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Overview Detox


Substance Specific Detox Information

Addictions are dangerous and life-altering but stopping a drug or alcohol on your own can lead to much worse problems if unsupervised. Without professional medical intervention, addicts attempting to detox are more liable to relapse and have a far greater incidence of overdose and accidental death.

Every type of addictive drug has its own list of withdrawal symptoms. In other words, each drug dependency causes very specific physical symptoms, feelings, and behavior that you will begin to experience once the drug is discontinued. Knowing what to expect may help you to better understand the challenges of detoxing on your own.


Although alcohol is legal and readily available, it is one of the most potentially harmful addictive substances. Most people who have a problem with alcohol will attempt to stop drinking on their own at least once. Seeking professional intervention can increase your chances of success, lessen the severity of your withdrawal symptoms and greatly decrease the potential for relapse.

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be quite severe. They often increase in severity over a short period of time, an aspect that often pushes alcoholics back to drinking rather than seeing the treatment through to the end.

Some of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include:

  • Delirium tremens (DTs) characterized by severe and uncontrollable shaking, sweating, fever, chills, irregular heartbeat, and confusion
  • Seizures and convulsions
  • Elevated blood pressure and pulse
  • Onset of cold or flu symptoms
  • Severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting
  • Anxiety, panic attacks

The severity of these symptoms can progress, depending on how advanced the alcoholism is. A period of detox under medical supervision is the best course of action as symptoms can be monitored and alleviated if necessary. Medications may be needed to mitigate symptoms and psychological support is very helpful in navigating these crucial first days on the way to recovery.

Detox from alcohol can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the intensity of symptoms and other mitigating factors, such as co-occurring disorders. Once the patient has successfully completed detox, they are ready to move on to a recovery program that is suitable for them.

Learn More | Alcohol Addiction

Over-the-Counter Medicines

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines like cough syrups, pain killers, diet pills, sleep aids, and allergy medicines can become addictive if taken outside of the recommended scope of use or if they are combined with other drugs or modified in any way. Though these drugs are considered safe if taken as directed, excessive use or abuse can lead to bigger problems, both psychological and physical. The result of over-medicating with some OTC drugs can be complete systemic failure, nerve damage, and even death.

While addictions don't often occur with OTC drugs, it is possible to become dependent with prolonged abuse. If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms in between doses, this may be a sign that an addiction has taken hold. Some of the symptoms of OTC medication addiction can be:

  • Confusion or brain fog
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggressive or hostile behavior
  • Severe depression
  • Insomnia
  • Sleeping too much

If you feel that you are experiencing any of these symptoms when you stop taking OTC medications, you should seek medical help. Stopping these medications cold-turkey may intensify the symptoms and make it difficult for you to cope. Medical intervention can help you to detox from OTC drugs and get you back to feeling like yourself once again.

A detox program from OTC drugs can last anywhere from a few days to a month or more, depending on the damage that has been done. You should be aware of the real possibility that your organs may have been impaired by the drug use and that further treatments and medications may be necessary in order to reverse or repair the damage.

Prescription Medicines

Prescription medications are potentially more dangerous than any drug you can get on the street. There are many classes of prescription drugs that you can become addicted to. These include opiates and opioids, benzodiazepines (tranquilizers), barbiturates (sleeping pills), stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, antidepressants, and more.

Prescription drugs can be ordered by your doctor to treat chronic or acute symptoms, but many are not expressly meant to be used over a long period of time. While the withdrawal symptoms vary greatly between classes of drugs, they can be quite severe and long-lasting.

In the case of withdrawal from antidepressants, it could take months before you are able to feel normal again. In the meantime, you may experience serious side effects that include crying, suicidal thoughts, brain "zaps", and other troubling symptoms.

Prescription opioid addiction is among the worst for the intensity and severity of symptoms, but the actual detox is much shorter-lived. Opioid detox generally lasts for up to one week, though the worst of the symptoms are generally over within three days. Having medical personnel on hand to help when needed is highly beneficial and will support your continued success in recovery.

Detox from benzodiazepines can be very troubling and the duration can be quite prolonged, depending on how severe the addiction. Heart palpitations, seizures, confusion, and insomnia are all common detox withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms can result in serious harm and even death if there is no intervention available. Patients detoxing from this type of drug need to be monitored very closely for these symptoms so that treatment is available when needed.

No matter what type of prescription medications are at the root of the addiction, a period of medically supervised in-patient detox is highly recommended.

Addiction Guide | Over The Counter


Opioids and opiates are among the most physically and psychologically addictive substances known to us today. While many addicts do not start off using street opiates, they may turn to them after becoming addicted to painkillers prescribed for an injury, an operation, or for myriad other reasons. Their ability to diminish pain and lend a feeling of euphoric bliss is an enticement that few addicts can resist once they get a taste. Unfortunately, recreational use often leads to addiction as the user seeks to recapture that feeling again and again.

Opiates vs. opioids

If you have wondered about the difference between opioids and opiates, the latter are direct derivatives of opium, which comes from a type of poppy, while the former are a class of synthetic drugs made to act like opiates. Opioids include Fentanyl, methadone, Demerol, and hydromorphone, while true opiates include opium, heroin, morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone.

Opiates that may be obtained on the street include black market prescription medications like morphine, Percocet and other forms of oxycodone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Narcos), Fentanyl, and others. It could also include black tar heroin, china white heroin, or various adulterated versions of all of the above. These days, more than half of all street drugs purporting to be heroin have been found to be laced with Fentanyl, a very strong and deadly form of opioid that has been linked to greatly intensified addictions and many accidental deaths from overdose.

Symptoms of opiate withdrawal

Once you are addicted, it is almost impossible to discontinue use of these drugs on your own. The symptoms of withdrawal can be so severe that no matter how much you want to stop using the drugs, you may not have much choice but to continue. Stopping cold-turkey is very difficult, even for the most resolute among us. Symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Severe agitation
  • Body aches, joint pain
  • Fever, chills
  • Onset of severe flu symptoms
  • Sleeplessness
  • Sweating
  • Involuntary leg movements (kicking)
  • Anxiety, panic attacks

Since an addict knows that one single dose can alleviate all of their symptoms, it's often easier to follow the path of least pain. Once the decision has been made that it's time to stop, however, a period of detox is essential before recovery can begin in earnest.

Detoxing from opiates

While your recovery will address the root issues that got you addicted in the first place, opiate detox will get you past the worst of the symptoms so that you can start to think clearly again. During detox, you will likely experience some or all of the symptoms listed above. The good news is that detox from opioid and opiate addiction is relatively short in duration. Most addicts are fully detoxed in less than a week. The worst of the symptoms are behind you in as little as three days. During this time, you can be made to feel more comfortable using interventional treatments and medications that are meant to alleviate your symptoms.

While some patients may be able to process a full opiate detox within a week, others may opt for a longer process. In this case, we may recommend a drug like Suboxone, which mitigates the adverse withdrawal symptoms and allows the patient transition into a recovery program without spending a long time as an in-patient. It should be stressed, though, that Suboxone is not recommended for everybody. Patients who are on Suboxone generally end up in recovery for a much longer period of time and this may not be desired for all patients, and especially young adults.

Addiction Guide | Opiates


Stimulants, also known as speed or uppers, stimulate the central nervous system and amplify the brain's activity to an abnormally high level. Prolonged use or abuse will cause the brain not to function normally in the absence of these drugs, which can result in:

  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Chills and fever
  • Body aches and pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Oversleeping
  • Insomnia
  • Pronounced weight loss
  • Hyper-vigilance, paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures

While some stimulants may be prescribed for disorders such as ADHD or narcolepsy, a prolonged period of use may result in physical dependence. When the patient discontinues use of the drug they may experience any or all of the above symptoms, causing panic and concern among their loved ones as well as great distress to themselves.

Street-obtained stimulants such as methamphetamine, cocaine, crystal meth, speed, or crack cocaine are highly addictive and dangerous-not simply for the stimulant substances they contain, but also because of other substances they may be adulterated with. Today, many street drugs - even stimulants - have been found to contain fentanyl, which can be deadly even in microscopic doses.

Whether legally prescribed or obtained on the street, stimulants are highly addictive and can result in serious damage to the body, to the central nervous system, and to the brain. Long-term effects can include rotting teeth, organ damage, and heart disease among other things.

Because stimulant addiction is among the most difficult to recover from, a short detox is often insufficient to free the individual from the addiction. An effective treatment and recovery plan may need to be strategized over a period of months for best possible results. In the case of prescription stimulants, a weaning-off period is recommended, during which time the patient should be closely monitored for adverse symptoms.

Once detox is completed, a recovery program can be instituted that relies heavily on counseling as well as physical and cognitive therapy to ensure the best possible defense against a possible relapse.

Addiction Guide | Stimulants


Tranquilizers or depressants are a class of drugs that are meant to slow down brain function. They are often prescribed to treat insomnia and severe anxiety as well as some forms of depression. Most of the time, they are not meant to be used as a maintenance drug and are indicated to be used only "when needed". However, this can lead to abuse if the patient does not go on to develop the coping skills they need to manage their day-to-day trauma.

Addiction to tranquilizers can be insidious, as when the patient for who they have been prescribed stops taking them, they may experience troubling symptoms such as:

  • Mental confusion
  • Brain fog
  • Insomnia
  • Nervous agitation
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating and chills
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort (nausea)
  • Headaches
  • Excessive, unfounded worry
  • Inability to cope with normal daily situations

For this reason, it is recommended that the patient does not simply stop taking the drugs cold-turkey. A weaning-off period is advised and ideally, under a doctor's supervision. Inpatient detox can help with this process, as the patient will be monitored closely for symptoms and can be treated accordingly if needed. This is important to note, as some detox symptoms can be life-threatening.

Ridding the body of these drugs can be a long process. However, the best results have been observed from taking a holistic approach to treatment. Rather than using medication interventions, a healthy regimen that includes a diet of whole foods and exercise helps the body to heal more quickly and naturally.

Drug Detox in Colorado Springs

Becoming free from drug addictions may seem like an impossible task from where you are sitting right now, but Peaks Recovery Centers are here to help. Above all, we want you to know that you don't have to go through this alone.

Drug addictions are complex and pervasive and if they aren't treated with long-term sustainability in mind, they may well remain a problem for the rest of your life. To give yourself the best possible chance of recovery, you need to start with a safe, medically sanctioned detox. As all situations are different, we treat each instance on a case-by-case basis, developing a tailored course of treatment that is going to be most beneficial for the patient as well as their families. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, we urge you to reach out to Peaks Recovery Centers right away. The sooner you get into detox and off of the addiction roller-coaster, the sooner your life can begin anew.

Peaks Recovery Centers is a nationally accredited residential drug and alcohol treatment facility in Colorado Springs, CO. We are dedicated to treating young adults with addictions and specialize in age-specific, gender-specific care programs. Backed by research and many years of experience, we have found that this approach is highly beneficial to long-term success in recovery. Entering treatment with others in the same age group and gender allows our patients a chance to relax and be themselves as they navigate one of the most difficult tasks they may ever face. Using a combination of one-on-one and group therapy as well as physical exercise and creative activities gives them back a sense of who they are, helping them to rediscover the joy that life holds for them as they become free of their addictions.

We also treat co-occurring disorders as well, but if there is a drug addiction present, it is the primary focus of detox and an absolute prerequisite before we can even address or properly diagnose any co-occurring mental health issues.

Contact us today to find out more about our programs or to speak to one of our caring staff about how to get started. Today could be the first day of the rest of your life. Don't wait for tragedy to come knocking: find out more about Peaks Recovery Center drug detox today.