pain medications, generally begin within eight to twenty-four hours after your last dose, and subside after four to ten days. 3

Long-Acting Opioids

Prescription medication detox symptoms for long-acting opioids may begin within two to four days after your last use. Like short acting-opioids, most symptoms resolve within seven to ten days.


Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms may begin one to four days after your last use and peak in severity during the first two weeks of prescription medication detox at a residential prescription drug rehab or prescription drug detox program.4

Prescription Drug Detoxification Side Effects

As your body begins to cleanse itself of prescription drugs, your body will experience many changes. Because prescription drugs change the chemical composition of your brain, your brain feels unbalanced when they are no longer present. This could lead to various symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and fatigue. Also, severe cravings for drugs are common regardless of the substance used. Cravings manifest not only in physical symptoms but in psychological obsessions as well.
The most common physical side effects of prescription drug detox include sweating, muscle spasms, stomach cramps, headaches, and constipation. In some cases, especially with benzodiazepines and opioids, detox can be life-threatening, leading to seizures, hallucinations, change in heart rate and breathing, and coma.

Variations of Symptoms

It is important to reiterate that detox symptoms vary based on the substance. Some drugs often produce mild to moderate symptoms, while others can lead to severe and dangerous medical side effects.
Because it is difficult to predict the type and severity of symptoms each person may experience, detoxing at a prescription drug detox center is highly recommended.

Where Does the Detoxification of Drugs Occur?

Not all prescription drug detox centers are the same. Before choosing a program, reviewing the benefits and services offered by the specific facility is imperative to ensure your treatment needs and goals will be met. Several types of therapy and services are offered at prescription drug addiction treatment programs near you.
However, not all programs address all types of addictions, and not all programs address all levels of addiction severity. Therefore, it is crucial to do your research before committing to a specific inpatient prescription drug addiction treatment program.

Prescription Rehabilitation Opportunities

You can learn more about the type of program, therapies offered, and other benefits by contacting a prescription drug rehab center, your primary care provider, or your insurance company directly. The cost of prescription drug addiction treatment will vary from program to program and based on your specific treatment need.
Your insurance company can review your benefits and help you find a program where you can detox from your prescription medicines safely and successfully while using your insurance benefits to defray costs.

Prescription Drug Detox Centers Near Los Angeles

If you or a loved one are ready to put prescription drug addiction in the past, a prescription medication detox program like Alta Centers can help. As part of medically assisted prescription drug detox, medical and mental health providers will support you throughout detox and healing from the effects of prescription drugs. They are available 24/7 to ensure you have access to medical and emotional support whenever you need help.
During prescription drug detox, they will monitor your vital signs and, if necessary, intervene to assist in the event of more severe withdrawal symptoms. If needed (and acceptable for your symptoms and treatment needs), medical staff can administer to reduce the intensity of certain withdrawal symptoms.
cognitive behavioral therapy

Other Detox Procedures

Once detox from prescription medications is complete, you can seamlessly transition to our inpatient drug rehab to learn more about achieving and maintaining lasting sobriety. In therapy at a prescription drug addiction treatment program, you will learn more about the challenges, causes, and other factors that led to addiction. You will also learn and practice vital relapse prevention tools you can use when facing future situations or circumstances.

Scope of Addiction

Millions of Americans struggle with chronic, debilitating symptoms of drug addiction, but not everyone attends a recovery center. Some are concerned about the ongoing stigma associated with drug addiction and addiction treatment, while others are concerned about how to pay for treatment services. As a result, many try to overcome their addictions “cold turkey.”

Unfortunately, this frequently leads to relapse. Relapse is not uncommon for addicts new to recovery, even after completing a treatment program. Statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicate as many as 60% of people recovering from substance use disorders will experience relapse. 5

Healing at Alta Centers

At Alta Centers in Los Angeles, let us help you take your first steps towards recovery today. Contact a member of our experienced, compassionate admissions team today to learn more about prescription drug detox and treatment in Los Angeles, CA.

What is an Intervention?

In a situation involving substance use disorder, planning an intervention may be the best, and safest, option to help someone who is living with an addiction. So, what does intervention mean? An intervention is a strategically planned process of confronting the person who is living with addiction about the consequences of their actions while simultaneously encouraging them to accept help and treatment for their addiction.1

The key feature of an intercession is that while it can be an immensely helpful option in convincing a person that they should seek treatment, it should not be done solely by friends and family members. Without the aid of a specialist, or someone who is equally trained in the process of interventions, an intervention may do more harm than good.

An intervention specialist is someone that has been professionally trained in helping people break free from their addictions. They can help a person without judgment, emotions, or blame to understand how their actions are negatively impacting themselves and those that they care about.

When performed properly, without judgment or pressure, and with the aid of a qualified intercession specialist, 80-90% of substance use interventions are successful in convincing the patient to seek help.

Early Intervention

Treatment is more effective the earlier that it begins for an alcohol or drug abuse disorder. As with any other health condition, early intervention and treatment can prevent more significant problems further on in life.

Unfortunately, in many cases, an alcohol addiction intervention or a drug abuse intercession does not take place until most other options have been exhausted. It can be difficult for those struggling with a substance use disorder to realize or admit that they need help.

It often takes a life-altering event, such as a divorce, loss of employment, or a housing crisis for a person to be willing to seek treatment. Because early
alcohol and drug intercession can be so beneficial, first responders must be able to recognize the symptoms of substance abuse.3

What is a Nursing Intervention?

Nursing interventions are often the first time a patient will experience care for their disorder. It takes place when someone enters a care facility such as a clinic or hospital for a condition that may or may not be caused or exacerbated by their substance use disorder.

After initial evaluation and stabilization, a nurse will take action to help their patient by suggesting healthy physical or emotional coping mechanisms for a patient that wants to quit using the substance that they are addicted to. The nurse will also be able to offer education and information to the patient about other treatment facilities or care providers that can help them on their road to recovery.

Alcohol Intervention

A Further Look at Interventions

Nearly 50% of adults in America regularly drink alcohol, and it is believed that as many as 25% of those Americans have an alcohol addiction, most commonly in the form of binge drinking. In many situations, once a person with an alcohol use disorder realizes the way that alcohol is negatively impacting their life, they can reduce the amount that they drink, or even quit entirely, without outside assistance.

However, some people that have an alcohol use disorder are unable to see how their addiction is negatively affecting them. In this situation, an alcohol use intercession can be extremely beneficial. Some of the benefits of interventions include:

Drug Intervention

A Further Look at Interventions

Over nineteen million adults struggle with a drug abuse disorder and of those, nearly 74% also struggle with a co-existing alcohol abuse disorder. Drug abuse and addiction can be a much harder disorder to recover from than alcohol addiction, particularly due to the high rate of co-use that most people with a substance use disorder experience.

In many cases, suddenly stopping the use of an illicit substance can be just as harmful, if not more so than using the substance itself. The side effects and withdrawal symptoms that a person may experience when they decide to stop using a substance can be severe and at times life-threatening.

Luckily, substance use is a highly treatable disorder and several medications can help a person wean off of illicit substances in a safe, sustained, and monitored manner. A drug abuse intervention can help someone realize that they have options and that they can recover safely and healthily.

Questions About Treatment?

Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.