When people mention rapid detox, they are usually talking about something called ultra rapid detox. This is a method of detoxing opiate addicted drug addicts from either heroin or prescription painkillers. Like anything else, it has some pros and cons, so if you are considering having the procedure done you are going to have to weight this stuff out pretty carefully.
Rapid detox centers
The procedure is done while the patient is “put under.” At that point, the body is rapidly flushed clean while the patient is out for several hours. The procedure can take quite a long time in fact. When they finally wake up, the will experience no withdrawal symptoms. In some cases they might have a small trace of withdrawal symptoms, but for the most part they will be completely gone. For anyone who has suffered through opiate withdrawal cold turkey, this is a pretty astonishing development.
Rapid opiate detox is not cheap
One of the biggest drawbacks is that the procedure is pretty expensive right now, and no insurance companies will cover the procedure just yet because it is quite new. So anyone who is going to have the procedure done has to pay several thousand dollars out of pocket for it to happen.
Now to be fair, traditional treatment methods generally cost similar amounts, though they might be slightly cheaper than rapid drug detox will be.
But the cost of rapid detox is even higher than you might estimate when you factor in the idea of relapse. Why? Because there is no cumulative advantage or knowledge gained when using rapid detox like there is when you use other forms of treatment like residential treatment. Let me explain that a bit more.
What I mean is that when you go to a residential treatment program and go through detox and start going to therapy and counseling and groups, you might end up leaving treatment eventually and you might end up relapsing. Even if you relapse, you still have learned a great deal about addiction and recovery, you met some peers in recovery and you understand a bit more about the process of recovery and how you might stay clean and sober through working a program or networking with others and so on. But when you go through ultra rapid detox and then eventually relapse, you have gained nothing. You have learned nothing. All of the money spent on treatment has been wasted completely, with nothing to show for it. At least when you go to residential treatment (and fail), you have a little something to show for it in the form of new knowledge gained.
This might be important because most people do not stay clean and sober on their first try, and it seems like it takes a few tries and some of this “accumulated knowledge” in order to finally find success in recovery. In other words, you cannot count on staying clean the first time to you get clean and sober. Statistically, it is just not realistic to expect.
Follow up care?
The other problem with using a rapid detox center for your treatment to opiate addiction is the lack of follow up care. Now depending on your situation this may or may not be a huge problem.
Let’s say that you have never really gotten clean before and you don’t know much about recovery. You do not have a network of friends in recovery and you are not used to going to 12 step meetings or anything like that. If this is the case then you might be a really poor candidate for ultra rapid detox. Why? Because there is no system in place for follow up care. Anything that is suggested to you as a program of care for follow up is going to be just “tacked on,” and it will not be intensive enough to keep you clean and sober in most cases.
On the other hand, say you are living in long term treatment and working a regular program of recovery. Now if you are in the regular routine of doing that, and you end up relapsing and decide to go through rapid detox, then going back into long term treatment immediately following your detox would be a very good idea. The supportive environment is what is critical for your long term success.
If someone thinks they can just go through the rapid detox procedure and then walk away from it and go back to a “normal” life then they are probably mistaken. It takes a bit more footwork than that and in most cases it is going to take a lot more footwork than that. So much footwork, in fact, that it actually makes the idea of such an intense procedure seem a little ridiculous. In other words, you are going to have to put in a huge effort in order to really stay clean, so don’t worry so much about the detox itself. Yes it is uncomfortable, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. If you can’t make it through 3 to 5 days of uncomfortable opiate withdrawal using traditional detox measures, then you are not ready for recovery, period. You just are not cut out to make it yet.
Ultra rapid detox is an expensive shortcut that is probably not necessary in most cases.