Reviewed by Clare Waismann, RAS / SUDCC
With the opioid crisis continuing to rage across the United States, thousands of people seek a safe and effective alternative for opioid dependence treatment. However, anesthesia-assisted rapid detox protocols are not appropriate for everyone; some wonder whether they can undergo rapid detox without anesthesia. There are numerous fast detox options, and being informed of those options is the best way to make the right decision for you or a loved one. After all, not all rapid detox treatments are the same.
Before evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of undergoing anesthesia, it is essential to understand what “rapid detox” really is.
Evaluating Rapid Opioid Detoxification Protocols
A person with opioid dependence has developed a physiological reaction to the presence of opioids, regardless of prescription painkillers, heroin, or synthetic opioid compounds. We characterize opioid dependence as an increased physical tolerance with withdrawal symptoms. Higher tolerance is apparent when one needs more of the drug to obtain the same effect. At the same time, withdrawal symptoms are the discomfort that occurs after stopping or reducing the drug intake. Avoiding unpleasant withdrawal effects is one of the primary reasons people continue to use opioids.
Detoxification is the process by which the body clears the remaining opioid compounds. After taking opioids, the molecules remain in the body for hours to days. One way to undergo detoxification is to stop taking opiates altogether, “cold turkey.” However, this can be incredibly uncomfortable because of withdrawal symptoms, and it may have harmful effects on your organs. A more comfortable and safe alternative is an inpatient medical detox.
One of the most successful medical detoxes is the Anesthesia Assisted Rapid Detox. With this method, doctors use a combination of anesthesia and an antagonist (Naloxone) to get patients through the withdrawal quickly and comfortably. The goal is that patients sleep through the detox and don’t feel any withdrawal pain. When the patient wakes up, there should be no memory of the process, and most importantly, their receptor sites are free of opioid drugs.
Although rapid detox and anesthesia assisted detox are terms that describe accelerated methods of opioid detoxification, the protocols in use are quite different. There are significant differences between rapid detox centers, along with benefits and respective treatment risks. When a Rapid Detox Center offers multiple treatment options, there is a much better chance of receiving an adequate one.
Is Rapid Detox Safe for Everyone?
Rapid detox is as safe as the treating physician’s responsibility and abilities. The procedure is not safe for everyone, and there should be a thorough and comprehensive inpatient evaluation before the detox.
Anesthesia is much safer today than ever before, but that doesn’t mean there is no risk. Individual patients are more likely to experience anesthesia-related complications than others. Some of the instances are age, medical conditions, obesity, or even low dosage opioid intake. Having multiple treatment options can provide a higher comfort and safety level to the patient.
Is Rapid Detox Without Anesthesia Possible?
People often ask whether rapid detox without anesthesia is possible; the answer is “yes and no.” A proper rapid detox involves administering opioid antagonists combined with anesthesia agents. The antagonist quickly clears opioid molecules from their receptors while the anesthesia keeps them asleep. If the person were not under anesthesia, this process would be very uncomfortable and challenging. That is why an actual rapid detox without anesthesia is not a possibility. However, there are faster detox protocols that do not use anesthesia but can be highly effective in treating opioid dependence.
When choosing a rapid detox, make sure you will receive the treatment you are expecting. Due to its popularity, the term “rapid detox” describes some unrelated opioid detoxification treatments. Patients seeking rapid detox are often tricky and mislead to inferior and unsafe treatment centers.
Here are an additional 6 Questions you should ask before starting a rapid detox program.
Rapid Detox with and without Anesthesia. Understanding Medically Assisted Opioid Treatment Options
There are several reasons why someone would prefer rapid detox without anesthesia. Some individuals have medical conditions that make anesthesia unsafe, while others prefer not to be for personal reasons.
What Happens During Opioid Detox?
Waismann Method treatment center provides patients with several opiate detox options. Some options under anesthesia and some without. The non-anesthesia options offer many of the same advantages and results as rapid detox. The treatment also begins in a full-service hospital where patients are under 24/7 medical monitoring. A medical provider team is on hand at the hospital to address immediate physiological needs and blunt the withdrawal response.
After patients are physically stable, they proceed to a private recovery center for additional comfort. At Domus Retreat (our recovery center), a team of compassionate and knowledgeable professionals assists with residual symptoms. The total treatment length (including hospital) is usually 7 to 10 days. One of the primary advantages of an inpatient detox without anesthesia is that monitoring and withdrawal symptoms management can still be possible in a hospital setting.
Choosing the Best Opioid Treatment Program
Most opioid rehabilitation (rehab) programs promise to provide effective treatment and support. It is essential to understand that these programs are often in a non-medical treatment setting. Most drug rehabs are in an inpatient/residential licensed location, but rarely a hospital or medical facility. While the focus might be on the “addiction,” the individual’s physiological needs must be the #1 priority during the detoxification phase.
Detox marks the beginning of a new path, of a life without drugs.
Waismann Rapid Detox Center
The Waismann Method® opioid treatment takes the best-individualized approach by carefully assessing. The detox’s primary objective should safely reduce your withdrawal symptoms while your body regulates itself to function without the drug. It is advisable to undergo opioid detox under medical supervision. For this reason, we offer a combination of medical detoxification and private recovery care.
Rather than applying a cookie-cutter protocol to every person who walks through the door, we provide the treatment that best fits your needs. Whether use chooses anesthesia assisted detox or rapid detox without anesthesia, your safety, success, and comfort is our goal.
Here are some additional cost and treatment differences to consider when deciding on a rapid opiate detox treatment.
Medical Detox for Opioids
It is also essential to recognize that opioid detoxification addresses physiological dependence. Many people that struggle with addiction also possess the behavioral and emotional components that lead to inappropriate opioid use. A high-quality opioid treatment facility recognizes that your battle does not necessarily end with clearing the opioids from your body. Opioid withdrawal can be a comfortable experience with medical supervision and medical assistance. Additionally, having a private and safe environment adjust to an opioid-free state is imperative after detox.
Whether you choose traditional rapid detox or medically assisted detox without anesthesia, having professional and responsible care provides you with the best chance to reach a healthy life with sobriety.
Reviewed by Clare Waismann, Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS), Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor (SUDCC), founder of Waismann Method® Advanced Treatment for Opiate Dependence
All topics for the Opiates.com blog are selected and written based on high standards of editorial quality, including cited sources. Articles are reviewed by Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC, and for accuracy, credibility, and relevancy to the audience. Clare Waismann is an authority and expert on opioid dependence, opioid use disorder, substance dependence, detoxification treatments, detox recovery, and other topics covered on Opiates.com. Some articles are additionally reviewed by one of Waismann Method’s specialists or third-party sources, depending on their field of expertise. For additional information and disclaimers regarding third-party sources and content for informational purposes only, please see our Terms of Service.
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