Prescription Drug Detox Programme

Safe and nurturing environment for the start of your new, healthier life.

Thousands of UK citizens struggle with an addiction to prescription drugs. (1) At Sanctuary Lodge, our addictions counsellors and medical professionals are trained and experienced in treating those with addictions to prescription drugs such as opiates and benzodiazepines. If you’re ready to give up and detox from prescription drugs, we’re happy to tell you that reading this information is the first step, and we’re here to hold your hand throughout the rest of your journey.

When you check into our cutting-edge treatment facility, you’ll meet with a psychiatrist who will create a customised detox plan based on your needs and current mental and physical health condition. During detox, your body will rid itself of harmful traces of prescription drugs. During the process, our highly qualified staff will explicitly follow your detox plan and treat withdrawal symptoms as they occur to ensure your safety and comfort during the detox process. This is the first stage of your rehab programme and an important step in your recovery.

When Is a Prescription Drug Detox Necessary?

Not all prescription drug users require a medical detox, and in many cases a GP can work with you to reduce the dose over a period of time. However, there are cases of people who are prescribed (or even purchase) opiates, sleeping pills or other prescription drugs and develop dependencies to the drug, even when taking it as directed.

Those who have long-term dependencies often benefit from medically supervised detox within a treatment facility, with the comfort and reassurance from a medically trained team of specialists.

Prescription drug detox is also necessary for individuals who abuse prescription drugs. Abuse usually consists of taking drugs without a prescription or taking more than a prescription calls for. Medical detox is the best way for those abusing prescription drugs to ensure that they’re able to safely and effectively clear the drugs from their system.

A woman talking to a nurse about detox
detoxification written on a wall

Prescription Drugs that Require a Detox

Any prescription drug that alters the mind or causes physical dependence should be cleared from the system during a medical detox programme after a period of abuse. Prescription drugs that normally require detox include:

  • Benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium
  • Sleeping pills and z-drugs such as Lunesta and Ambien
  • Stimulant ADHD medication such as Dexedrine, Adderall and Ritalin
  • Opiates such as morphine and codeine

Managing Prescription Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

When you check into Sanctuary Lodge, a psychiatrist will perform a complete medical assessment and determine the best detox programme to suit your needs. Your programme may include the use of medications during detox. The drugs you may be prescribed depend on the type of prescription drug used before attending treatment. While opiate detox may call for an opiate substitute such as methadone or naltrexone, (2) some other drugs, including benzodiazepines, may need to be tapered off under medical supervision to avoid extreme withdrawal symptoms.

If a psychiatrist determines that detox medications are the best course of action for your withdrawal symptoms, they’ll be provided to you only under medical supervision. You’ll be continually assessed throughout the detox process to ensure your safety and comfort.

Woman talking to a nurse about her withdrawal symptoms

If you’re taking other drugs

During intake, our psychiatrists will discuss your drug and alcohol habits with you and perform a full assessment to determine the best detoxification plan for you. If you’re using other drugs such as cannabis, cocaine or heroin, or if you’re also dealing with alcohol addiction, rest assured that your detox and treatment plan will be tailored to your individual needs.

If you’re taking other prescription medication

When our psychiatrist assesses your mental and physical health prior to detox, you’ll be asked about other prescription medications that you need. Our medical staff will check for harmful interactions between withdrawal and detox drugs and the other prescription medications you use. Our staff will administer your medications as needed and will monitor your condition around the clock.

Common Prescription Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

We understand that the symptoms associated with detox and prescription drug withdrawals are often unsettling. Rest assured, our highly qualified staff will monitor your progress 24/7 and ensure you’re provided with everything you need so that you feel as comfortable as possible.

The exact withdrawal symptoms you experience during detox vary depending on the type of drug you use. During the initial stages of detox, physical symptoms are typically the most severe. As the body adjusts to the absence of the drug, post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) (3) may set in. This might last as long as a few months after use is discontinued and is characterized by emotional and psychological symptoms that are accompanied by intense cravings for the drug. Rest assured that we will do everything we can to minimise the impact of PAWS.

Physical withdrawal symptoms

The physical withdrawal symptoms (4) you experience while detoxing from prescription medications can vary. While opiate withdrawal can be rather painful at times, withdrawal from benzodiazepines can result in loss of balance and sleep disturbances. Regardless of the withdrawal symptoms you experience, you’ll be provided with professional and attentive care, and every effort will be made to keep you comfortable during detox. The medications we use during detox can help to ease these symptoms, and your discomfort levels will be monitored 24/7 by a qualified medical professional.

Some of the most common physical withdrawal symptoms during prescription drug detox include:

  • Flu-like symptoms, including chills, fever and sweating
  • All-over body aches — these may be particularly severe during opiate withdrawals
  • Fatigue
  • Heart abnormalities, including racing and palpitations
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in the chest

Psychological withdrawal symptoms

Psychological withdrawal symptoms (5) such as anxiety and insomnia are common in the first days of detox.

In some cases, these symptoms don’t appear until the physical withdrawal symptoms have subsided in those who experience PAWS. Drug detox produces psychological symptoms no matter which drug you’re in recovery for.

Some of the symptoms you can expect during the course of your detox and rehab programme include:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings

How Long Does a Prescription Drug Detox Last?

The amount of time it takes to complete a detox programme varies depending on several factors, including the type of drug that you’re using and the severity of addiction. In most cases, completing prescription drug detox can be achieved within seven to 14 days. If you’re struggling with opiate or benzodiazepine dependence, it may require more time to safely taper off the drug under the supervision of a medical professional. This is particularly true with benzodiazepines which are often abused in higher doses.

nurse talking to patient about detox medication

What Happens After a Prescription Drug Detox?

Once you’ve successfully completed detox, you’ll begin your rehab programme. Just as with detox, your rehab programme will be tailored to your specific needs and addiction. We offer our clients the opportunity to participate in a wide range of treatment and therapy options and create programmes that set you up for long-term success, by teaching you how to cope with triggers and cravings.

At Sanctuary Lodge, we offer our clients the opportunity to partake in holistic therapies, including meditation and art therapy to help with focus and expression. We also adopt the 12-step model which teaches you to abstain from all mind and mood-altering substances and behaviours.

During rehab, clients are also required to attend group and individual therapy sessions. These sessions help clients to dig deep and discover the root cause of their addictions, thus allowing them to heal and recognise the triggers that led them to their behaviours in the first place. During individual therapy sessions, our counsellors will provide cognitive behavioural therapy to help you better manage your emotional responses and behaviours.

Once your inpatient rehab programme is complete, you’ll enter our aftercare programme, which lasts for one year after the completion of your rehab programme. During aftercare, you’ll be offered continued therapy and support to help you remain on the road to recovery.

We also provide weekly family workshops to help you and your family heal from the impact of addiction.
You’ll also have access to our UKAT Alumni programme – a life-time recovery community complete with exciting day trips, events and much more. We will keep in touch with you at different intervals and provide ongoing support via our Alumni team.

Your care doesn’t end as you walk out of the door. Recovery is an ongoing process. This is why we provide free aftercare.

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Prescription Drug Detox FAQ

Do you provide an alcohol and prescription drug detox?
Yes. At Sanctuary Lodge our medical team will provide you with a complete assessment prior to beginning your detox programme. You’ll be asked to provide information about all alcohol and drugs that you’ve been using to help us create a detox programme that’s based on your individual needs.
Can prescription drug withdrawal symptoms be prevented?
Although some drug withdrawal symptoms can be alleviated by detox medications, there are some symptoms that can’t be avoided. In some cases, drug interactions may also prevent our clients from using certain detox medications, and while we will try to find appropriate alternatives whenever possible, there are some instances where clients may be unable to take certain detox medications. In all cases, your detox will be monitored by caring and qualified professionals, and medical support will be available 24/7.
Is a prescription drug detox dangerous?
Although you can detox from most drugs with relatively little danger, benzodiazepines can pose a bigger challenge. Because of this, it’s absolutely necessary to detox from benzodiazepines under the supervision of medical professionals.

When use of benzodiazepines is abruptly discontinued, it can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. (6) It’s vital that this drug is tapered off slowly and under the advice and supervision of a medical practitioner. Rest assured that at Sanctuary Lodge, our staff is experienced at providing care to clients with severe benzodiazepine addiction, and medical supervision will be provided around the clock.

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