For many people, detox is where the attempt to break the cycle of addiction begins and ends. It is sad to say, but the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that accompany detoxification often prove to be too much for an individual to take, causing them to relapse back into drug abuse. The cycle of substance addiction can be difficult to break, but drug detox can be beneficial. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), various medications can aid the detox process, alleviating withdrawal symptoms, but these medications do nothing to speed up the time that the process takes. They simply make the detoxification process safer and more comfortable for the patient.
It should come as no surprise then that when drug abuse professionals began offering a fast alternative to traditional detox that many individuals would be attracted to it. If addicts are able to truncate the amount of time they spend in detox – a process that many addicts are fearful of to begin with – rapid detox seems like an appealing option for those suffering from an addiction.
But is rapid drug abuse detox the answer for everyone? Or do the negative effects it comes with outweigh the potential benefits of such a program? Read on to learn more about this sometimes controversial new procedure.
What Is Rapid Detox?
Rapid detox is a significant departure from traditional detox processes that take days or weeks to complete and include the individual having to deal with withdrawal symptoms. In a rapid detox program, the individual is placed under general anesthesia and given a mixture of drugs that – taken together – accelerate the detoxification process. If the individual was awake during this procedure, they would experience high levels of pain but under the influence of the anesthetic, they feel nothing – and awake with no memory of the process and most importantly, their physical addiction to opiate-based drugs gone.
The Benefits of Rapid Detox
Obviously, the chief potential selling point of a rapid detox program is diminished and shortened withdrawal symptoms. The less time an individual spends detoxifying, the fewer opportunities there will be for mental and physical withdrawal to take hold. Many addicts fear the detox process altogether and delay treatment as a result. If an addict could forego the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal completely, they may be more likely to venture down the road to recovery.
The Potential Downside of Rapid Detoxification
Although the individual is out of it during the rapid detox process due to the medication and cannot feel what is happening to them, it does not mean that it doesn’t take a significant toll on the body. In the most extreme cases, individuals have died during the procedure and a number of rapid detox centers have been closed over public health concerns.
To proponents of rapid detox, the reward far outweighs the risk. A life of addiction, these professionals argue, is a far greater risk to an individual’s health than the small chance that something negative will occur during the rapid detox process. That being said, according to the NIDA, some studies have shown that rapid detox does not actually reduce the discomfort of the detox process. In fact, the cited study found that those who underwent rapid detox experienced withdrawal symptoms that were as strong as those who underwent traditional detox. The individuals who went through rapid detox simply experienced the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they were brought out from under the anesthetic.
Many experts think the risks are too high for addicts to participate in rapid detox. Also, some argue that the addict should experience the discomfort of the withdrawal process so they will be less likely to relapse once it is complete. Because detox is unpleasant and even painful, an addict won’t want to go through the process again so it’s a motivation to stay away from drugs or alcohol.
Currently, the jury is still out on rapid detox. Many people believe that it is nothing more than a passing fad – and a potentially dangerous one at that. Those who have had success with the process, however, report that they did indeed overcome their physical addiction to drugs without withdrawal symptoms or the occurrence of relapse.
If you’d like to learn more about the detox process, and what type of detox would work best for your particular situation or that of your loved one, contact us today. Our professional counselors are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you have. Don’t let another day go by with addiction in control. Take the first step on the journey to health and sobriety today.