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The Dangers of Rapid Detox

The first stage of recovery in the continuum of care is known as detoxification. The detoxification process is an ongoing physical process that occurs in everyone. In the continuum of care, medical detoxification safely manages the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Detox alone does little to change long-term drug use, and it is rarely sufficient to help a drug user achieve long-term abstinence. There are some drugs, however, that require detox more than others. While opioid drugs are extremely uncomfortable during detox, they are not inherently dangerous such as barbiturates, alcohol, or benzodiazepines. It is difficult to get through on your own, but will not kill you.

Detox is a natural physical mechanism associated with metabolites. The effort to speed up the typical process of detoxification can cause adverse effects as our system can only detoxify itself at a specific rate. Few alterations can occur when someone drinks excessive water or uses substances designed to induce detox. 

door to hope

Unfortunately, those products are not worth the cost. Rapid detox is extremely dangerous, and it should always be done naturally under medical supervision to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. WIthdrawal management is a physician-assisted program that indicates a professional addiction doctor implements a medically-based program to help overcome withdrawal symptoms.

Those serious about long-term abstinence from drugs or alcohol should not rush the detox process or forego it alone. Breaking physical dependence on drugs like heroin, prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol will cause uncomfortable symptoms. Even when someone can speed up the process or get through it alone, therapy is necessary to get to the root of the issue. Without cognitive-behavioral therapy, it will be hard to learn how to deal with triggers when someone is newly sober.

What Is Rapid Detox?

There are a few names for rapid detox such as ultra-rapid detox, rapid detoxification, or just rapid detox. It is an accelerated form of withdrawal management, and rapid detox programs are most often targeted at those who struggle with opioid use disorders. Some programs are extending the idea to other substance use disorders. The process is administered while someone is under anesthesia and has a number of features that make it distinguishable when compared to traditional withdrawal management programs. These include:

  • The patient undergoes the procedure in an intensive care unit of a hospital or as an inpatient in a hospital or clinic
  • General anesthesia will be given to the patient under the supervision of a physician and medical staff
  • During anesthesia, the patient will be given drugs such as naloxone, which counteract the symptoms of opioids. They work by attaching to receptor sites in the brain where the drugs have their effects. Other drugs will be given addressing muscle tension, nausea, and other uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms to stabilize the body.
  • Naloxone will eliminate all traces of opioids left in the central nervous system (CNS) that occupy receptor sites. The procedure is designed to work in a short period compared to the average withdrawal process. On average, reports show that the process takes five to 10 hours to complete in comparison to traditional routes taking weeks or months.
  • When the patient awakes from the anesthesia, they are watched by the staff to ensure there are no complications. They can be released from the hospital soon after if there are no problems.
  • According to the reports from rapid detox manuals, the withdrawal process is eliminated entirely under this procedure.

The use of opioid antagonist drugs like Suboxone or Naloxone is widespread. Naloxone is a drug to reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose. It is given in the form of “Narcan,” and can reverse an overdose in minutes after being administered. Naloxone is also used to reduce cravings for those in recovery. 

The concept of a quick fix is nothing new either, and there are thousands of self-detox books listed online. Like everyone, we are all looking for the fastest, cheapest, and most efficient means of recovery; however, substance abuse is not something that can be or should be recovered from quickly. Recovery is a long and arduous process that requires motivation, dedication, and patience to overcome.  

Those who succumb to the easy way are vulnerable to using methods that promise the world but under deliver. The programs we speak of are not supported by empirical evidence, and there can be dangers attributed to their practices. If it is too good to be true, then it probably is.

Dangers of Rapid Detox

detox in pills

There is not enough research to establish how successful a rapid detox technique will be when compared to traditional withdrawal management techniques. There has been research showing that the claims made by accelerated detox programs being more effective than conventional withdrawal management programs are false. Rapid detox does not address aftercare issues as we discussed earlier in the article. Once the person leaves detox, they are on their own. They have not addressed the reason they began using drugs and have a high risk of relapse.

There are high numbers of fatalities associated with the use of rapid detox procedures, which indicates these programs are not safe. There are dangers such as the risk of developing pneumonia, heart attack, metabolic issues, and pulmonary edema as well as other issues such as flu-like symptoms and dehydration.

The procedure always requires the use of an intensive care unit with an ICU staff present. It is costly when compared to traditional withdrawal management programs. Insurance companies seldom pay for rapid detox because there are no clear advantages that have been proven. In fact, because of the dangers that have been associated with the technique, professional organizations and treatment providers strongly advised against using the procedure.

What About Rapid Detox Proponents?

If you are searching for it, you are likely to run across advertisements with testimonials discussing how satisfied the clients are. Despite being presented with several research studies and statement from formal organizations against rapid detox, many will still attempt to justify using these programs because of the testimonials. The endorsements are unreliable, and often fabricated to get business. There could be a number of unsatisfied clients or clients who completed the procedure and relapse that are left out of their advertisements.

There are no shortcuts in life, and recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction is no different. If you are ready to get sober, you must complete the continuum of care and start in medical detoxification. Once you have successfully rid your body of all foreign substances, you will then move into the next level of care, which can be residential or outpatient treatment. During this phase, you will address the issues that pushed you to use and continue to use drugs. You will go through therapies geared toward dealing with triggers and abstaining from substances long-term.

If you are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, it is imperative that you get help immediately before you hurt yourself or someone else.

Call Serenity at Summit For Detox Today

Are you struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol but are concerned about withdrawal symptoms? Our addiction specialists at Serenity at Summit want are here to help you today. Our experts can help you transition into sobriety and mitigate the dangers associated during a standard detox.

Serenity at Summit wants to help you get out of your dark times. Our addiction specialists are ready to listen to your story right now. Feel free to give us a call 844-326-4514 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help.

Sources

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery 

Substance abuse. (2017, October 05). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/topics/substance_abuse/en/ 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/cognitive-behavioral-therapy 

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