Drug detoxification from addictive drugs is difficult under any circumstances, but there is a method that has helped thousands of drug-dependent persons overcome their physical addiction in a fraction of the time it takes to detox with conventional methods, In part 1 and 2 of this series, the Waismann Method was introduced, as well as providing a look at a conventional method of detoxification from opioid drugs that leaves much to be desired due to the high relapse rate of patients have gone through the procedure. In this 3rd and final part, the actual Waismann Method is discussed, as well as the cost. However, before you try any procedure, you should look into it further so you can make an informed decision about your course of action with as much information as possible.
Dr. Michael Lowenstein is Co-Director of the Waismann Institute and leading provider of the Waismann Method. He has an extensive education, as well as experience in the medical, and addiction field treating drug-dependent persons, among others. Dr. Lowenstein indicated they have a 70% success rate for patients staying clean after 1 year who have gone through the procedure. Asked why patients prefer this type of detoxification over the conventional methods, Dr. Lowenstein stated: “People just don’t want to be sick.” After reviewing the procedure and its benefits, you may see why they preferred this method.
The Waismann Method begins in a hospital where the patient’s physical state is assessed at least 24 hours prior to the procedure being performed. Urine and blood tests are taken, and the patients’ neurotransmitters are evaluated to find if any irregularities exist that may explain the reason for addiction.
The patient is extensively evaluated, and based on the findings of the tests, hormone, and nutritional supplements are given to the patient if needed. In a 24 to 48 hour period, the patient is stabilized to ensure that the actual procedure runs smoothly. If the patient has any pre-existing medical conditions, doctors are there to take care of any special needs, such as medications. The goal is to “minimize risks and maximize positive results and comfort,” according to Dr. Lowenstein.
Once the patient is stabilized, he or she is ready for the actual Waismann Method, or rapid detox treatment where a board-certified anesthesiologist places the patient under deep sedation. The patient is in an intensive care unit under close supervision during the procedure.
While asleep, the patient’s opiate receptors are cleansed with the drug naloxone, an opiate antagonist. This drug binds to receptor cites replacing the opiates that occupied them. The withdrawal symptoms are accelerated by the use of this medication, all while the patient sleeps. In a matter of hours, the withdrawal symptoms have run their course, and the patient is then awakened.
The actual procedure runs about 1 1/2 hours depending on the nature of the addiction. When awakened, the patient does not remember the withdrawal process and is now free of opiates. The patient is monitored, and within a short amount of time ready for the next step in recovery beyond detoxification, depending on the person’s psychological, medical, and social needs. This could take the form of residential treatment in their aftercare retreat, Domus, outpatient, NA/AA meetings, or the like.
As with all detoxification methods, there are different protocols for detox depending on what drug the person is dependent on. The Waismann Method also detoxifies people addicted to benzodiazepines. Some of the more well-known benzos are Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin. If you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms from a benzodiazepine dependency, chances are you tried to avoid them like the plague. In fact, you often felt like the plague when withdrawing from the drugs in the benzo family.
The Waismann Method handles this type of addiction also, utilizing a different drug to wean the patient off the benzos, avoiding the debilitating withdrawal symptoms. This method takes longer than rapid opiate detox because of the drug the patient was dependent on. Withdrawing from benzodiazepines can be very dangerous if the drug is stopped abruptly. Seizures can occur, and death. The Waismann Method deals with this in the way they detox the patient off the benzos, gradually, but much quicker than the conventional way.
Whatever procedure is used under the Waismann Method, the results are the same, freedom from the dependency the person had without the body, and mind ravaging withdrawal symptoms experienced with other forms of detox, or going cold-turkey. What is left are residual withdrawal symptoms that are nowhere near as crushing as the full-blown ones. And this makes the procedure attractive, if not empowering at the very least.
Cost of the procedure? At the present time, the Waismann Method is not covered by medical insurance carriers. After over a decade of performing this procedure, and even longer with research, the method is still considered experimental, despite having helped thousands of people all over the world overcome their dependency on drugs. Why that is calls for some theories that are out of the scope of this article. However, “interests” and the “status quo” appear to be in the way of getting this procedure approved for insurance coverage.
Regardless, the Waismann Method’s costs are well worth the price considering addicts routinely spend that amount in a 3 to 4 week period on drugs. Heck, many cocaine addicts can run through that amount in a week. According to the Waismann Institute, “The cost runs anywhere from $18,000 to $20,000. This includes all of the pre-screening tests, six weeks of follow up with a therapist and 2 to 4 full days at the Domus Retreat.
“The Waismann Method tried to open a foundation to help people with the financials but after multiple letters, and requests for funds, there was no interest in helping,” said Katie Williams, a Waismann Institute associate. This is one of the problems when it comes to drug treatment. Not everyone can afford it like the Hollywood stars can, so the average person is at the mercy of a system ill-equipped to deal with the 20 million drug abusers nationwide. Those kinds of numbers literally swallow 500 billion dollars annually to deal with it, or not.
Unfortunately, that kind of indifference to the plight of drug-dependent persons all across America is one of the reasons why we find so many people in need of treatment. They have limited resources, or none, and can’t find a place willing to help them. The places they can go to generally have long waiting lists, and frankly, the treatment process is like a production line. With that kind of treatment, one usually ends up with a lot of quantity, but little quality. That’s one of the reasons why the doors leading into substance abuse treatment facilities revolve.
Making treatment available like the Waismann Method for those unable to afford it would pay for itself in a short amount of time considering how much damage an addict can do to himself, and society. And the savings from not incarcerating an addict, which is where many of them end up, would be substantial if they were afforded treatment like the one offered at the Waismann Institute. These programs need to be made available to everyone.
It is expensive treating a drug dependent person, but not near as expensive as the costs to society from drug-related criminal behavior, the cost and destruction to the families of drug addicts, and incarceration costs. Wouldn’t it be better placing a drug dependent person in a program that costs 20 thousand dollars rather than throwing him, or her in prison at 30 thousand per year, and where they are likely to come out worse than when they went in?
If you are one of those persons caught between a rock and a hard place, get help. It may be the last time in your life you will be able to before something bad happens, like dying. There are links on this page you can access to start the ball rolling for help, or anyone else who may want to learn about issues in substance abuse. Even if you find yourself on a waiting list for treatment, at least you’re trying. It may just be as critically important as the treatment itself because it’ll be a first step in the right direction.