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Understanding What Happens in Rapid Detox Centers

Opiate drugs exist as some of the most addictive substances on the market. Whether illegal like heroin or legal prescription pain medications, both types of opiates can lead to physical dependence in as short as one to two week’s time. This state of physical dependence makes stopping drug use all the more difficult. More oftentimes than not, a person must go through some form of detox program in order to refrain from ongoing drug use. Rapid detox centers offer a new alternative to the traditional drug detox program approach. Rather than go through a grueling 10 to 14 day withdrawal period, rapid detox center programs take patients through a three-hour procedure that accomplishes what traditional detox programs do in two week’s time.

While still a new treatment approach, rapid detox center programs can employ one of two different methods for detoxing. These methods differ in terms of time duration with one approach taking longer than the other.

While rapid detox center programs do offer a promising alternative to opiate detox, there is much controversy surrounding this treatment approach. In effect, certain considerations regarding the overall safety of the method and its actual effectiveness as a drug recovery intervention remain in question.

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Traditional Detox Methods

Traditional detox programs may treat detox in one of three ways:

  1. The “cold turkey” method
  2. Inpatient detoxification
  3. Medication therapies

In most cases, the severity of a person’s addiction determines which treatment approach will work best. For people coming off chronic opiate addictions, medication therapies work to support damaged brain cell functions and alleviate much of the discomfort associated with detox.

Inpatient detoxification provides a round-the-clock treatment setting where patients receive less intensive medication treatments designed to address specific types of withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches and nausea. These programs work best in cases of moderate to severe addiction problems.

For people at the beginning stages of addiction, traditional programs may employ the “cold turkey” approach, which entails little if any medication-type supports. In contrast, the rapid detox center program approach can be employed across the board, regardless of the severity of the addiction.

Rapid Detox Center Methods

Rapid detox center programs incorporate many of the methods used in traditional programs. Overall, rapid detox centers may administer one of two different treatment methods:

According to the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the rapid detox method entails using an opiate antagonist drug, such as naltrexone, followed by an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist, such as clonidine. Opiate antagonists send the body into an immediate withdrawal state, which comes with the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. An alpha-2 adrenergic agonist works to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. On average, the entire procedure takes two to three days to complete.

With ultra-rapid detox, patients are put under anesthesia for the entire procedure. Ultra-rapid detox uses many of the same medications as rapid detox. In effect, this method takes anywhere from three to six hours to complete. Like traditional detox approaches, rapid detox center approaches rely heavily on medication therapies to ease a person through the withdrawal process.

Rapid Detox Center Treatment

Rapid Detox Centers

Patients are put under anesthesia during ultra-rapid detox.

The rapid detox center approach was specifically designed for high-functioning, motivated clients or professional-type individuals who have a lot to lose should addiction go untreated. Rapid detox center treatment takes place in an inpatient-like setting.

While the actual procedure typically runs from three to six hours, patients remain at a rapid detox center program for anywhere from 24 to 36 hours for observation purposes. The actual rapid detox center treatment procedure starts out with anesthetizing the patient. During this time, doctors administer a range of drugs that work to flush out opiates from the body and alleviate any withdrawal effects that result.

Drugs commonly used during this process include:

  • Propofol, an anesthetic
  • An antiemetic, to prevent vomiting
  • Benzodiazepines, to alleviate sensory hyperarousal
  • Oxazepam, to reduce muscle spasms and insomina
  • Naltrexone
  • Clonidine

Medical personnel present throughout for the duration of the treatment include:

  • Anesthesiologists
  • Nurses
  • Doctor

Throughout the entire procedure, patients are closely monitored in the event of complications. Patients remain in a sedated state for three to six hours as the body goes through an accelerated opiate withdrawal process.

Once the rapid detox center procedure completes, patients can be released to return to their everyday lives. Patients undergo a medical examination to ensure all major bodily systems are working normally before leaving. From there, a person receives aftercare recommendations for ongoing addiction treatment. In effect, a two-month traditional detox period has been reduced down to a three-day term.

Considerations About Rapid Detox Centers

The rapid detox center treatment approach puts the body through an incredible degree of stress as the overall effect of the procedure works to accelerate the body’s natural withdrawal process. In order for a person to make it through the procedure safe and sound, he or she would have to be in fairly good health at the start.

People who reach the point where they need detox treatment to break a drug habit are often in poor health due to addiction’s damaging effects on the body. Anyone considering rapid detox center treatment may first want to ensure they’re healthy enough to undergo such a strenuous procedure. Likewise, people with existing medical problems should not attempt rapid detox at all.

Rapid detox center treatment only treats the body’s physical dependency on opiates. Even after a person goes through rapid detox, he or she will still have an ongoing craving for drugs. Unless the underlying causes of opiate addiction are addressed, there’s a high likelihood of returning to old drug-using behaviors.

Without ongoing treatment care, a person will likely relapse within six months time after going through the rapid detox procedure. Ongoing treatment care can vary depending on a person’s individual treatment needs. Necessary ongoing treatment may include:

  • Residential treatment
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Psychotherapy
  • Drug education counseling
  • Ongoing support group attendance

While rapid detox center programs do claim to have a high success rate, a person’s ability to maintain long-term abstinence ultimately determines how effective any one treatment approach will be.

Find rapid detox centers across the country by searching our directory, or call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) to speak with a treatment specialist. 

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