Drug & Alcohol Detox Services

Painkiller Detox and Withdrawal

Painkillers are usually received through a prescription from a qualified medical professional to manage severe, chronic pain. Painkillers are the most frequently abused prescription medications in the U.S.

Because overtime, people develop a tolerance to painkillers. While the condition that causes the pain usually resolves, the need for painkillers doesn’t. People also can begin to crave the euphoric sensation that anesthetics produce.

Most painkillers are either opioids or related to that class of drugs. It’s recommended to receive medically supervised detox for these substances.

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Signs of Painkiller Detox 

If someone you know has been abusing painkillers, they are likely physically dependent on the drug. This means they need to take their regular dose of pain medication to feel normal. Once physical dependence sets in, when someone stops taking painkillers, they will soon experience withdrawal symptoms. 

Opioid detox is known for its flu and cold-like symptoms. Individuals starting the detox process will likely appear tired, easily agitated, and have a runny nose and watery eyes. 

Prescription Painkillers and Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms 

The severity of the withdrawal symptoms someone has will depend on their physiology and the frequency and severity of their abuse. Although everyone will detox in their own way, symptoms often appear to come in stages like the following: 

Early painkiller withdrawal symptoms: 

  • aggressive behavior 
  • watery eyes and runny nose (flu-like)
  • anxiety 
  • muscle aches
  • insomnia (trouble sleeping) 
  • excessive sweating
  • yawning more than normal

Late painkiller withdrawal symptoms: 

  • dilated pupils
  • chills and spasms
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • nausea and vomiting 
  • diarrhea and stomach pain

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What Does a Medically-Supervised Detox Look Like?

Detoxing from painkillers can range from moderately unpleasant to life-threatening, depending on the situation. Withdrawal from these drugs on your own can be dangerous and very difficult. While treatment will consist of a combination of medications, counseling, and support, detoxing is the first step to getting well. 

Once you’ve decided to stop painkillers, it’s important not to stop taking them suddenly. Instead, a detox team will work with you to develop a tapering schedule to keep your body from going into shock from a lack of painkillers after getting used to them. 

Typically acute symptoms of painkiller withdrawal will last about a week to a week and a half. After that, someone can experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). PAWS can last for weeks to months to years after stopping painkillers, depending on how long someone has abused the substance. 

These extended symptoms can make it more challenging to resist a relapse. This makes attending an inpatient program crucial once the initial detox is completed.

Different Types of Painkillers

There are many different painkillers, each with a different potency and application. Some painkillers are designed to last longer in the body, while others are meant for speedy relief. 

Here are some of the most commonly abused painkillers: 

  • Codeine (Tylenol with codeine) 
  • Morphine (Roxanol) 
  • Methadone (Methadose)
  • Fentanyl and analogs (Actiq) 
  • Oxycodone HCL (Oxycontin) 
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin) 
  • Oxymorphone (Dilaudid) 
  • Meperidine (Demerol) 
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon) 

Painkiller Detox Risks

Someone who detoxes or starts to detox from painkillers lowers their tolerance to the drug. However, if someone only completes detox, they are many more times likely to go back to abusing painkillers. 

This can be dangerous because, without thinking about it, they often pick up and consume the same amount of painkillers they took before detoxing. Because the body no longer has a built-in tolerance to the substance, this can result in a toxic overdose which can easily lead to fatality. 

Higher risks of fatal overdose is another reason further treatment is highly recommended for those looking to recover from painkiller substance use disorders. 

Detoxification Questions for Painkillers

Consider the following questions when considering a medical detox program: 

1. Are you abusing more than one substance?

When someone abuses painkillers, they are also likely to use a second substance. This can make the detox process more difficult, especially to do alone. Be sure to talk to the medical care team at your detox center of choice about all the substances you’ve been consuming to ensure you get the best care possible.

2. Do you have a co-occurring mental health disorder?

Substance abuse and mental health often go hand in hand. It’s common for those who have started to abuse prescription painkillers to develop mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorders. Be sure the detox facility you go with can manage your mental health needs. 

3. How severe is opioid use disorder (OUD)?

Painkillers have such a high risk of abuse that someone can quickly develop a dependence on them. Sometimes without even realizing it. The severity of the OUD will also factor into the amount of treatment and aftercare someone will require. Remember that detox is a vital step to recovery, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. 


Ready To Quit Painkillers?

Ready to change your life? Don’t let painkiller abuse rule your life any longer. Desert Rose Detox is here to walk you through the most challenging parts of your journey and see you through to the other side. Don’t hesitate to reach us at (844) 427-3509 or requesting information online.





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At Desert Rose, drug and alcohol detox is only the beginning. We offer a complete addiction treatment program here. Unlike most Florida rehabs, we feature all 5 primary ASAM levels of care you need within a single program.

Desert Rose Detox has earned Joint Commission Accreditation. We also enjoy membership in NAATP, state licensing and are associated with certified recovery residences (FARR).

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