Rapid detox is the street name for a controversial medical procedure in which an opiate addict is taken through a detox process in a matter of hours. Always talk to a medical professional when exploring rapid detox as an option. Knowing the pros and cons of the process can help you decide what questions to ask.
The Process: You will be sedated for the procedure. Once you are unconscious you are given doses of medications such as Narcan, the same medication used for opiate overdose. This drug immediately flushes all traces of opiates from your system and results in your body going into severe withdrawal. Because you are unconscious, you will not feel the withdrawal symptoms. The medication causes the withdrawal to be completed very quickly. When it is over, you are brought out of sedation and are potentially no longer physically addicted, according to its advocates. Rapid detox typically takes 2-3 hours to complete and several days of follow-up observation.
What Some Advocates Say:
Quick: Where regular detox can last from a few days to a week, this process is over in a matter of hours. If you have a job or profession that doesn't allow for time off for detoxing more slowly, this process can give speedy results.
Painless: Opiate withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable. Diarrhea, severe muscle cramping, nausea and other symptoms often drive the addict back to the drugs in order to stop the discomfort. Advocates of this procedure say that it allows for painless detoxification. It’s important to take into account other findings.
Private: You can check in, rapidly detox, and check out, all in a few short days. Following the process, you are typically kept for observation for a few days before being released.
What Some Detractors Say:
It’s expensive: The cost for ultra-rapid detox can be thousands of dollars. In many cases health insurance will not cover the costs.
Some lingering Symptoms: Some patients report that after going through the procedure they continued to have significant withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, muscle cramping and nausea. These symptoms lasted two or three days, about as long as the most intense part of detoxing without the procedure.
Requires Aftercare: Research has shown that without a solid aftercare plan, rapid detox has the same failure rate as other detox methods that do not involve long-term aftercare. Whether you join a 12-step group, see a private therapist, or use a different long-term recovery method, if all you only go through rapid detox, recovery will be much more difficult to maintain.