The first stage of recovery from substance abuse or addiction is detoxification, or detox for short. The detox process is a physical process everyone must undergo. Medical detox is intended to manage the physical symptoms of withdrawal safely and offer emotional support.
Unfortunately, detox alone does nothing to prevent relapse or future substance abuse and is rarely sufficient to help a person recover and sustain long-term sobriety.
Some drugs necessitate detox more than others. While illicit and prescription opioid withdrawal is very uncomfortable, severe complications and death are much less likely to occur than in association with alcohol or benzodiazepines, which can have lethal effects during detox if not appropriately treated. Opioid detox can be very challenging to undergo alone, but generally, people do not need to fear dying.
How Detox Works
Detox is a natural mechanism that cleanses the body of drugs and their byproducts that can take several days. Efforts to accelerate a proper detox process can cause adverse effects as a person’s system can only detoxify at a specific rate. Moreover, few changes will occur when a person consumes excessive water or uses substances intended to facilitate detox.
Unfortunately, most of these products are ineffective and not worth the expense. Rapid detox can be hazardous, and it should always be done naturally under medical supervision to deal with withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal management is a doctor-assisted program that implements medical services to help manage and prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Those serious about long-term sobriety from drugs or alcohol should not rush the detox process or undergo it at home. Breaking physical dependence on drugs like heroin, prescription opioids, benzos, and alcohol will result in uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms.
Even if a person can speed up the process or get through it alone, therapy is necessary to understand better the factors that contribute to the need to abuse substances and develop improved, healthier coping mechanisms. Without behavioral therapy, it will be hard to deal with triggers when someone is newly sober.
What Is Rapid Detox?
Another name for rapid detox includes ultra-rapid detox. It is an accelerated withdrawal management process. These programs are often targeted at those who have opioid use disorders, although some programs claim to manage conditions related to other substances such as alcohol, cocaine, or meth.
The person undergoing rapid detox is placed under anesthesia and has several features that make it distinct from other, more traditional withdrawal management programs, including the following:
The patient typically undergoes the rapid detox procedure in an intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital or sometimes as an inpatient in a specialized clinic. General anesthesia will be administered to the person under the supervision of a licensed health provider and medical staff.
During anesthesia, the person will be administered drugs such as naloxone, which counteract the symptoms of opioids. In addition, other drugs will be rendered to treat nausea and other uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms to stabilize the body.
Naloxone (Narcan) administration will eliminate all traces of opioids left in the central nervous system (CNS) that occupy receptor sites. In addition, the procedure is intended to work in a brief period compared to the average withdrawal process. On average, reports indicate that the process takes 5-10 hours to complete compared to traditional routes taking several days.
When the individual wakes up from the anesthesia, staff monitor them to ensure there are no complications. They can be released from the hospital or clinic soon after if there are no issues that arise. As soon as the clinicians feel it’s safe, the person is free to go home and after that point are left entirely to their own devices.
According to the reports from rapid detox instructions, the withdrawal process is eliminated under this procedure. The use of opioid antagonist drugs such as Suboxone or naloxone (Narcan) is standard. Naloxone is a drug to reverse the life-threatening symptoms of an opioid overdose. It can reverse an overdose in minutes after being administered. Naloxone is also used to minimize cravings for those in recovery.
The desire for a quick fix is nothing new in addiction recovery, and there are thousands of self-detox books and websites available. Many people, understandably, are looking for the fastest, cheapest, and most efficient means of achieving and sustaining abstinence. Unfortunately, however, substance abuse usually cannot be recovered efficiently and quickly. Instead, recovery is a life-long and laborious process that requires a tremendous amount of motivation, dedication, and patience to overcome indefinitely.
Those who choose to go this so-called “easy route” are vulnerable to using methods that make grand promises but underdeliver. Moreover, the programs referred to here are not supported by empirical evidence, and there are risks associated with their practices.
Rapid Detox Dangers
There is insufficient research to ascertain how successful a rapid detox technique will be compared to more comprehensive withdrawal management. However, there has been research showing that the claims made by rapid detox programs being more effective than traditional detox programs are false.
Rapid detox does not address the root of the problem or aftercare issues—once the person has completed detox, they are basically on their own. They have not addressed why they began using drugs and have a high risk of relapse unless they seek and undergo intensive therapy, counseling, and engage in group support.
There have been a significant number of deaths associated with rapid detox procedures, indicating these programs are potentially risky and unsafe. In addition, there are dangers, such as the risk of contracting pneumonia, heart attack, metabolic issues, and pulmonary edema, as well as other problems, such as dehydration and flu-like symptoms.
The procedure always requires the patient is treated in an intensive care unit with staff present. In addition, it is expensive compared to traditional withdrawal management programs, despite them being less safe and effective.
Also, insurance providers rarely cover rapid detox because there are no clear advantages that have been clinically proven. In fact, because of the risks associated with the technique, professional organizations and treatment providers tend to advise against undergoing the procedure.
Getting Detox and Treatment for Substance Abuse
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer customized, comprehensive substance abuse treatment programs that feature many therapeutic approaches and activities, including the following:
- Behavioral therapy
- 12-step groups
- Individual and family counseling
- Substance abuse education
- Health and wellness education
- Relapse prevention
- Mindfulness meditation
- Art and music therapy
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni events
Our highly-trained and compassionate medical and mental health staff are available 24/7 to ensure those we treat receive around-the-clock care during detox and residential stays. In addition, we provide a safe, comfortable environment favorable to recovery and emotional healing. As a result, each person under our care can experience relief from the worst withdrawal symptoms and concentrate on their health, sobriety, and future goals.