Before we jump to any conclusions about the effectiveness of rapid detoxification methods, let’s make sure we’re asking the right questions.
Are we asking that this detox help us quit our addiction and prevent relapse?
If that is the question, then the answer is no, it won’t help that much. After this (quick) detox you will still be vulnerable to drug cravings and should get involved with program that will help you avoid relapse in the future.
But if you are just looking for a detox program that can get you through this uncomfortable stage, then rapid detox is something you should consider.
Detox: a small stepping stone on the road to recovery.
Although detoxification is an important first step in healing from drugs, it’s still only a first step. Nonetheless, it should be taken with care.
There is no single “right way” to detox opioid addiction. Results will always vary. But the medical establishment has largely supported more gradual style detoxification procedures like tapering off with methadone or buprenorphine.
Another gradual approach: discontinuing all opiate derivatives and administering clonidine to thwart symptoms of withdrawal.
They do have some reasons to support gradual methods: these approaches, though gradual, often provide a stronger support system to keep the user from relapsing. Compare this to rapid detox methods where a user is left without intense withdrawal systems relatively quickly after they quit using.
Regardless, the decision for gradual or rapid detox lies on the user. Only on individual cases can we know what’s best for our recovery.
Two types of rapid detoxification
ROD (rapid opiate detox)
An oral opioid antagonist (like naltrexone) is administered along with moderate sedation orally or ‘conscious sedation’ via injection.
UROD (ultra rapid opiate detox)
In this method, the user is sedated under general anesthesia or other heavy sedation followed by a slow infusion of low-dose naloxone served intravenously. The 4-hour procedure is carried out in an intensive care unit and the patient requires 1 to 2 days of hospitalization for a full treatment protocol.
Supporters of the procedure have concluded that the with the accelerated detoxification the patient experiences very little no withdrawal systems, including an elimination of physical dependency and greatly reduced psychological cravings.
Rapid detoxification centers
It’s very common for those dependent on opioids – both illicit drug users and those using for pain management/etc – will not want to even attempt going through withdrawal due to fears of how discomfortable the process will be.
But in the end, withdrawal from opioids is just short term discomfort (mortality from these withdrawals is negligible). And mortality for those who resume opioid use is significant. Still, even with this knowledge, there are people that will continue to use and risk death.
Users that fall under this category should be hard pressed to utilize a detox center. This will structure their detoxification, assure them that it can be handled with minimal discomfort and won’t be the end of the world. Many need a this reassurance to give them a push in the right direction.
Rapid opiate detox at home
Doctors will sometimes prescribe low-dose naltrexone, the main medication in rapid detox. (It is helpful in treating many other conditions as well – autoimmune, cancer and other disease/conditions.
Low-dose Naltrexone at home administration is a relatively safe option. But this is not a true recommendation, consults a doctor with any concerns you have with your plan for at home detox.
- Rapid forms of opiate detoxification can be effective in treating acute withdrawals and remedying physical dependence.
- Opioid detoxification alone is not a treatment of opioid addiction. Any attempt at a rapid detoxification like this should be accompanied by an integrated follow up service that promotes ongoing recovery for your addiction.