What is a rapid detoxification

Rapid Detoxification Explained

Rapid Detoxification or Rapid detox is a quick way to help people quit opioids. It uses medicines in a hospital to speed up the withdrawal. It’s risky, needs careful thought, and should be done with a doctor’s advice. Always talk to healthcare pros for the best detox plan.

Traditional detox programs often take between one and two weeks for an individual to completely eliminate all the chemicals left over from their addiction in their body. During this time, although they are being closely supervised, the individual will experience various withdrawal symptoms. Although there are drugs to help a person to get through withdrawal, it is still a very painful experience.

A rapid detox may also be called rapid opiate detox or ultra rapid detox. It is a fast detoxification done in a clinical setting. By putting the individual under an anesthetic, a rapid detoxification will complete the entire elimination process in four to six hours. The individual will then need to remain in the clinic for another 24-48 hours.
It is said that rapid detoxification effectively treats addictions caused by opiates or opioids, heroin, and alcohol.

During rapid detoxification treatment, an individual is placed under a general anesthetic. Medications are then intravenously given in order to speed up the withdrawal process. Medical professionals are there to monitor the entire procedure. Once the individual wakes up, they are typically given another medication, usually Naltrexone, for several months following the detox. Naltrexone helps individuals overcome urges to abuse opiates or alcohol by blocking the drugs euphoric effects.

Rapid detoxification quickly eliminates the extremely uncomfortable and even life threatening withdrawal symptoms; such as, shaking, sweating, cravings, nausea, cramping, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.

A Big Debate

There is a big debate on whether or not rapid detoxification is good for people with addictions. Some people claim that rapid detox is a ‘quick fix’ in which many addicts are looking for to begin with. Because it is so easy to escape the painful withdrawal, people may relapse more quickly and continue returning to a rapid detox center whenever they wish to get clean.

A Few Pros and Cons about Rapid Detoxification

The Pro’s of Rapid Detoxification

  • There are no or very little withdrawal symptoms.
  • All centers are private and confidential.
  • Rapid detoxification is extremely fast.
  • Centers claim to have high success rates if treatment programs are utilized along with the detox.
  • Rapid detoxification may encourage people to seek help sooner as there is little or no fear of withdrawal.
  • An individual will be able to begin recovery sooner.

The Con’s of Rapid Detoxification

  • This type of treatment is extremely expensive and is typically not covered by insurance.
  • While the physical addiction to the drug is cured, the psychological addiction will still be present.
  • There are risks associated with being put under general anesthesia.
  • Just because someone is on Naltrexone, does not mean they will not use. There have been cases of individuals relapsing and accidentally overdosing because they are unable to ‘feel’ the effects.
  • There have also been instances when an individual has suffered a heart attack while going through a rapid detox.

After Rapid Detox a Treatment Center is Recommended

Nearly all medical professionals agree that all rapid detoxification programs should be followed by treatment at a rehab. Here the individual will be able to understand the psychological side of their addiction. A rehab will provide a safe a nurturing environment which is crucial for recovering. Counseling, therapy, and group meetings are all extremely beneficial as this will help the addict gain the knowledge and tools that help in avoiding a relapse. Rapid detox should never be looked at as a cure-all treatment, treatment after is recommended.

About the Author

Lee Daniel Hawker-Lecesne

Lee Daniel Hawker-Lecesne

Clinical Director at The Cabin (MBPsS, British Psychological Society Number: 479469) Lee is a Registered Member of the British Psychological Society. He graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK with a degree in Behavioural Science and a postgraduate clinical focus on addictions from the University of Bath. Lee is a focused and ambitious individual who has in-depth training and experience in a broad range of clinical psychological interventions in the treatment of addiction, dual diagnosis, and complex trauma.

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