Detox is the first step in addiction recovery. While it’s necessary for opioid and other substance treatment, it can become ineffective when rushed. According to the Health and Human Services Department, about 75% of drug abuse deaths in 2020 were related to opioids. The health institute recommends at least 90 days treatment program for individuals battling opioid addiction due to the intense nature of the withdrawal. Yet, most individuals prefer not to enter long-term treatment and seek short-term solutions. As a result, rapid detoxification emerged.
What is rapid detoxification, and are there any risks and side effects to this short-term process?
What is Rapid Detox?
Rapid detox is a quick fix process that rapidly flushes out opioids, heroin, or other prescription drugs from a person’s system while under general anesthesia. During rapid detox, the individual is sedated for about six hours. They are administered naltrexone to neutralize opioids and push the drugs out of the system.
The goal is to remove the drugs from the body while minimizing withdrawal symptoms. When the person awakens, they will no longer feel the pain of the process. Rapid detox aims to bypass the pain associated with opioid withdrawal. This is why some patients prefer it to the long-term treatment plan. Rapid detox is performed in a hospital or rehab setting.
Is Rapid Detox Treatment Safe?
Now that you know what is rapid detox, how safe is it? Rapid detox may seem like a shortcut to recovery at first, but the risks involved may make you consider your options. Of course, it’s fast. You can be out in a day or two. However, the faster may not be better.
Rushing through any procedure, much less a medical treatment can be ineffective and dangerous. Those with opioid addiction undergoing rapid detox are at high risk of relapse, renal failure, or even death. According to CDC, five patients out of 75 that underwent rapid detox had severe reactions that demanded hospitalization, with two dying. It shows how risky this process is. The American Society of Addiction Medicine strongly advises against rapid detox because the risks outweigh the benefits. The CDC has reported many fatalities associated with this opiate detox process. As a result, rapid detox should be avoided.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, possible side effects of rapid detox include;
- Respiratory problems
- Pulmonary failure
- Thyroid hormone problems
- Withdrawal symptoms
Yes! You can still experience withdrawal symptoms even after the completion of rapid detox. Opioid is a highly addictive and potent drug that causes the overproduction of dopamine, which affects the brain’s processing and response to emotions, movement, and memory. This happens over time. Therefore, it’s never recommended to stop cold turkey, especially if you have been dependent on it. The withdrawal symptoms that begin after cessation are often intense and deadly.
Withdrawal symptoms you could experience include;
- Elevated body temperatures or fever
- Watery eyes
- Concentration problems
Rapid detox could also complicate mental health disorders. Remember, the process increases the risks of relapse. The patient may start using drugs again, which could worsen mental health disorder symptoms. Drug abuse and mental disorders are intertwined, as more than 15% of those with drug addiction also have a mental illness.
Medical Detox is More Appropriate
Medical detoxification is the long-term process of removing harmful substances from the body. This process is performed under the supervision of medical experts. Medical detox is usually performed in residential inpatient programs and is recommended for substance abuse. However, it isn’t a standalone treatment, and this is where many patients get it wrong.
Opioid addiction is like other drug addictions – it interferes with the brain’s circuitry. Detox alone doesn’t help repair this brain damage. A combination of therapy and counseling can help you overcome opioid addiction. Detox is part of the addiction treatment program. An NIH study revealed that those who completed substance abuse treatment have a higher chance of preventing relapse and achieving psychological balance. Once detox is completed, it is best for the individual to sign-up for other treatment options, like evidence-based therapy and support. The choice will depend on the individual’s condition.
Grace Recovery Offers Long-Term Opioid Treatment
Rapid detoxification is never an option. It’s expensive and risky with unclear benefits. Therefore, you should avoid it. If you or someone you know has an opioid addiction, it is crucial to get treatment immediately. The earlier the treatment, the faster the recovery. Grace Recovery offers a complete continuum of care program for opioid treatment, including detoxification, residential inpatient, outpatient, partial hospitalization, and aftercare. Our detox programs provide a supportive environment for the safe removal of drugs. We ensure patients transition into further addiction treatment programs following the detox program. Contact us at (866) 431-3602 to learn more about our Los Angeles medical detox program.