Rapid Detoxification (Explained)
Detoxification is an extremely efficient first step towards addiction recovery if an intensive rehab program follows it. Part of the goal of detox is to eliminate harmful substances from the body. However, it is not rehabilitation and cannot ‘cure’ an addict from their dependency. Only if followed by a treatment program will it be an efficient process.
There are two traditional types of detox available, social detox and medically supervised withdrawal. Since the 1980s, two new and controversial styles of opiate detox emerged. These methods are rapid detox and ultra-rapid detox. Similar to traditional methods of detox, these are for removing drugs from an addict’s system.
As the names imply, these methods detox the body much faster. As always, professionals must medically supervise detox of any type for the patient’s safety and comfort. We can help you get to a treatment center if you consider this or any detox. Please call today at 405-583-4309. We want to help you take the first steps towards an addiction-free life.
Continue reading below for more information about if rapid detox is right for you. If you require additional assistance then please reach out to our professionals today.
Rapid Detox, also called Rapid Anesthesia Detox, requires intravenous medications to quickly remove opiate drugs from the opiate receptors in the body. Opiate drugs attach to the opiate receptors inducing the feeling of euphoria and pain relief. In addition, rapid detoxification eliminates the extreme pain and suffering associated with opiate withdrawal.
Fortunately, once we remove the opiate from the receptors, the worst is over. Treatment is in the intensive care unit. There are experts available for patients to manage induced withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures. During rapid detox, a patient is under anesthesia. A combination of medications removes the residual toxins from the drug and carries them out of the brain and body.
For example, the benefits of rapid Detox include:
- Reduced detox time from weeks or even months to days
- There are no withdrawal symptoms for the patient while under anesthesia
- Higher retention rates in drug treatment programs
Like almost any therapy or treatment, there are drawbacks to rapid Detox from opiates, including:
- Detox is only the first step of recovery. Removing the opioids from the body does not do anything to treat the brain disease of addiction.
- Like any detox treatment, it is only useful if it is part of a more comprehensive treatment program.
- The duration and intensity of withdrawal symptoms are unpredictable.
- There are uncertain and sometimes drastic consequences stemming from complications with the anesthesia.
- It is physically dangerous, which is why it is in an intensive care unit.
- Detox does not eliminate the cravings.
- It does not address the problems that led to the addiction in the first place.
- It is costly, making it unavailable to most people.
Ultra-Rapid Detox (URD) is a technique that helps people detoxify from opiates—developed in the 1980s because older detox techniques were painful and usually unsuccessful. URD involves putting patients under general anesthesia and giving them Naltrexone to flush all of the opiates off the brain receptors. It is always successful. However, it results in a significant shock to the patient’s system. Patients usually feel terrible after the procedure. Furthermore, there are some risks involved.
Approximately 1 in 500 to 1 in 1,000 patients die after the procedure, and the exact cause of death is unknown. Several centers around the world still perform URD in a supervised setting with experienced personnel. It seems to be a reasonable procedure where the benefits outweigh the risks. Some health insurance companies such as Aetna consider ultra-rapid detox experimental and investigational as a clinical treatment because it has not established effectiveness.
In the URD procedure, detox is from an injection of very high doses of an opiate enemy called naloxone under general anesthesia or heavy sedation. Additionally, this is a slow immersion of low-dose naloxone. The 4-hour procedure is in an intensive care unit, and the patient requires one to two days of hospitalization for a full treatment protocol. Supporters of the procedure claim that if the URD is successful, then it eliminates withdrawal symptoms and physical dependency. They are reducing the psychological craving for drugs. However, in 1996, experts prominent in the field of opiate addiction reported their concerns about URD. They stated that detoxification is not a cure for opiate addiction and that medication without psychosocial support has little impact on opiate addiction.
If you would like more information about what treatment option is best for you, then please call our experts today. We are here to help you live your healthiest life.
The Differences Between Rapid Detox and Ultra-Rapid Detox
There is only one real difference between rapid detox and ultra-rapid detox: its time to complete each treatment. Rapid detox from opiates requires two to three sessions over a few days to complete. However, someone can complete ultra-rapid detox in one day by putting the addict under more profound anesthesia for a longer period. While the benefits of each are the same, there are more drawbacks to URD. For example, ultra-rapid detox is only useful in people with mild or moderate dependence issues.
Ultra-rapid detox results in more frequent adverse reactions and complications from anesthesia. These complications can include:
- Fluid in the lungs
- Breathing problems
- Cardiac irregularities
- Cardiac arrest
- Complications of diabetes
- Complications of mental health issues
Ultra-rapid detox is no more effective than any other detox method in reducing withdrawal symptoms.
Furthermore, with the current prescription painkiller abuse epidemic, clinicians need more research on cost-effective detox methods for opiates. When rapid detox was a groundbreaking development in the 1990s, it became widely adopted by many facilities. Unfortunately, this led to its use without enough knowledge or experience to perform it effectively and safely. On the other hand, ultra-rapid detox has become increasingly popular. There are claims that URD leads to a complete cure for opiate addiction. As a result, this method gains the attention of both media and clinicians. Compared to other detox methods, URD has a promising approach in managing and shortening withdrawals. Although many patients are treated with URD worldwide, there is still little scientific data on this procedure’s efficacy and long-term outcome.
Risks of Rapid Detox and Ultra-Rapid Detox
Patients do not wish to feel the pain of withdrawal. Instead, they want to go to sleep and “wake up clean.” While sleeping through or speeding up the detox process can sound appealing, it can come with intense complications, for example:
- Muscle aches
- Respiratory distress
- Acute renal failure
- Attempted suicide
The National Institute on Drug Abuse felt the ultra-rapid, anesthesia-assisted detox method carried severe risks. Patients should consider the many dangers of this approach before deciding to pursue the procedure. Due to the many risks and the limited understanding of these procedures, we must carefully select rapid detox patients.
However, doctors suggest that a person be generally healthy and have no more than two co-occurring disorders. In addition, insurance does not cover this approach to be too costly for some patients. Unfortunately, if patients do not fully understand these factors before the procedures, it can lead to further complications or adverse reactions.
Moreover, in the ultra-rapid approach, physicians put patients under anesthesia for 4-6 hours while administering naltrexone. This is a medication that precipitates withdrawal by blocking opioid molecules from brain receptors. Naltrexone helps motivate patients to stay off opiates, but many do not stick to it because of the side effects of anxiety and restlessness. It can help keep an addict from feeling a need to use drugs but is not a cure for addiction. Long-acting monthly injections of naltrexone, now available for alcoholism treatment, may work better for some patients.
You do not need to suffer addiction alone. We can help you. Contact our specialists today and start your new journey to a sober lifestyle.
Rapid and ultra-rapid detox treatments attempt to answer the needs of opioid-dependent patients. It also expands the available treatment options. These methods are useful in some contexts. However, this procedure lies in resolving the ethical conflicts surrounding the process.
In 2005, the Journal of the American Medical Association said, “rapid opioid detoxification with opioid antagonist induction using general anesthesia has emerged as an expensive, potentially dangerous, unproven approach to treat opioid dependence.”
Experts at the California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM), when asked why patients typically choose to undergo an accelerated detox process, stated, “Anesthesia-assisted rapid opiate detoxification appeals to patients who want a ‘magic bullet’ to treat their addiction.” Treatment providers may play into the patient’s unrealistic expectations of the rapid opiate detox process. When patients wake up from the procedure, they expect to feel normal again. However, this is rarely the case. Patients may continue to feel uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms after the detox process. Since many patients have multiple drugs to mask the severe side effects of rapid detox, the duration of these painful symptoms is unknown. These uncertainties will often steer people away from these detox methods.
To summarize, as with any treatment for addiction of any type, you should think about all benefits and drawbacks carefully and thoroughly. Please contact us for any questions you may have about any detox. We here to help you. Call 405-583-4309 today.
Written by: Kate Schwab