What Is Rapid Opiate Detox? Is It Safe and Effective?

One of the most difficult parts of beginning treatment for opiate addiction is facing the prospect of withdrawal. Many people don’t seek help because they fear the symptoms. Withdrawal from opiates is painful, and recovering addicts experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia and a host of other physical and emotional effects.

Opiates, whether they’re prescription painkillers or street heroin, bind to receptors in the brain that trigger feelings of euphoria and well-being. When the drug wears off, those receptors crave another, steeper high. If the drug is withheld, withdrawal usually begins within 12 hours of the last dose, and can continue for several weeks. It sounds like a terrible ordeal, but it’s the body’s way of cleansing itself of the poisons the drug leaves behind.

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What Is Rapid Opiate Detox?

In the 1980s, a detox protocol was developed that would allow recovering addicts to “skip” this period of withdrawal. Rapid opiate detox involves the use of a medication called naltrexone, which flushes the opiate residue from the brain’s receptors, dramatically shortening the withdrawal period. Continued use of this drug also blocks cravings. Once the process is complete, the work of healing and adjusting to life without addiction can begin.

There’s also a treatment called ultra-rapid detox, where naltrexone is administered under a general anesthesia, allowing the patient to sleep through the cleansing period. The person wakes up drug-free, with no memory of any symptoms and with no physical cravings. However, many clinics and rehab facilities won’t do this procedure, as it carries a risk of death for one in 300 people who try it. Both rapid and ultra-rapid detox are usually followed by maintenance use of naltrexone to prevent cravings and relapse.

Is Rapid Opiate Detox Safe?

Rapid opiate detox is generally considered safe, when it’s performed in a carefully monitored and supervised environment. The only significant complication usually reported is a feeling of being “under the weather” for a few days after treatment. Ultra-rapid detox should only be done in a hospital environment, due to the use of general anesthetic.

Is Rapid Opiate Detox Effective?

The appeal of rapid detox is the ability to avoid the long duration of withdrawal symptoms that ordinarily happen in conventional detox. In that sense, it’s very effective. Long-term studies have shown that there’s no statistical difference in relapse rates between those who go with rapid detox and those who go through conventional detox.

Is Rapid Detox Right for You?

Opiate addiction changes brain chemistry, damages the body and hurts the lives of millions of people. You don’t have to be one of them. Remember, you’re not alone in the struggle. As you would with any life-changing procedure, you should weigh your options carefully, talk about it, think about it and ask a lot of questions.

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Call our hotline at 800-447-9081, and we’ll help you consider the benefits of rapid detox: fewer symptoms and shorter withdrawal. Our toll-free number is staffed with caring, knowledgeable people who can help you make an informed decision on the kind of treatment you want to pursue. Call today!

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