The Evils of Rapid Detox
July 31, 2020
July 31, 2020
First used in the 1980s to help people overcome opioid dependency, rapid drug detox is now advertised as a quick and painless miracle-cure for opioid addiction. Unfortunately, these claims disregard the severe damage opioid addiction leaves behind in its wake. The evils of rapid detox lie in its inability to support recovering addicts in the areas where support is most needed. Physical, emotional, and psychological health risks abound when rapid detox is used as a “one-stop treatment cure” for opioid addiction.
People caught up in throes of opioid abuse experience withdrawal effects whenever the body needs a “fix.” As your body develops a physical dependence on the drug’s effects, it can no longer function normally without adequate amounts of the drug in your system. These conditions cause withdrawal effects to develop. Anyone struggling with opioid abuse is well aware of how uncomfortable, and even excruciating withdrawal can be. Not surprisingly, fear of withdrawal is a primary reason that keeps many people from undergoing the detox process.
Rapid drug detox is designed to condense a one to two-week withdrawal process into a painless, four- to six-hour period. The procedure entails using anesthesia to place the body in a sedated state. During this time, doctors administer medications that flush opioids out of your body. By the time you wake up, your body has already gone through the withdrawal process and you’re released from the hospital within 48 hours, barring any complications. As with all things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Opioids, like heroin and prescription painkillers, are some of the most addictive drugs you can take. Opioids integrate within the body’s central nervous system (CNS), seamlessly, to the point where your brain can’t tell the difference between the drug and its own endorphin chemicals. Once addiction takes hold, significant alterations have been made in the brain and the body’s systems. Most notably, opioids force the release of massive amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates key bodily functions, including:
For these reasons, you may still experience withdrawal effects after going to a rapid detox clinic. Once opioid abuse stops, the brain and CNS have lost the ability to secrete the level of dopamine your body needs to function normally. This means you can experience withdrawal symptoms in one or more of the areas that dopamine regulates. Symptoms to watch for include:
Going through a rapid drug detox procedure is comparable to going “cold turkey,” which places an incredible strain on the body’s systems. In effect, your visit to a rapid detox center can cause potentially dangerous, and even life-threatening side effects, a few of which include:
Drug addiction, in any form, becomes a vicious cycle of drug abuse and physical decline, which is why it qualifies as a disease. In turn, relapse rates for addiction run as high as 40 to 60 percent, the same rates for other forms of chronic disease, like hypertension and diabetes. The “cold turkey” effect of rapid drug detox only increases the risk of relapse.
While a rapid drug detox procedure does a good job at flushing opioids out of the body, it also leaves your brain in a dopamine-depleted state, as mentioned beforehand. Dopamine plays a critical role in keeping your mind and emotions stable. Considering that many people turn to opioid abuse to cope with daily stress and emotional duress, the risk of relapse runs incredibly high when dopamine levels plummet.
Once you leave a rapid detox center and return to your normal life, your brain and body begin the process of restoring normal functions without the drug’s effects. While abusing opioids, your body developed a gradual tolerance for the drug to the point where it required large doses to produce the desired “high” effect. When drug use stops, the body tolerance for opioids decreases considerably. Oftentimes, people who relapse after detox attempt to pick up where they left off, ingesting the same amount of opioids they took before. in terms of the amount of opioids they take. Since the body can no longer process large amounts of the drug, the risk of overdosing looms larger than it ever did before.
While medical detox doesn’t deliver the overnight results afforded through a rapid detox clinic, it’s just as effective at relieving withdrawal discomfort, if not more so effective. Medical detox provides round-the-clock care that typically takes five to seven days. Treatment teams monitor your vital signs along the way and administer medications to treat withdrawal symptoms. With opioid addictions, specialty medications, such as Suboxone and methadone can be used to gradually wean your body off the effects of opioids and, in the process, eliminate withdrawal discomfort altogether.
The procedures used by rapid detox centers only address the body’s physical dependence on opioids. Unfortunately, physical dependence is only the tip of the iceberg when a full-blown addiction has taken root. Addiction warps the areas of the brain that affect your judgment and decision-making as well as the areas that form your priorities and motivations. These effects remain unchanged, even after opioids have been flushed from the body. In other words, you’ll still think and behave like an addict after a rapid drug detox procedure.
Medical detox centers treat both the physical and psychological effects of addiction. Psychological treatment entails helping you see the ways addiction has skewed your thinking and provides you with the tools you need to build a drug-free lifestyle. Without this line of treatment, there’s a very real and definite risk of relapse.
No one wants to go through any more pain and discomfort than necessary, so it’s understandable why rapid detox has become all the rage. It helps to keep in mind though that medical shortcuts seldom produce effective results. A rapid drug detox shortcut can cause more harm than good and can even be fatal so consider all your options, carefully.
Contact Ascendant anytime to discuss your options with one of our caring, knowledgeable staff.