What is Rapid Detox and What Does It Involve?

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What is Rapid Detox?

Established in the early 1990s, rapid detox from opiates involves sedating patients with anesthesia while drugs like naltrexone, an opiate blocker, force the body to start detoxing. The withdrawal occurs while you’re sleeping under general anesthesia. In the procedure, you’re given intravenous injections of opiate blockers, which stops the effects of opioids. Other medications that support this procedure for your additional comfort are muscle relaxants and anti-nausea medication. Rapid detox takes 4-8 hours to achieve and takes place in intensive care units in a hospital. When you wake from the procedure, the opinion is that you have officially completed detox. This should mean that there are no withdrawal symptoms but the results are like any other kind of detox. The body is still processing withdrawal just like it would with medical detox so you may experience cravings, pain and feel nauseous at a minimum. There are more severe outcomes from this radical style of detox and some people have died through this treatment option. Being under an anesthetic adds more risk to detox. It’s also important to understand that rapid detox is in no way a complete treatment. Detox alone doesn’t heal you from psychological issues attached to addiction. There is still further therapy and support needed. Rehabilitation that should be implemented and follow-up treatment to fully recover. Rapid detox is designed only to detox you and is reported to be equally as challenging as traditional detox. Then you can start dealing with your life without the substance abuse towering over you.

What Narcotics Does Rapid Detox Work For?

Rapid detox from opiates and other narcotics significantly reduces your detox time and spares pain and discomfort from withdrawal. For patients that suffer intense withdrawal symptoms and have failed with other methods, this might be the answer. Rapid detox can relieve the shock of opiate withdrawal for those dependent on the following drugs:

  • Heroin
  • Vicodin
  • Percocet
  • Demerol
  • OxyContin
  • Opium
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Any kind of narcotic drug

Rapid Detox Reviews

Patients that underwent rapid detox generally said that they had tried many other methods and they had failed. This is some feedback about the patient’s overall experience and thoughts about effectiveness. Rapid detox review from dizzynikki: “Yeah, I did regular rehab. quit cold turkey. I have been clean a few times only to relapse weeks, months later. Well, this time it rocked my wallet for $11,000. I’m certainly not gonna say I’m cured, but I do know when I look an opiate pill, I don’t think about how it cost 2 bucks or whatever. I know that will be the most expensive pill ever. Anyway, I haven’t seen to many posts on the subject so if u have any questions, let me know. Good luck everyone” Jgolfdude had this to say about his rapid detox experience: “I just went through the rapid detox procedure. They did a very good job. I had the procedure this past Wednesday. They give you some medicine or help you after the procedure. I was put on suboxone for migraines. I went to MDS in Michigan they were awesome I have the doctors’ cellphone number. It’s my third day and I am eating normal food. I would definitely recommend it because they are not in it for the money.” Pixiepoxie said this about rapid detox for opiates: “In my many attempts to get off of opiates, I too completed the Rapid Detox. I flew to LA and went through this rather horrific experience. This was NOT a good experience, nor a successful one. Just a very expensive detox. Not worth the money in my opinion. I can provide more details to anybody who is considering it.” As for scientific reviews, there have been no peer-reviewed studies that have proven rapid detox treatment is safe. In 2006, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews published their findings, stating that rapid detox shows a high risk of adverse effects. They also stated that there was a high possibility of side effects that could be deadly to the patient. Most experts that spoke up about rapid detox said that there were no benefits that separated it from medical detox.

Rapid Detox Cost

The average rapid detox cost in the U.S. is a minimum of $5,000 with an average cost closer to $10,000. Although very little studies or surveys have been done on rapid detox, as a relatively new treatment, it is said to have an 80% relapse ratio. While health insurance will often cover traditional detox, rapid detox is still considered experimental. There are no reports of effectiveness or proof that it’s safe so insurance companies don’t cover rapid detox.

Rapid Opiate Detox at Home

Since rapid detox treatment is considered dangerous when doctors are present, doing a rapid opiate detox at home isn’t possible. Realistically, you just don’t have the tools to do a rapid detox at home. The clinical treatment involves anesthesia and Intravenous injections of various medications. The procedure isn’t considered safe when medical professionals are administering rapid detox treatment. If you were to do a detox on your own instead of seeking out assistance in a detox facility, you’d need to prepare. The good news is that opiate withdrawal isn’t life-threatening most of the time. It is challenging though and some withdrawals can come with health complications you may not have accounted for. Cutting yourself off opiates with no real plan can cause a serious reaction. The at-home detox method would be tapering off the system and once you had found success, you would want to move forward with other kinds of detox.

Rapid Detox from Opiates

Opiates like suboxone, methadone, and heroin derive from the poppy plant. Opiates have been used for centuries as a means of relieving pain. Whether natural or synthetic, opiates attach themselves to proteins in the body also known as opioid receptors. These proteins exist in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tracts. Opioids block the perception of pain and create euphoria because they increase dopamine levels. The feeling can get you hooked quickly and even missing one dose can bring on withdrawal symptoms. Going cold turkey is almost unbearable, depending on how long you’ve been using opioids. Trying to quit on your own can cause pain deep into your bones. This can cause also immediate relapse. The rapid detox from opiates will minimize the feeling you get when you stop taking the opioid. The fact that you’re given anesthesia means you don’t have to manage the initial pain. The general idea of the procedure is that opiate blockers will speed up your body’s normal opioid system function.

Medical Detox vs Rapid Detox

Medical detox vs rapid detox hasn’t been properly compared per se. The benefits of medical detox are known while rapid detox has been researched very little. Compared to medical detox, rapid detox has not proved to be more effective at resisting relapse. It doesn’t have a better rate for adverse effects and is higher. When going through withdrawal, there is a greater chance of discomfort. For those who have mental illnesses, medical detox methods at a slower pace create more comfort than rapid detox. Through the slower tapering off method, those who didn’t realize they were suffering from mental issues may begin to expose these realizations. Mental health conditions that become uncovered can then be properly diagnosed and treated. Medical detox is considered the safer method as it’s overseen by a medical professional. Rapid detox has caused six people to die in a seven-year period during the treatment. Medical detox is still the most beneficial form of detox as it focuses on the person and not just the physical withdrawal symptoms. With both forms, it’s essential to follow up with comprehensive rehabilitation treatment to increase your chance of a successful recovery without relapses. The American Medical Association was not able to find a reasonable answer on whether rapid detox is safe. There has been no proof that rapid detox is any more effective than traditional methods and for the cost, you’d want to have those guarantees before going forward with it. The number one reason people are opting to go with the pricy rapid detox treatment is that they’ve tried traditional methods.

Who Rapid Detox Might Benefit

There is a small group of patients that can potentially benefit from rapid detox from opiates. It includes patients who haven’t been able to stop using narcotics, despite a methadone substitution and all the necessary support. For people who have highly active lives and can’t take the time out for a longer medical detox treatment, rapid detox can be a good option. This allows them to keep their jobs by treating their addiction in a more immediate way.

Stepped Rapid Detox

This procedure includes small doses of Naloxone with supporting management withdrawal medications. The doses are given every hour and is a slower method of ridding the body of opioids. The speed of the process can be controlled to ensure withdrawal symptoms aren’t too severe. Sometimes, Buprenorphine tablets are administered and you quickly suck the tablet under your tongue to assist with this. You would be conscious the whole time to communicate with the medical staff.

Warnings about Rapid Detox

While few studies have been conducted on rapid detox, there are some dangers when trying this method. Note that there have been several deaths in association with rapid detox under anesthesia. This is especially true when the procedure is performed outside of a hospital. A major concern is that a common opiate withdrawal symptom is vomiting. While under the influence of anesthesia, you may start vomiting and be at risk of choking to death. Many specialists that deal with detox believe the risks of rapid detox outweigh the disproven benefits. These are some of the downfalls associated with rapid detox:

  • Can provoke unconsciousness
  • Transient confusion
  • Feelings of depression
  • Physical and psychiatric complication
  • Feelings of paranoia
  • High temperature
  • Infections
  • Possibility of a heart attack
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Choking
  • Drug addiction relapse
  • Aggravation of mental health symptoms
  • Possibility of death during the procedure
  • Serious health risks

While it’s a nice idea that rapid detox can be the miracle cure, erasing your addiction in a day, it’s sadly not the case. There has been no evidence shown that it’s any more effective, successful, or less painful than medical detox. Many medical professionals state that detox in a clinic setting is the most effective method for a full recovery. Regardless of what kind of detox you choose, you should also incorporate other therapy that makes up the entirety of addiction treatment. Rapid detox has not been found to decrease the amount of time your body is in detox for. There’s no proof that you spend less time in the withdrawal phase. Rapid detox doesn’t decrease the intensity or severity of your withdrawal symptoms. It can be more intense than traditional detox and many experts feel there is no benefit to using anesthesia to treat dependence on narcotics.