Maybe you’re completely new to the idea of the rapid opiate detox treatment method, or maybe you’ve heard a lot about it. If the latter is the case, you’ve probably heard some pretty mixed opinions about this specific detox process. So, what’s the truth?
After reading the article below, any confusion about rapid opioid detox that you may have will be cleared up. Is it safe? Is it effective? What other options do you have? Reading this guide will help you find the answers you’re looking for and hopefully bring you one step closer to leading a happy and drug-free life.
What Are Opiates?
Opiates are drugs that are naturally extracted from the opium poppy plant. Even though this term is used interchangeably with the term ‘opioids,’ they don’t necessarily mean the same thing.
‘Opioids’ is an umbrella term that covers all natural, synthetic, and semisynthetic formulations. The term ‘opiates,’ on the other hand, only refers to the natural forms of these drugs. Some examples of well-known opiates include codeine, morphine, and heroin.
Certain opiates may be legally obtained when prescribed by a licensed medical professional, while others – heroin, for example – can only be obtained illegally.
All opiates are considered controlled substances due to their significant risk of addiction and dependency. Although all of them belong to this category, some of them are scheduled differently because of the risk level associated with each drug.
What Is Rapid Opiate Detox?
Rapid opiate detox is an opioid dependence treatment method that dates from the 1990s. The approach involves inducing rapid opioid withdrawal in a controlled setting by using opioid antagonists while the patient is under general anesthesia.
This treatment is also known for managing and largely reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms. These will still happen, but patients won’t feel them due to general anesthesia. Moreover, thanks to this process, detoxification can be accomplished in a very short period of time, typically only a few days.
However, most studies have concluded that this treatment method isn’t necessarily a safe opioid detox option. One study looked at 75 individuals who underwent rapid opioid detox; five of these patients experienced serious adverse reactions which required hospitalization, and two of these patients died.
So, even though this type of treatment is typically successful at detoxifying the body from opiates, it’s safe to say it can be considered dangerous.
On top of that, the detoxification process by itself is not a cure for opioid dependency. Although it eliminates the drugs from the patient’s body, rapid opioid detoxification does not address the root cause of opioid dependency. This means that patients who undergo this treatment are likely to relapse later.
The Difference Between Rapid Detox And Ultra-Rapid Detox
Even though the terms ‘rapid detox’ and ‘ultra-rapid detox’ sound different, they represent the same treatment with matching results. These two detoxes have several similarities, including general anesthesia/sedation and complete detoxification in a short period of time.
- Duration. Both rapid detox and ultra-rapid detox can typically be done in just one day.
- The medications administered during the treatment process. During both treatments, the medications provided serve to speed up the detox process and make it easier to endure.
- Risk of complications. There have been numerous reports of serious complications and adverse events with these types of detoxes. Moreover, they are typically not conducted in a proper setting with appropriate staff.
- Success rates. Both rapid detox and ultra-rapid detox have poor overall success rates and a high probability of relapse. Neither option comes close to the long-term success of the ANR treatment.
Rapid Opiate Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
During rapid opiate detox, the patient will still typically experience some withdrawal symptoms while under sedation, even though they may not be aware of it. Because of this, the process requires close monitoring.
These symptoms include:
- Excessive sweating
Most of the above-mentioned symptoms will typically be gone by the time the patient wakes up. While they are not usually dangerous or life-threatening, they can be when the detoxification process is completed so quickly, as this is a process that usually lasts for days when detoxing naturally.
Treatment After Rapid Opiate Detox
While rapid opioid detox might seem so appealing because the detox process is completed so quickly, a patient still has a long way to go to achieve long-term sobriety. After all, rapid detoxification is only the first step in the entire process of recovery.
Depending on the nature of your case, you may be required to stay at the clinic for a couple of days after the detox process has been completed. During this time, you will likely see your doctor for a medical evaluation and follow-up and continue to be monitored until discharged.
Even after discharge, individuals are still at great risk of drug cravings and relapse. For this reason, it’s essential for the patient to attend behavioral counseling and therapy in order to gain the mental tools for successful life-long sobriety. This may be done through inpatient and/or outpatient programs.
How Effective is Rapid Opiate Detox?
Some physicians and patients still choose rapid detox as a way to treat opioid use disorder because of the ability to reduce discomfort during opioid withdrawal. However, this practice is associated with several risks and has not been proven to give long-term results when compared to other treatment methods.
A study that compared rapid detox with the traditional treatment with buprenorphine and clonidine came to an interesting conclusion. Rapid detoxification fell short with a higher rate of adverse effects, discomfort, and a lack of resistance against relapse. Only 20% of the rapid detox patients remained successful with treatment, while 24% of the buprenorphine group was able to successfully remain drug-free.
Overall, rapid opioid detox may be considered effective if your primary goal is only to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. However, if you’re aiming for long-term sobriety, this may not be the most effective option for you. Even if you decide to give it a try, you should always be aware of the risks and safety concerns associated with this detoxification method.
Safety Concerns And Risks of Rapid Opiate Detox
At first, rapid detox may seem like the best and most convenient option. However, it is important to research all potential risks associated with it before you undergo it.
A group of researchers took a look at nine different studies – involving 1109 patients in total – regarding the efficacy and safety of rapid opioid detox. Their research concludes that even though opiate withdrawal lasts for a shorter period of time during this process, it is far more intense than during other treatments.
They also found that the level of sedation does not necessarily have any effect on the duration or intensity of withdrawal, but it does affect the severity of it. The results state that heavy sedation is associated with a far greater risk of adverse effects when compared to light sedation.
Some of the adverse side effects of detoxing at such a fast rate may include:
- Breathing issues
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Nervous system issues
These can be dangerous for any patient undergoing rapid opioid detox, but there are a few diagnoses that may put you at a greater risk of experiencing negative and potentially dangerous side effects. For example, anyone that has been diagnosed with severe respiratory issues or heart conditions should not undergo this method of detoxification.
The Cost of Rapid Opiate Detox
The typical rapid opiate detox costs can reach up to $20,000 or more, depending on the individual and the severity of their addiction. Cost can also vary based on the facility and what services are included in the package/program.
Most insurance plans will not cover the costs of this treatment, as it is not viewed as medically necessary. However, your plan may differ, so you should get more specific details by contacting your health insurance company or reviewing your specific health insurance plan.
ANR Opioid Dependence Treatment: The Best Solution for Opioid Addiction
If the timeline of rapid detox sounds good to you but the risks and safety concerns don’t necessarily seem worth it, you might be interested in learning about ANR.
Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) is an opioid treatment method during which physicians use modern medical technology to modulate and regulate the opioid receptors and endorphin levels in the patient’s brain. This way, they treat the root cause of opioid dependency. This process works to return the brain to a pre-addiction state, eliminating all drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
What Makes ANR Treatment Better than Rapid Opiate Detox?
Although these two types of treatment may seem similar to each other at first glance, ANR surpasses rapid opiate detox in many ways. Let’s have a look at the three most significant differences that may leave you wondering why anyone still chooses to undergo rapid opiate detox:
- Post-detox process. After undergoing rapid opioid detox, you will still have to attend counseling and therapy because you will still be dealing with potentially intense drug cravings. On the other hand, after you undergo ANR, you don’t need to return to the hospital ever again, as your brain will be returned to a pre-addiction state, and you won’t be experiencing any cravings.
- Safety & risk. Because ANR eliminates opiate withdrawal symptoms, you are at much less risk of relapsing or experiencing the dangerous effects of speeding up the process.
- Long-term success. As stated above, studies have shown that rapid opiate detox may actually be less effective than most traditional treatment methods. This can’t be said for ANR, as over 24,000 patients have been successfully treated with it and returned to normal life.
Before deciding that rapid opiate detox is the right choice for you or a loved one, you should consider all the risks and concerns associated with this treatment method. Moreover, you should decide if they are worth the benefits, especially when there is a treatment such as ANR, which has proven to be far more beneficial with far less risk.
If you would like to learn more about the process of ANR, you can contact us by phone or email. You can also get started today by scheduling your free consultation. Our mission is to put an end to the opioid crisis at hand, one person at a time!