When You Hear About Medication for Detox, These Are the Medications & What They’re Used For

Drug and alcohol dependency can be pretty stressful on the body, that’s why it’s no surprise that quitting a harmful substance abuse can be distressing as well. The first step in recovery is the detox and withdrawal process. While the side effects of withdrawal are many and varied, there are some pretty common effects across the board. 

To combat some of these symptoms, many programs opt for medication assisted detox and withdrawal. Here are the common medications used and what exact purpose they serve:

Antidepressants & Benzodiazepines – These medications are used to assist those individuals who suffer from an alcohol use/abuse or dependency issue. While alcohol withdrawal can range anywhere from mild to severe, some of the common side effects that are combated with these medications are insomnia, nausea, vomiting, fever, hallucinations, headaches, and convulsions.

Partial agonists and antagonists & Opioid antagonists – The opioid antagonists work by blocking those receptors in the brain to protect those neurotransmitters from being used or stimulated even with the introduction of more drugs. Essentially, this medication is used to “block” the user from getting high, thus removing the purpose from taking more drugs. These drugs don’t counteract the symptoms of withdrawal; they are used to prevent further drug use so that your body can return to its balance. 

Non-opioid agonists & Opioid agonists – Opioid medications/drugs work by binding to opioid receptors in the body and brain. These medications are used to bind to those receptors to help the individual have a reduction in pain during the withdrawal process. 

While there are many prescription drugs used to treat, and reduce the symptoms of detox, withdrawal, and prevent further drug or alcohol use, these are just the main categories. If you had an experience with these or any particular aid during your detox process, please share with others about your experience and whether the medication was useful in your recovery. 

N.D. “What Medications are used During Detox?”. Dual Diagnosis. (Website). 2017
  • 2 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • thank you for this information... it's important that those going through detox are aware that there are medications that can help them get through the daunting withdrawal effects...
  • Good information here. One of the big benefits of going through a medically supervised detox program is that you can be kept as comfortable as possible while you detox. Medications can play a big role in that. Detox doesn't have to be the horrible experience a lot of people think it is. Thanks for posting!
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