What Is Anesthesia Detox?
It is vital to have a clear understanding of what anesthesia detox is and how it works. Additionally, it is crucial to know the differences between providers.
Detoxification under anesthesia is a medical procedure that shortens the duration of an acute withdrawal to minutes instead of several days or weeks. While sedated, the patient is not subject to the level of discomfort or to relapse typically associated with acute withdrawal.
When the patient awakens, detoxification is complete, and there is no awareness of experiencing severe withdrawal syndrome. The blockage of physical craving with naltrexone therapy can then be initiated to reduce the risk of relapse. Rapid detoxification under anesthesia has assisted thousands of patients in achieving freedom from opioid addiction.
How Does Anesthesia Detox Work?
Anesthesia detox is performed in a private room of an ICU of a full-service hospital under the care of a board-certified anesthesiologist. A full-service hospital provides patients with a considerable amount of medical resources, including consultations or immediate assistance in case of an emergency. Some rapid detox centers utilize overnight surgical centers to cut costs. It is important to know that surgery centers cannot provide patients with the level and medical resources available at a hospital and often necessary for anesthesia detox.
A full-service hospital provides:
- The necessary inpatient time for physicians to understand how the patient responds to key medications used during anesthesia detox
- Private rooms before, during, and after detox, which allow for undivided attention, a higher level of comfort, and privacy
- The immediate medical resources that may be required to ensure the maximum safety and comfort of the patient
- The availability of additional medical specialists for a comprehensive individual assessment
- An ICU unit for close and constant attention by a team of specially trained healthcare providers
- Various medical units and departments allowing for the ability to change the detox protocol to better comply with patients’ medical needs
- No preset time restraints like at a surgical center, so patients can extend their stay post detox if medically necessary
What Medications Are Used for Detoxification Under Anesthesia?
Anesthesia detox uses an infusion of FDA-approved medications, including sedatives and antagonists. These intravenous medications quickly induce withdrawal and remove the opioids from the receptors while the patient is under sedation. The process takes place in a private room of a hospital ICU and lasts approximately 30 to 90 minutes. Throughout the detox process, a board-certified anesthesiologist and his team monitor the patient’s vital signs to ensure stability during withdrawal and to make sure that the detox is proceeding successfully.
Benefits of Rapid Anesthesia Detoxification
The transitional regulation period can last for a few days. An inpatient recovery center allows individuals to receive professional support through this time. The patient is then able to return home and resume normal activities like work and school relatively quickly and opiate-free. Although anesthesia detox is not a cure for drug addiction, it is probably the best available treatment for opioid dependence.
Anesthesia detox provides:
- Comprehensive knowledge of patients’ current physical health before detox
- The assistance and supervision of a specialized medical team during the withdrawal phase
- An immediate solution for the reversal of opioid physical dependence without unnecessary suffering or risk of relapsing during detox
- Successful detox from MAT drugs like Suboxone and methadone, which otherwise could cause weeks or even months of withdrawal symptoms
- Opioid use disorder treatment without personal shame that is so common in drug rehabs
- The ability to rapidly detox without having to abandon responsibilities for long periods of time
- An opportunity to start naltrexone or Vivitrol therapy without delays
- Much higher opioid detoxification success rate than traditional methods
Given all of these benefits and more, rapid detoxification under anesthesia is a quick, safe and effective treatment for opioid use disorder. Although detox centers vary in safety and effectiveness, when rapid detox is performed correctly and responsibly, it can be a life-saving solution.
Anesthesia Detox Centers
Rapid detox started being performed in the late 1970s as doctors began writing about their work with anesthesia detox protocols. Since its first report in the late ’70s, detoxification under anesthesia has gained tremendous popularity. Prominent physicians in this exciting and promising field of pharmacology and addiction medicine include Dr. Kebler, Dr. Loimer, Dr. Resnick and Dr. Legarda. Their remarkable and revolutionary work in anesthesia opiate detox has allowed thousands of patients to complete detoxification from opiods in a safe, efficient and humane manner.
In 1998, Waismann Method® was founded to provide safe, effective, individualized rapid detox treatments. Waismann Method® Medical Director Dr. Lowenstein, MD, has personally treated thousands of patients, and Waismann Method® has maintained one of the highest opioid detox success rates of any anesthesia detox provider in the world.
Is Anesthesia-Assisted Detox Safe?
Waismann Method®’s medical director has performed thousands of successful anesthesia detox procedures for nearly two decades. When physicians provide anesthesia-assisted opiate detox responsibly, the results are astounding. The positive results achieved with anesthesia-assisted opioid detox are much higher than with the traditional methods of detoxification. This protocol significantly reduces the length of withdrawal symptoms, along with the severity of the symptoms. Sedating the patient allows the patient not to have any recollection of most of the severe discomfort associated with an opioid withdrawal syndrome. Sleeping through the anesthesia-assisted rapid opiate detox provides for a higher success rate than most other forms of opioid detoxification.
It is essential that an experienced anesthesiologist should perform the anesthesia detox in a full-service hospital. Furthermore, having treatment in a hospital provides patients with additional medical specialists who can accurately assess and assist in each case.
In response to news including a 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report titled “Severe Adverse Effects Associated with Rapid Anesthesia Detox Programs,” Waismann Method® Medical Director Dr. Michael Lowenstein called for the creation of basic standards of care for all anesthesia-assisted detox programs. “We should not cut corners, provide insufficient medical care or offer overnight miracles,” said Dr. Lowenstein. These practices minimize the success of the process and maximize the potential risks to patients.
Am I a Candidate for Anesthesia Detoxification?
Treatment centers should tailor protocols based on patients’ unique history and conditions. Anesthesia-assisted detox is not for everyone. When a patient is not a candidate, other medical options should be made available. Regardless of which type of detox is chosen — with or without anesthesia — medical resources must be abundant. Additionally, hospital discharge should rely only on the doctors’ determination that the patient is ready. There should be no preset time or urgency to discharge.
Ultimately, anesthesia detox centers should treat patients in private rooms, allowing for undivided attention and individualized medical care. Following these basic standards maximizes rapid detox safety and ensures the comfort of the patient.