We live in a world that truly values efficiency and speed. Individuals here in New Jersey are no exception to this mindset. When it comes to most things in this day and age, the goal is to get the most done in the shortest amount of time. But, recovery from addiction shouldn’t be one of those things. Still, many individuals are hoping that there is a way to overcome substance dependence quickly. Currently, the idea of “rapid detox” is circulating the recovery scene. Individuals are seeking this option in order to end addiction in their lives. But this may prove to be a poor choice, given the possible consequences of rapid detoxification. However, if you’ve been considering a rapid detox program in NJ or you’re simply wondering what it is and whether or not it works, allow us to shed some light on the subject.

What is Rapid Detox?

Rapid detox is a process that is meant to end substance dependence quickly. Essentially, this method of detox enables people to go through the detox process within just a day or two. Individuals go through this detox process while sedated via anesthesia. This eliminates the discomfort that comes from withdrawal. Generally, the individual is under anesthesia for anywhere between 12-48 hours. Once the person awakes, he or she will be past most of the symptoms of withdrawal. 

In addition to sedation, individuals can also receive medications that will help to block the symptoms of alcohol or drug withdrawal once the anesthesia wears off. Suboxone is one drug that may be used during the rapid detox process. It works to bring comfort to those in withdrawal by blocking the symptoms that may occur when they stop using drugs and alcohol.

Why Do People Opt for Rapid Detox?

The idea of ending substance dependence within 2 days or less might certainly (and understandably) appeal to many individuals. Again, the world in which we live is a fast-moving one. Many individuals who suffer from substance dependence are known as “functioning”, meaning they hold jobs, take care of families, and have other responsibilities to uphold. This can make it difficult for them to break away from their obligations in order to undergo a week or more of detoxification.

Another reason why people may opt to go through a rapid detox program because it promises comfort. Since individuals are sedated while withdrawal sets in, they do not experience the discomfort that occurs while individuals are working to end physical dependence on drugs or alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms are, to say the least, unpleasant. So, many individuals choose the rapid detox option in order to avoid these symptoms.

The Problem With the Rapid Detox Process

Firstly, rapid detox is more of an “in and out” process. It offers a quick course without a follow-up. In other words, those who go through a rapid detox program are less likely to receive continuing treatment once the detox process is over. This can be extremely harmful to the recovery process because it prevents people from getting the support and guidance they will undoubtedly need after detoxification. It’s important to understand that addiction is more than a physical dependence on alcohol or drugs. In addition to physical substance dependence, individuals also suffer from mental (psychological) and emotional dependence. In essence, addiction extends beyond the surface. 

Many people see no problem with the rapid detox process. After all, it promises speed, comfort, and recovery. What exactly could be a problem with this? Well, there are multiple risks involved with the rapid detoxification method. It’s likely that many of those who seek this method are unaware of these risks. So, before it’s important to understand the disadvantages that may come with this drug detox method.

So, detox should be followed by therapy and treatment that addresses the mental and emotional needs of those in recovery. Individuals should go through a residential program, an intensive outpatient program (IOP), or an outpatient treatment program. These treatment programs offer people the opportunity to gain relapse-prevention skills and learn more about life after substance dependence. Also, therapy programs help individuals to develop support systems with their peers and develop healthy interpersonal skills.

Residential Program for Substance Use Treatment

In a residential program, individuals can receive 24/7 supervision and care from clinical professionals. Those in treatment live at their treatment facility for the duration of their treatment process. Residential programs, also known as inpatient programs, offer people the opportunity to strive toward recovery in a safe and substance-free setting. Individuals who may not have support at home may benefit best from an inpatient program. Also, residential treatment is helpful for those who suffer from what may be considered as a severe addiction.

Intensive Outpatient Program for Substance Use Treatment

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is less intensive than inpatient treatment. It does not require people to live at their treatment facility. This may enable some people to live at home while getting treatment. Individuals may also opt to live at a sober living facility while in an IOP. Typically, those in an intensive outpatient program receive about 9 hours of clinical treatment per week. They may attend therapy sessions during the day or at night. 

More on the Risks and Disadvantages of Rapid Detoxification

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), multiple hospitalizations and fatalities occurred in New York as a result of anesthesia-assisted rapid opiate detox. Medical complications may occur when individuals undergo rapid detoxification. They may include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Infection
  • Choking
  • Vomiting
  • Delirium
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure
  • Breathing problems
  • Irregular heart activity
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Symptoms of psychosis (i.e. paranoia)
  • Lung problems (i.e. distress, failure, fluid buildup)

People who have pre-existing mental health disorders may find that the rapid detox method aggravates or intensifies the symptoms of their disorders.

Rapid detox may also prove to be extremely expensive. It can cost around the same amount as an entire month in a residential addiction treatment program. So, rapid detox can be a very costly and harmful option. 

Some individuals may experience pain after waking up from anesthesia. Also, some withdrawal symptoms may still occur, even after the rapid detox process is done. This could actually lead individuals to relapse, as drug or alcohol use temporarily pacifies withdrawal symptoms.

The Importance of Detoxing to End Substance Dependency

Learning about the negative effects that could occur as a result of faulty detox programs could lead people to avoid detox altogether. But, it’s important to note that detox should be a part of the recovery journey. Many individuals who suffer from substance dependence may decide to end alcohol or drug use “cold turkey”. In other words, they may abruptly stop using these substances. But, this can be extremely dangerous, even fatal, depending on the type of substance a person was using.

Detox is one of the most important components of recovery. It is usually at the beginning of the treatment process because it serves as a foundation for individuals to overcome addiction. Detoxification ends physical use and dependence, thus allowing people to focus on the recovery process without feeling the impact of alcohol, drugs, and withdrawal.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about getting help for addiction here in New Jersey. But you’re now realizing that a rapid detox program may not be the best option. If so, rest assured that there are other options than rapid detox in NJ. You can certainly receive the help you need without being subject to the dangers of this detox method.

Alternatives to Rapid Detox in NJ

Instead of going through a rapid detox program, you might opt for a professional medical detoxification program. Medical detox programs are not as fast as rapid detox programs, which is actually a benefit. Individuals who suffer from drug or alcohol misuse may need to go through a slower, more thorough process in order to end substance use in their lives. 

During a medical detox process, professionals administer medications that can help to block the effects of withdrawal. This helps to make the withdrawal process much more comfortable for those in recovery. Professionals supervise the detox process, being sure to administer the necessary amount of medication and working to prevent any adverse effects. A process like this can be much safer than rapid detoxification. 

Admitting that you need help overcoming substance dependence can be difficult. But choosing to get help for a substance use disorder (SUD) is one of the most important decisions you can make. 

If you’ve been seeking a program for rapid detox in New Jersey, maybe you are now reconsidering your decision. Perhaps you are less interested in the rapid option but you aren’t sure what else to do. Well, the good news is that there are effective and safe ways to end substance dependence. While rapid detoxification promises a process that is free from the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms, it does so with great risks involved. But, you can certainly begin your recovery process with a much safer detox route.

Detox at Discovery Institute of New Jersey

Here at the Discovery Institute of New Jersey, we work to offer our members hope for recovery through a safe and effective process. We understand the seriousness of addiction and how it impacts the lives of those who suffer from it. Also, our team is aware of the fact that, just as substance dependence doesn’t develop overnight, recovery also does not occur right away. Instead, recovery is a process and we work to treat is as such, working with our members to establish the best course of action in treating their substance use. 

Our treatment center is equipped with the medical resources necessary in order to facilitate a healthy recovery for each individual. Since every person is different, your needs will differ from the needs of others in recovery. This is why an individualized approach is absolutely necessary. At Discovery Institute, we strive to meet each person’s recovery needs, taking time to deal with factors such as co-occurring disorders, including the following:

If you need help treating addiction in your life, allow us to help you here at Discovery Institute. Contact us today to learn more about our services. We are willing and ready to serve you as you pursue recovery!

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6238a1.htm

https://www.naabt.org/faq_answers.cfm?ID=23

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.