One of the first and most important steps any addict must take when they are prepared to get clean and sober is to detox from the drug that they are addicted to. The process of detoxing is generally very physically uncomfortable and leads to what is known as withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms occur because when a person is addicted to a drug, their brain’s reward center becomes accustomed to receiving that drug on a regular basis. The brain actually reorganizes so that all of an addict’s thoughts begin to be centered around finding and using more drugs. When an addict then ceases using, the reward center sends signals to the brain that trigger uncomfortable symptoms, which may include things like nausea, dizziness, seizures, and severe headaches. Some drugs are more difficult to withdraw from than others. Drugs like heroin, opiates, and alcohol can create symptoms that are so severe that they may even be fatal if they are not withdrawn from with some supervision. Because the withdrawal process from these drugs can be so painful and unpleasant, some addicts opt for a somewhat controversial process called rapid detox. What exactly is rapid detox? Does it work?
The Process of Rapid Detox
Rapid detox generally refers to a procedure during which an addict is placed under general anesthesia and then given a dose of a drug called Naltrexone, which is useful in combatting addiction because the brain reacts to it in the same way that it does heroin or alcohol, but does not receive any of the pleasurable side effects that go along with those drugs. When a recovering addict is given Naltrexone while under anesthesia, the drug can help the brain to safely transition from being dependent on heroin or opiates without the addict needing to experience the unpleasant feelings of withdrawal.
Does it Work?
In some cases, Naltrexone does work. If a person is able to safely withdraw through rapid detox, they must generally stay in bed for the next several days and then, when they are well enough, begin the process of recovery. It is important to note that rapid detox is by no means a quick fix for addiction, but rather a ay of making the very painful process of withdrawal potentially more comfortable. The process of recovery involves much more than the actual physical withdrawal, as a recovering addict must find answers to why they became addicted to the drug in a first place, and how they can avoid triggers to use in the first place. This means undergoing psychological treatment and attending group meetings designed to help work through the roots of addictive behavior in the hopes that they can be dealt with in a lasting way so that a recovered addict can grow as a person and no longer be dependent on drugs or alcohol in order to deal with uncomfortable thoughts or emotions.
Are There Risks Involved in Rapid Detox?
In short, yes. There are risks involved in rapid detox. Going under general anesthesia is a process that poses health risks in and of itself. Combining anesthesia with a drug like Naltrexone puts quite a strain on the body and may lead to possibly fatal complications. A person who is going through the process of rapid detox must generally be strapped down to a table of some sort because the effects of the drugs on their body are so severe that they cause convulsions and spasms. It is possible for the effects of rapid detox to be fatal or to cause serious and permanent damage. Serious consideration should be given to these risks when considering rapid detox.