The 5 Worst Drugs to Detox From

Withdrawal from various substances can range from mildly troubling to extremely difficult to life-threatening. For those that have very severe and/or dangerous syndromes, medical detox is often recommended to relieve pain and suffering and provide access to immediate care in case of emergency. We’ll review some of the worst drugs to detox from and why.

5 Drugs With the Worst Withdrawals

While detox experiences will vary from person to person, the following 5 drug types are known to be some of the most difficult:

  1. Alcohol: Alcohol use disorder is one of the toughest addictions to overcome for various reasons, not the least of which is that it is a legal drug for those 21 and over, and alcohol is everywhere. Those who are alcohol-dependent who do try to quit may find it extraordinarily difficult to do so alone, because the withdrawal syndrome can be particularly severe. Depending on the severity o the person’s alcohol dependence, very serious withdrawal symptoms may arise. Life-threatening symptoms may include seizures or delirium tremens. Due to the potential for life-threatening symptoms, medical detox is the safest option for those attempting to detox from alcohol.
  2. Benzodiazepines: These psychiatric medications can be very useful for controlling anxiety, panic attacks, and even seizure disorders, as long as the person takes them according to the prescription’s instructions and a doctor carefully monitors the individual’s consumption of these substances. However, benzodiazepines can be very addictive when misused and are notoriously difficult to detox from. Attempting to detox alone from benzodiazepines can lead to life-threatening physical symptoms such as seizures. Withdrawal may also bring about very distressing psychological symptoms such as rebound anxiety, panic, and insomnia. Getting help in a supervised detox environment can allow for medical staff to not only mitigate severe physical symptoms and prevent emergencies but also to administer medications and supportive care to alleviate psychological distress.
  3. Other Sedatives: Sedatives refers to a broad class of drugs that includes not only benzodiazepines but other drugs such as barbiturates and “Z-drugs” such as Ambien and Lunesta. While Ambien and other sleep drugs may seem relatively benign, they can be risky to detox from without medical support, as their withdrawal syndromes can be as dangerous as benzodiazepines and may be life-threatening in some cases. Barbiturates, such as phenobarbital, are rarely prescribed anymore but have similar withdrawal syndromes, as well. All sedative withdrawal comes with risks that should be taken seriously. Some form of medical detox is the safest option for those dependent on Z-drugs or other sedatives.
  4. Opioids (eg, heroin, fentanyl, painkillers): The opioid epidemic of the last two decades has shown how addictive opioids are. Once dependent on opioids, a person can have an extremely tough time quitting these drugs. With the proliferation of super-potent opioids such as fentanyl, withdrawal can be even more challenging and painful. Cravings can be sufficiently severe as to make relapse an extreme risk. And while detox from opioids is not typically life-threatening, certain complications such as dehydration or aspiration from vomiting are possible. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has included opioids on its short list of substances for which some form of supervised detox is recommended. In a medical detox environment, medications such as buprenorphine/Suboxone or methadone may be provided to ease symptoms and cravings and stabilize the individual to prepare for ongoing addiction treatment. Without continued treatment, relapse is likely and, once tolerance declines after a period of detox, overdose is a serious risk should a relapse occur.
  5. Crystal meth: Withdrawal from crystal meth can be intense. Physical symptoms, including extreme fatigue, headaches, and muscle spams, are generally not particularly dangerous; however, the psychological symptoms may be very challenging to endure and may include depressed mood, anxiety, paranoia, and severe cravings. Medical professionals can supervise the detox process, offering medical support as needed and psychological support so clients can successfully complete withdrawal.

The above list discusses common drugs that are difficult to quit; however, detox from other drugs can be challenging as well and may require professional support. Overcoming substance dependence of any kind is not easy and in some cases, it can be dangerous. There’s also a lot of work to be done to recover from addiction after detox is complete. Getting help in a rehab facility that offers both detox and continued treatment for addiction can help you safely overcome substance dependence and then learn the skills to avoid relapsing back to drugs once your time in treatment.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse issues and are unsure of where to turn, call us today at . River Oaks, our inpatient addiction treatment facility in Riverview, Florida, is ready to help you overcome addiction and find long-term recovery. Call us today to learn more about addiction treatment near you.

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