Addiction treatment options have been expanding and evolving over the last few decades. The first step in the treatment process is detox, and there are alternative approaches to this phase. One of the newer alternative methods is rapid detox. The process involves detoxing quickly while under anesthesia. Although it is not right for everyone, it may be suitable in some situations. It is important to understand rapid detox, the risks, the benefits and how it compares to other methods.

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Understanding Rapid Detox

Traditional detox often lasts several days or more than a week. Rapid detox started gaining more attention in the late 1990s and early 2000s.[1] It is a detoxification approach that involves intubating and putting a person under anesthesia for several hours. For opioid detox, medical professionals administer antagonist drugs that cancel the effects of opioids. Rapid detox may also be used for some individuals who are addicted to alcohol.

The purpose of using anesthesia is to keep the individual from suffering the worst part of withdrawal. However, there may still be lingering withdrawal symptoms after the person is awake. In most cases, people who go through rapid detox are monitored overnight before they are released.

The Rapid Detox Process

Rapid detox typically takes place in a special facility or a hospital. It is an inpatient procedure. On the day of the procedure, the patient is admitted. After preparation, the patient is intubated, treated and monitored. It is common to feel groggy and sleepy after anesthesia.

When the body is suddenly deprived of a substance, it can trigger both psychological and physical symptoms.[2] Many people experience mood swings, anxiety, depression or other emotional symptoms. Some people experience nausea, headaches, diarrhea or other withdrawal-related effects. Medical professionals may provide medications to ease additional withdrawal symptoms that linger when patients are awake. For example, people who experience nausea may receive anti-nausea medication.

Risks of Rapid Detox

A key concern with rapid detox is the lack of research about combining opioid antagonists and anesthesia. Rapid detox comes with risks. Although not all people experience negative effects, these are some potential risks:

  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia and anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Delirium
  • High body temperature
  • Lung-harming breathing abnormalities
  • Heart or renal failure
  • Choking
  • Intense cravings
  • Coma

Since there are so many unknown factors, professionals do not recommend rapid detox for most people. This option should only be used when recommended by a professional after a thorough medical exam and medical history evaluation.

Benefits of Rapid Detox

For some people, rapid detox may have benefits. The key benefit is avoiding some of the most unpleasant parts of withdrawal. Since it takes less time, it may be beneficial to people who have a lot of family responsibilities.

Finding Rapid Detox Centers

The easiest way to find nearby rapid detox centers is to call a trusted information source. Long Island Interventions can provide information about rapid detox, traditional detox, treatment programs and more. When considering a rapid detox program, it is also vital to evaluate the credibility of the facility.

Evaluation Criteria for Rapid Detox Centers

First, look for a gold seal from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.[3] Since anyone can copy the image of the seal, be sure to verify accreditation. Be wary of any facility that offers guarantees or makes elaborate promises. For example, a website that guarantees a cure for addiction is a major red flag. Recovery is a lifelong path. A facility may teach people strategies to overcome addiction and cope with triggers. However, no program can cure it.

Be wary of facilities that focus on their amenities instead of their programs. Also, analyze the reviews or testimonials to see if they sound fake. When it comes to facilities that offer rapid detox, pay attention to how they describe the procedure. Do they imply that everyone can benefit from it? If so, avoid those facilities. Remember that rapid detox can be risky and is not a cookie-cutter solution for detoxification. The facility should have a thorough evaluation process to determine if rapid detox is suitable. Ask about the evaluation process, the procedure, aftercare and success rates.

Find out how long the facility has been in existence. Established facilities with doctors who have good ratings are usually better. There should be other qualified medical professionals for any inpatient care. For example, there should be licensed mental health professionals and nurses.

Controversies About Rapid Detox

While a quick detox procedure may sound appealing, it is important to think about what happens afterward. In earlier sections, possible risks and lingering withdrawal symptoms were discussed. However, some people experience additional problems after they leave a rapid detox facility. For example, intensified cravings can make it easier to relapse and overdose. Some overdose incidents after detox can be fatal.

Also, some medical professionals who are critics of rapid detox have ethical concerns. For instance, some say that anesthesia is hard on a person’s body and comes with multiple risks. Cognitive dysfunction is one example. It also strains a person’s body. That strain can be amplified when a person is detoxing from drugs or alcohol at the same time. The two processes together may cause compound effects for some individuals.

Rapid Detox Alternatives

Both rapid and traditional detox methods are not cures. Detox is the first step in recovery. However, additional treatment is necessary to fight addiction. Today, many treatment facilities prefer to use medication-assisted treatment. MAT involves using FDA-approved medications that reduce opioid dependence.[4] When combined with behavioral therapy, MAT programs have high success rates. Professionals use evidence-based approaches that help patients reduce cravings, withdrawal symptoms and relapse risks. Suboxone and methadone are two examples of medications that professionals recommend. While some people eventually wean off them, others use them as long-term treatment solutions.

Insurance and Cost Considerations

Many health insurance companies consider rapid detox or ultra-rapid detox experimental methods and do not cover them.[5] People who consider rapid detox options may have to pay upfront. However, many insurance plans cover traditional medical detox and addiction treatment programs that professionals deem necessary.

Preparing for Rapid Detox

Preparing for rapid detox may be similar to preparing for some other procedures that involve anesthesia. Each facility provides specific preparation instructions. There may be guidelines about when to stop eating or drinking before the procedure. Some patients may be told to avoid certain medications before a rapid detox procedure starts. Always follow the instructions provided by the facility or medical staff. Food, medications and other necessities are usually provided. However, some facilities may let people bring their own toiletries or other items. Ask the facility for a list of prohibited items.

Aftercare and Recovery

Long-term recovery is something that every rapid detox facility should address. Any detox center that is not associated with a long-term treatment center should provide information about aftercare and referrals. However, some people prefer to work with a different facility for long-term care. Many treatment options that fit a varying range of needs are available. For instance, there are inpatient programs for people who have a long history of addiction or do not have a safe place to live.

There are outpatient programs for people who have safe living environments. For those who have many responsibilities, there are some flexible treatment programs. Post-detox treatment is essential for reducing relapse risks. Programs may include behavioral therapy, family therapy, group meetings and more.

Find Detox Resources Near Long Island

If you live in New York, there are plenty of treatment facilities and programs. Having a customized treatment plan is essential for receiving the support you need and deserve. Also, it improves your recovery outcomes. Long Island Interventions is here to provide resources for you or a loved one struggling with addiction. We connect you with interventionists, treatment facilities, detox centers and more.

For more information, please contact Long Island Interventions to learn more!



Published on: 2023-12-27
Updated on: 2024-06-20