Rapid Detox

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Part of the Complete Guide to Understanding Addiction

Detox is a natural process during which the body flushes out all harmful toxins and chemicals and regains its natural balance. When undergoing a medical detox, a person is supervised by a doctor or medical establishment to help them manage their withdrawal symptoms through the detox process.

Read on as Avenue Recovery, America’s leading drug rehab, explores: What is rapid detoxification? And is rapid detox safe and effective?  

What is Rapid Detox? 

Rapid detox is a procedure performed under general anesthesia where medications are administered to significantly accelerate the detoxification process. This allows the patient to avoid the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. Rapid detox can be performed at a hospital, rapid detox center, or other medical institution that has experience rapidly detoxing patients.

Rapid Opiate Detox 

Doing rapid detox under sedation may sound attractive, but it is generally considered unsafe. It has become popular because the patient bypasses the intense, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms synonymous with drug and alcohol detox, but it has not been proven to be more effective than regular detox.

During the process, the patient is unconscious and placed in the intensive care unit of a hospital. The patient is given large amounts of opioid reversal medication that accelerates the flushing of the drug out of the system. Although it is certainly preferable comfort-wise, it carries significant risk and should not be the first choice of treatment for detox. 

Does Advanced Rapid Detox Work? 

Rapid detox can be effective in removing drugs from the body, but success is not guaranteed every time. Many people believe that rapid detox is more effective than regular detox. It is believed that because it does the job faster, it is also more thorough, and the results are better, but this is not the case.

Withdrawal symptoms are indeed circumvented through rapid detoxification, as opposed to regular drug detox. However, it is not a substitute for long-term rehabilitation. As with normal drug detox, continuing to use drugs after detox is fruitless. It brings the user back to square one.

It is vital to attend a professional rehabilitation program after completing medical detox to find the root cause of addiction and learn the skills needed to stay sober for the long term. In other words, rapid detox shortcuts the withdrawal symptoms, but it does not bypass the long-term recovery work that must take place to ensure sobriety.

Is Rapid Drug Detox Safe? 

Evidence shows that rapid detox may be more risky than regular detox. Rapid detox involves being put under anesthesia, which means that a ventilator must be used to help the patient breathe. Ventilators use a tube inserted into the trachea, which can cause complications like bacterial infections, lung damage, decreased blood pressure, and increased heart rate.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that in a study of 75 participants who underwent rapid detox, 2 people died, and 5 experienced significant adverse health concerns as a result. This is contrasted with regular detox, which rarely results in either death or serious health concerns.

The Risks of Rapid Detox

Since the body is already compromised due to prolonged drug misuse, it may not be able to handle the strain of anesthesia, and the heavy medications are administered during sedated detox.

Other risks of rapid detox include:

  • Heart attack
  • Cardiomegaly (enlarged heart)
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Electrolyte abnormalities
  • Death

Co-occurring mental health issues are also often aggravated and worsened, whereas in regular detox, other mental health conditions are taken into account, and special medications are offered to manage them effectively through the detox process.

Relapse and Overdose Risk

Interestingly, the rate of relapse after undergoing rapid detox vs regular detox is higher. The reason may be because the regular withdrawal symptoms were avoided, so the addict doesn’t understand the pain and difficulty of undergoing detox.

The biggest potential issue of a relapse is overdose. Overdose after relapse is common because after undergoing the detoxification process, the body eventually returns to the natural balance it had before the person started taking drugs, and its tolerance levels are low. The person in recovery, however, does not realize this.

This means that if the addict takes that same dose of drugs as before detox, they run a tremendous risk of overdosing because their bodies have lost the tolerance and cannot handle the high dose of drug that it was previously able to. 

Rapid Detox Cost 

The rapid detox cost is often exorbitant, depending on where the procedure will be done. On the lower end, it can cost around $14,000 - although providers who charge that amount will usually be newer and less experienced. The reason rapid detox is so expensive is that an inpatient stay is required, as well as heavy monitoring while under sedation. Insurance usually does not cover rapid detox since it is considered unsafe and not medically necessary.

Alternative to Rapid Detox 

The gold standard of drug and alcohol detox is medical detox, either inpatient or outpatient. Medical detox can be done through a hospital, a rehab center, or another medical establishment. The goal of medical detox is to remove all toxins and chemicals from the body while monitoring the withdrawal effects and providing medications to make the process as comfortable and safe as possible.

This includes monitoring vitals and using an IV line, medications, and other interventions when necessary to stabilize internal organs and manage difficult symptoms. In this way, the addict experiences the least amount of discomfort possible, while the medical staff ensures that the body does not go into distress. 

The difference between rapid and medical detox lies in their approach and duration: rapid detox accelerates withdrawal using anesthesia or medications, while medical detox involves gradual withdrawal with professional monitoring.

Rapid Detox: The Next Step

Detox is the critical first step on the path to recovery. It is the beginning of reclaiming your life and starting the journey to sobriety. It is not, however, the end of the journey. After detox has been completed, reach out to your therapist, mental health counselor, or other mental health professional to help you figure out your next step.

Whether you choose to detox regularly or do a rapid detox, professional rehab is the recommended option for a supportive recovery journey. At Avenues Recovery Center, our devoted staff will walk you through the detox process and ensure the utmost comfort and ease. Our experts have helped thousands of people overcome their addictions, and they can help you too. Recovery may not be easy, but with help, it is entirely possible. If you are serious about addiction recovery, reach out to Avenues Recovery today so that we can start your journey toward the happy, healthy, and sober future you deserve.

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