What Drugs Have the Worst Detoxes?

Post Image

There are many mind-altering substances to which a person could become addicted, each offering its own risks and dangers. However, it goes without saying that some substances are more addictive and dangerous than others.

Additionally, while the use and misuse of certain substances are more dangerous than others, there’s also the fact that detoxing from certain substances can be particularly risky as well. Therefore, the following will explain the purpose of detoxification and name the drugs that are known for having the most difficult or worst detox processes.

What Exactly is the Purpose of Detox Treatment?

When it comes to addiction, there are two sides to the disease: the physical and the psychological. Before an individual can overcome the psychological aspects of dependency — which is essential in order to achieve long-lasting sobriety — he or she must overcome physical dependency, which is the purpose of detox treatment.

When an individual begins detox treatment, he or she typically resides in a special detox facility while receiving care and being monitored by physicians and other treatment providers.

The World's Top 5 Deadliest Drugs from Delphi Health Group on Vimeo.

Don’t go through this alone CTA

The purpose of detoxing in a facility is to ensure that an individual’s detoxification progresses smoothly without endangering the patient’s life; moreover, detoxing under supervision means the patient’s symptoms can be treated with so-called “comfort medications” in order to alleviate some of the severity of withdrawal.

In short, the purpose of detox treatment is to cleanse an individual’s body of toxins and other harmful substances, helping him or her to overcome physical dependency in order to begin receiving treatment for psychological dependency.

Heroin Detox

heroin worst detox

Considered by most to be the most addictive drug there is, heroin is an opioid that’s derived from the opium obtained from a special poppy. The substance bonds with the brain’s opiate receptors, causing a sedative effect while relaxing the individual and alleviating any pain or physical discomfort.

The drug also causes a spike in the levels of certain neurochemicals that activate the reward and pleasure circuits in the brain. When deprived of the drug, individuals who are addicted to heroin undergo intense withdrawals that make it one of the worst detox experiences.

During heroin detox treatment, individuals sometimes receive medications like methadone, Suboxone or Subutex (buprenorphine), clonidine or even mild benzodiazepines to alleviate some of the discomforts of withdrawal.

Unfortunately, many heroin addicts experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms for months or even years after becoming sober. However, detox treatment helps with the most severe symptoms and helps individuals become ready to receive heroin addiction treatments.

Alcohol Detox

Alcohol Worst Detox

One could call alcoholism the original addiction as it allowed us to gain a better understanding of substance abuse and addiction as a whole. Alcohol is a very highly addictive substance that’s difficult for alcoholics to give up. Compared to most other substances, the physical dependency that an alcoholic forms with alcohol is incredibly intense, making alcohol detox potentially dangerous and giving it a top spot among the worst detox experiences.

In fact, alcoholics are typically discouraged from detoxing on their own without some form of professional supervision due to the risk of several life-threatening conditions that are sometimes brought on by an alcoholic’s sudden cessation of alcohol. Specifically, conditions like delirium tremens, alcoholic hallucinosis, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and a condition known as “wet brain” can occur when individuals detox from alcohol without supervision. In instances of severe alcoholism, many patients will receive medications in order to make them safer during detoxification.
A healthier life CTA

Benzodiazepine Detox

Benzodiazepine Worst Detox

Similar to alcohol, benzodiazepines are a substance to which individuals can develop incredibly strong physical dependencies. For those who are unfamiliar with them, benzodiazepines are essentially a form of tranquilizers or strong sedatives that are frequently prescribed for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy and similar conditions, social phobias, and prior to surgical procedures to help calm individuals down. Unfortunately, their effects make benzodiazepines a popular type of substance for abuse.

Due to their moderate to intense effects on the central nervous system, habitual use and misuse of benzodiazepines are incredibly dangerous with the drug being notoriously difficult from which to detox. When an individual dependent on benzodiazepines ceases consumption suddenly, he or she is at risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, which can even include seizures; as such, it’s crucial that those addicted to benzodiazepines detox is in supervised, medical environment.

Crystal Methamphetamine Detox

Crystal Methamphetamine Worst Detox

While there are other drugs — such as heroin — that are equally as addictive, crystal methamphetamine, or crystal meth for short, has one of the worst detoxses for more reasons than as a recreational drug. In terms of its effects, crystal meth is a stimulant with its greatest effects being to the central nervous system. During World War II, the man-made substance was often given to soldiers to help them to stay away during extended or prolonged combat.

Nowadays, crystal meth is made in patch-make, improvised home laboratory using a variety of volatile, dangerous chemicals that often cause explosions. The effects of crystal meth last for many hours with individuals frequently going on “binges” during which they’ll continue to use crystal meth for days on end.

When under the influence of meth, neurochemical levels are exceedingly high, especially with regard to dopamine. However, the high dissipates quickly, causing dopamine levels to plummet.

Additionally, long-term meth use is known to cause brain damage as well as neurotoxicity. Methamphetamine detoxification is considered one of the most difficult detoxes for a number of reasons. Some of the most common symptoms of a methamphetamine detox include depression, inability to feel happiness or pleasure, insomnia and irregular sleep patterns, paranoia, hallucinations, anxiety, physical pain throughout the body, agitation, and intense cravings.

Find a Medical Detox Program at the Palm Beach Institute

There are many treatment and recovery options available to those who are in need. At the Palm Beach Institute, our goal is to match anyone who is suffering from addiction with the programs that best address his or her needs. If you or someone you love would like to begin living a life of health and sobriety, call the Palm Beach Institute at (561) 475-4613 for a free consultation and assessment.

Our specialists are available anytime, day or night, to help you or your loved one. No one should have to continue suffering from an addiction to alcohol or drugs.

call today



Staff Writer

The Palm Beach Institute employs a diverse staff of writers that share a common passion for helping those who are struggling with substance abuse find the care they need. With years of experience in the substance abuse treatment industry and decades of experience in writing and research, our team of writers constantly strive to present accurate and helpful information that is easily digestible and encourages people to seek help.

Related Reading
    1. I watched my poor daughter go through Effexor’s withdrawals, she only needed counseling. The forums are full of people trying to get off of it and they cannot. It is so sad.

  • I agree w I think @Jack. Effexor is probably the worst drug I’ve ever been on. And the detox was the worst I’ve ever experienced. Every single time I moved my eyes or turned my body slightly it was like I was shocked by the paddles over and over and over. My mind felt like I did a lethal dose of dope. (Methamphetamine) it took forever for it all to wear off. Literally 6-8 months. Effexor should be banned. Myself, my brother, and my Father all went through the same experience. Painkiller withdrawal is a long ways under EFFEXOR. But this is the mentally hardest and physically painful detox off a long time use. (All prescribed for surgery and chronic pain)

  • Jack, I couldn’t agree more. I have detoxed from heroin multiple times, and Effexor twice. Effexor was worse. I thought I was either going to lose my mind or kill myself. Or both. I’m clean now, and although I still struggle with depression, I will never take an antidepressant ever again.

  • I think Baclofen has the worst psychical withdrawal(but without pain)… it is like phenibut, but it have CL(chloride) witch is in all benzos 🙁

  • I got off effexor it’s now 5 month ago I talk to you about it I now feel fine ! Don’t give up ! Berit norlen

  • I would have to say methadone is by far the worst demon of all. N it’s such a LONG withdrawal. I’ve been on for 15 years n am finally tapering off. I’m now at 19mgs which is a very low dose. I’m in total withdrawal from 3am-10am-ish. It’s probably a good year before I will ever feel normal once I’m totally off. I tend to panick to n sometimes feel it’s just to hard. Good luck to all who experience addiction. N stay strong. Ur not alone. Thanks for letting me share!

  • I have been on both effexor and methamphetamines and I agree that the withdraw was really hard, however methadone is by far the absolute worst I’ve ever went through, every move hurts the entire body… The bone and muscle pain is horrific. And I’ve only went four days without it because of a virus and unable to keep a single thing down, I am going to start a slow detox when the virus is gone, I am now super afraid of this…. It’s not worth it…. If you are reading this I suggest you do anything you can to avoid getting hooked on this medication, I am afraid of heights and seriously thought of jumping off a ten story building to free myself from the pain. I was given a 2mg injection of dalaudid and it didn’t help at all!!!

  • Effexor is terrible the 2first month After I stopped ok ! Then hell broke loose for 3-4 .month then it got better but I still don’t feel ok 12 month later !

  • I’ve been on effector for close to a year and every time I try to go off I feel like I’m dying. if my doctor would have told me how bad it was I never would have started it. I’m trying again now and already I feel like I’m being electrocuted in my brain every five seconds. it definitely should be in the top 4

  • After 12 month since I stop taking effexor I still feel depressed and have anxiety when I wake up in the morning (?) Then after I get up and have coffee I am ok ?do anybody else have the same experience ?? Berit norlen

  • Worst ever. I felt outside of my body. Like depersonalizations were happening. I have always had severe anxiety so everytime I try to stop it I think I have rebound anxiety plus awful awful withdrawals.

  • Klonopin are THE worst to get off. PERIOD. LARGE area hospital with a staff of 10s of thousands had doctors who were on the local TV news years ago espousing the Ashton method of WD from benzos. Ya call the hospital and they STILL wanna do a 30 day inpatient stay. That way, they can bill insurance. They publicly stated the KNOW they’re treating patients incorrectly. Bleeping nice huh. Ugh, doctors.

  • Klonopin is one of the hardest drugs to stop. I was prescribed klonopin for GAD and unfortunately I didnt understand the consequences of long term use. After 2 years, I increased my dose because I was getting acclimated to the current dose. I eventually took more than was prescribed and had to go ten days without my prescription and ended up in the ER with a seizure. I’ve been on klonopin for 4 years and am tapering off now. It’s going to be a long road, but I don;t doubt that I can get off this terrible drug. It almost ruined my life. The withdrawal symptoms were worse than my symptoms when I was an alcoholic.

  • Lol you can tell all the people that have never been on methadone by exactly all the people who comment ANYTHING other than Methadone. You rookies don’t know what withdrawal is until you’ve had methadone wd’s. People are saying effexor or some anti depression crap? Please…

    1. Hahahaha! I was on 100 mg for 7 years. The place kept fn me on my drop. Im fn FINALY off. I’m on day 3 off nada. I went from 5mg for 7 days and just said f it as its such a gd half drip anyway. Excersize is paramount! Trust. I feel great other than the occasional sneeze yawn chill an a lil wrestless legs at night. 7 to 5 was the worst drop. 5 to 0 aint shit in my opinion. Mind over matter and Exercise!

  • I’ve come off every drug and medication, ssri’s and snri’s are a piece of cake, oxycontin cold turkey from 3oomg crushed tablets per day was quite bad, heroin, methadone was abit easyier but nothing comes even close to BENZODIAZEPINES, These are by far the worst things to withdrawal from, I did cold turkey off 100mg per day habit for 4 years and never have recovered from it even 3 years later

  • Methadone is far the worst my last dose wad 34 day’s ago n still going thru withdrawal in trying to push myself to keep going sometimes I want to give up

  • Chad – you’re right. There is nothing worse than methadone WD. I tried to quit cold turkey once and honestly thought about killing myself. And that was only 5 days into it. My problem is that I’m about to go to jail in a couple of weeks, I had been going to the clinic for years. I got down to 5 mgs and stopped going. Even just as little as 5 mgs made me feel completely awful. I don’t want to pry but have you ever taken xanax?

  • I’m really not sure what people are talking about with Effexor. If that’s the worst they ever experience consider themselves lucky. I was on 275mg of Effexor for years and stopped in a week. I not only had now withdrawal effects but felt better than ever when put on Wellbutrin. Ativan and clonazepam are the worse drugs I’ve gotten off and by far among the most deadly (one reason I would never go on methadone since its kind of tied with benzos). Klonopin has a long half life but it also has among the strongest binding affinities making it a poor choice to detox with. Valium or Librium are it. I used those never dropped more than one mg per week and its not a walk in the park but its better than most American doctors.

  • I was on 100 mg for 7 years. The place kept fn me on my drop. Im fn FINALY off. I’m on day 3 off nada. I went from 5mg for 7 days and just said f it as its such a gd half drip anyway. Excersize is paramount! Trust. I feel great other than the occasional sneeze yawn chill an a lil wrestless legs at night. 7 to 5 was the worst drop. 5 to 0 aint shit in my opinion. Mind over matter and Exercise!

  • I’ll tell ya what. Out of all the things I’ve detoxed off of (alcohol, phenibut, opioids, etc.) kratom has by far been the worst! Sure, many people think it’s the end-all cure for opiate/ alcohol addiction, but for those of us addicts, it’s like jumping from one frying pan into another. I have been a daily user for over five years, and my longest sobriety streak was three months in rehab. I was back on a week after leaving inpatient rehab. I equate kratom withdrawal to a combination of antidepressant, benzo, and opiate withdrawal. Oh, and the brain zaps are horrific plus the fact that it makes you feel like you have the worst case of the flu. it definitely has an effect on serotonin judging by the detox experience. Sadly, the last day of rehab, the staff said my intake photo was the worst they had ever seen in years. And people say it’s a risk-free herbal remedy. It’s frightening that all you have to be is 18 in most states to simply purchase this substance at a local head shop or online. I’m sure it has potential as a methadone or buprenorphine substitute, but more research is definitely needed before they continue to allow this stuff to be sold in an unregulated market. There have even been cases where tramadol was discovered in various kratom batches. Unregulation is my main concern with kratom. I initially thought it was my solution for addiction, but I am now paying the piper on a daily basis. Ugh!!!

  • In case someone is reading these comments about withdrawal from Effexor… Years ago I had to abruptly stop as I could no longer afford the medication. When I had quit taking it in the past, I had no problem. But this time… Someone asked me what hurt, what part of my body. The closest I could explain it was that EVERY CELL in my body hurt. I was acutely aware of every cell, and they ALL hurt, from my eyes to my toes. I could feel every nerve ending, and they all felt like they wanted to jump out of a plane to their death. I researched like CRAZY for a home remedy, as I couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. On my third day of detox, barely able to move and delerious with pain and mental numbness, I found “bridging”. I immediately bridged and was better within hours!!! Since then, I have had to go back on Effexor, and then off of it when I got pregnant. Thankfully, my doctor knew what bridging was and fully supported it. He told me that most doctors still aren’t aware of it. So if you’re trying to get off of Effexor (or another SNRI antidepressant), just Google ” bridging off of Effexor”. You will be SO happy you did!!!

    Also, my doctor told me that studies showed a full withdrawal from Effexor was actually worse than heroin. So it’s not just in your head.

  • Leave a Comment