Rapid detox is a pharmacological and medical procedure that condenses the opiate withdrawal process, thus helping a drug dependent person reach a drug-free state.
If the procedure is done by highly-trained medical professionals in the right setting, rapid detox can safely and effectively reverse a person’s physical opiate dependence.
Blocking Opioid Receptors
The principle of rapid detoxification is to induce opioid-receptor blockage while the patient is in sedated or under anesthesia, so as to attenuate the withdrawal symptoms experienced by the patient. An opioid antagonist, or opioid receptor antagonist, is a receptor antagonist that acts on opioid receptors.
Opioid antagonist drugs are competitive antagonists that bind to the opioid receptors with higher affinity than agonists but do not activate the receptors. This effectively blocks the receptor, preventing the body from responding to opiates and endorphins.
The often painful symptoms of drug withdrawal may last for several days and can stand as a barrier to the treatment of a drug abuse problem. Instead, rapid detox practitioners use “rapid” or “ultra rapid” detoxification methods to condense the withdrawal process into a considerably shorter period of time, about two hours, while the drug dependant person is asleep.
Rapid detox patients placed under sedation and/or anesthesia while given treatment drugs can avoid the extreme pain associated with traditional detox treatments, and bypass the major effects of withdrawal.
Sedation vs. General Anesthesia
There is debate within the rapid detox community of whether to use sedation or anesthesia for rapid detox. Under sedation, a patient is asleep, responsive to verbal or tactile stimulation, and can usually breathe on his/her own. However, under general anesthesia, the patient is unarousable and requires intubation.
Rapid detoxification may be an effective treatment for improving the health and living condition of people experiencing problematic illicit opiate use or prescription drug dependence. Although the procedure may be more expensive than conventional treatments, results may be seen in a shorter amount of time.