When you are struggling with an addiction, one of the ramifications is that delayed gratification is not something that you can deal with. One of the primary components of a substance abuse treatment is the necessary behavioral change needed to procure abstinence from substance abuse on a long-term or long lasting basis.
Someone who is struggling with hard core drug use or excessive drug abuse can benefit from what is known as rapid drug detox. When it comes to opioid addiction, rapid drug detox promises quick, painless and efficient detoxification that only takes a few hours to complete. Within this few hours of time, the drug user has completely bypassed what is typically a tortuous journey to recovery that is riddled with obstacles.
Is Rapid Drug Detox Effective?
Is it a safe method of detoxification? Although physicians will tell you that there is no danger behind the rapid detox process, patients have died in the past during similar processes. Between 1999 and 2003, seven patients died in New Jersey at the U.S. Detox Intensive Treatment Center and the presiding physician lost his license. This is because the procedure places a great amount of stress on the user's body, which cannot always take that stress. Through the years, however, new advancements have been made in the arena of rapid detox.
Opioid drugs and opiates are the most common candidates for rapid drug detox. Opiates are like artificial endorphins, which the body already produces naturally. Continued use of these drugs may cause the body to no longer naturally produce endorphins. The brain can develop receptors to deal with the opiates in place of ordinary endorphins as well. Rapid drug detox involves blocking opioid receptors, then blocking opioids. The rapid drug detox lasts for approximately 36 hours and prevents a number of the common withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Dilated pupils
- Goose bumps
- Nose running
Patients must be screened prior to the treatment to gauge level of dependence. The patient is then sedated by the physician, and the medications are introduced that block the opioid receptors from being able to react to the opioid drug. Ongoing patient monitoring is provided during the administration of medications. The patient is not aware of the process during this time. Following treatment, most patients continue to take a drug called Naltrexone once per day. This is a tablet that is taken orally in order to continue blocking the opioid receptors. What this means is that if a patient does use an opiate, they will not experience the high that they were expecting.
According to physicians that regularly perform this type of rapid drug detox, there are no serious issues associated with the treatment. According to a study produced by the Mount Sinai Medical Center through the University of Miami's School of Medicine, this process is 100 percent successful. The institution states that relapse has only been reported 55 percent of the time, typically within approximately six months following the procedure. There are some physiological effects that must be considered with this type of treatment, though, which was demonstrated by the deaths that occurred in the infancy of the treatment's development.
Overcoming a drug addiction is about more than just rapid drug detox. The rapid drug detox is certainly capable of clearing the physical addiction and the resulting cravings for someone who is abusing a substance. What is not taken into account is that there is also a mental element to drug addiction as well. The individual using the substance must also be willing to make behavioral changes in order to truly prevent an addiction from occurring or reoccurring as the case may be. This is potentially why the chance of relapse is so high. The addict must commit to a lifetime of making changes and healthy decisions in order to prevent reoccurrence of the addiction.
Rapid drug detox is certainly a push in the right direction when it comes to overcoming opioid abuse, however there must also be behavioral changes in addition to the detoxification to create a chance for permanent change. Using Naltrexone to curb cravings while modifying behavior is the ideal way to prevent relapse during recovery. This must be done in conjunction with therapy or counseling in order to make sure that the new lifestyle is going to stick.