Some people may believe that they can easily quit their abuse of prescription drugs any time. They may think that because these drugs are legal they are not difficult to quit cold turkey and it can be done at home.
The truth is that detoxing from prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as any other type of detox if you are not getting medical care throughout the process. Prescription drugs, especially opiates and benzodiazepines can be risky and in some cases even deadly to quit cold turkey without any supervision.
Detoxing in a facility is an important part of becoming sober because it is the only safe and effective way to eliminate a chemical dependency. No matter what type of drug you are addicted to, always consult a doctor or medical professional before attempting to quit.
Dependence on Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs have become as dangerous as illegal drugs when it comes to their potential for abuse and overdose. Painkillers are more potent than they were in the past and doctors are writing more prescriptions for them than ever before.
The result is that prescription drugs are one of the most commonly abused drugs in the U.S. because they are easy to obtain and strong enough to make people feel high and euphoric. There are a lot of misconceptions about prescription drugs being safer or less addictive than other drugs.
Many commonly prescribed drugs like Adderall, Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin are all classified as Schedule II drugs meaning they have a high potential for abuse. Once these drugs are abused they lead to a severe psychological or physical dependence. With that level of severe dependence, it is painfully difficult and even dangerous for people to attempt detoxing from addictive prescription drugs.
Withdrawal Symptoms and Fatal Consequences
People who are detoxing from common prescription painkillers like Oxycontin or Vicodin will experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms include nausea, tremors and shakes, insomnia, achiness, sweating and poor appetite.
For someone who is experiencing withdrawal symptoms without the care of the doctor, issues like vomiting, diarrhea and sweating could lead to severe dehydration. People attempting to detox on their own might not be aware of certain risks like choking on their own vomit which can be fatal.
The most common issue, however, is relapse and overdose. At home the person detoxing will have access to drugs again and they may not realize that their tolerance has decreased. Relapsing after trying to quit cold turkey can lead to a deadly overdose.
While attempting to detox from opiates can be dangerous, withdrawal from benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium and Klonopin can be especially life-threatening. These types of drugs are highly addictive because they affect levels of dopamine in the brain and can even shut down the body's natural production of the feel good chemical.
Because benzos have such a powerful effect on the brain people quitting them cold turkey can experience severe withdrawal symptoms like seizures, psychosis, hallucinations, tremors and severe panic attacks. The seizures that people experience while withdrawing from benzos can be extremely dangerous and even deadly.
People can also end up overdosing if they attempt to start using the drug again after several days of withdrawal. Overdose of these types of drugs can lead to coma or death. The only safe way to detox from any type of addictive prescription drug is to be monitored by a medical professional through a detox program.
This type of detox can be more comfortable by eliminating withdrawal symptoms through medication. Medical detox will ensure that each person avoids relapsing or any other potentially fatal issues while they are in the facility.