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Pros and Cons of Rapid Detox Centers

For people trying to break an opiate addiction habit, getting through the detox stage can quickly become a make or break endeavor as far as recovery goes. While traditional detox approaches offer effective ways to break the body’s dependency on opiates, addicts will still likely experience uncomfortable withdrawal effects. Rapid detox center programs offer a new approach to dealing with the discomfort associated with opiate detox. Rapid detox centers claim to provide a pain-free means for breaking the body’s physical dependency on opiates in less than half the time it takes through traditional detox approaches.

Addiction, in and of itself, is a complex process that evolves over time, taking the mind and body through considerable physiological change. While a fast, painless detox stage may well speed the recovery process along, other considerations come into play. The pros and cons of rapid detox centers have to do with the actual benefits of speeding up the detox stage as well as any safety concerns surrounding the procedure.

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Rapid Detox Centers

Rapid detox centers employ an approach that’s designed to take the body through the detox process within a fraction of the time it takes to detox by traditional means. According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, this process entails placing a person under anesthesia for the duration of the procedure. While anesthetized, rapid detox centers administer an opiate antagonist drug, such as naloxone to accelerate the withdrawal process.

Opiate antagonists work by immediately expelling all traces of opiates from the brain and body. These effects bring on a full-blown withdrawal state. Symptoms commonly experienced during opiate withdrawal include –

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Profuse sweating
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety

Normally, a person experiences these symptoms over the course of a week or two when going “cold turkey.”

Since patients remain under anesthesia for the entire procedure, withdrawal takes place while their unconscious. Most rapid detox centers can complete the entire procedure within three hours time.


Traditional detox programs do offer interventions designed to relieve discomfort associated with opiate withdrawal. These treatments typically involve medication therapies, such as methadone and LAMM, which mimic the effects of opiates in the brain and ward off uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

While these practices can be effective, there’s a risk of becoming addicted to the treatment medications in the process. Relapse risks are also a concern. In some cases, patients must remain on medication therapies for months or years in order to prevent relapse.

In effect, rapid detox centers combine the best of the “cold turkey” approach with the benefits gained via traditional approaches. Once patients complete the rapid detox procedure, the body’s dependency on opiates has been broken.

Rather than go through a one to two month detox program, a person can detox from opiates within a day’s time. As the distressing withdrawal effects associated with opiate detox account for why so many addicts keep using, this pain-free method offers addicts an easy, painless way to make it through this most difficult stage in the recovery process.


Rapid Detox Centers

Undergoing rapid detox without follow-up treatment increases your risk of relapse.

Since rapid detox centers often make use of anesthesia as part of the detox treatment process, the procedure does pose certain health and safety risks overall. Anytime a person goes under anesthesia, there’s always a risk of complications regardless of the type of procedure being done.

Consequently, people who have serious medical conditions will be disqualified as viable candidates for the rapid detox, according to the University of Colorado. People diagnosed with liver failure cannot undergo rapid detox because of the strain this procedure places on the body.

As patients undergo an accelerated withdrawal process while under anesthesia, this process further increases the likelihood of serious complications taking place. In some instances, patients have gone into cardiac arrest when undergoing rapid detox center procedures. Incidents of pulmonary edema have also occurred.

People struggling with chronic opiate addictions often digress into other forms of drug use in order to enhance the effects of opiates. The effects of different types of addictive drugs on the body don’t bode well for procedures involving anesthesia. This means, people with multiple addictions do not make good candidates for rapid detox center treatment.

With rapid detox being a fairly new treatment approach in the addictions field, there are no established standards of care in place to ensure the safety of the procedure as well as the safety of the patient. Likewise, no national licensing requirements exist to ensure healthcare professionals have the necessary knowledge and experience to perform rapid detox procedures. As a new treatment approach, no specific training yet exists to prepare rapid detox center providers for the many complications that may result from the procedure.

As rapid detox center program approaches offer an alternative means of detox treatment, no insurance carriers currently cover the procedure. On average, a rapid detox center procedure can run anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000. As a result, only people able to afford the costs associated with this type of detox treatment can benefit from it.


Rapid detox center proponents claim incredibly high success rates that are likely to be too good to be true considering the widespread damage opiate addictions leave in their wake. Some rapid detox centers claim a 100 percent success rate. In actuality, these numbers may be true; however, the ultimate success of any one treatment intervention depends on long-range outcomes rather than short-term success rates.

More than anything else, a person’s ability to maintain abstinence after detox determines whether or not his or her addiction treatment needs have been met. In actuality, the detox stage only treats the body’s physical dependence on opiates.

As addiction of any kind takes the form of a psychological dependency, the importance of follow-up and ongoing treatment care after detox is essential to a successful treatment outcome. Cast in this light, rapid detox success rates only show a 55 percent long-term abstinence rate, meaning just over half of the people who receive treatment from rapid detox centers actually go on to live a drug-free life.

Ultimately, the pros and cons of rapid detox centers can vary depending on a person’s overall physical health as well as his or her ability to cover the costs of the procedure.

We can help you decide whether rapid detox is right for your recovery; call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) today!

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