Opiate addiction is nothing to take lightly. The process of going through detox will trigger all sorts of side effects, none of them pleasant. From difficulty breathing to severe mood swings and body sweats, the physical and mental discomfort can last anywhere from a week to a month. That’s true even when some type of step-down medication regimen is used to wean the patient off the opiate.
While efforts were made in past decades to manage a more rapid detox, they met with various levels of success.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at how rapid detox works.
While opiates have been around in one form or another for a long time, the first signs of any real complications of using opiates like morphine for pain relief occurred during the Civil War in the United States.
At the time, medical professionals knew nothing about the addictive nature of this type of narcotic. What they did know is that it helped soldiers who had sustained severe injuries to experience less pain as their wounds healed. It was only decades later that what had been termed as “soldier’s disease” was recognized as drug dependency.
By then, it was too late to do anything for many veterans who had suffered through withdrawal symptoms without any type of medical support and ended up passing away.
A Structured Treatment Approach
The concept of a step-down approach to opiate detox began to gain attention in the middle of the 20th century.
This approach involves the administration of other opiates deemed to be less addictive in nature. As the patient responded positively, the dosage and type of opiate would change until it was possible to finish the detox without the aid of any type of medication.
This process is still in use today. While effective, a drawback is that it can take a month or longer for those with severe addictions to finally be free.
Seeking a Faster Method
The desire to manage a detox that was faster and safer led to the development of the rapid detox approach. Beginning in the 1980s, the concept of using anesthesia to keep the patient asleep for several hours served as the basis for a rapid detox treatment. Once the patient was asleep, medical professionals administer a series of medications designed to block the absorption of opiates in the system.
Those same medications hasten the flushing of any lingering traces of opiates from the body. Through it all, the patient remains asleep and is unaware of what is happening.
During the rapid detox, a medical team monitors the heart rate, respiratory function, blood pressure, and a number of other factors. The goal is to ensure the patient remains in stable condition throughout the process. It’s not unusual for the detox to take place in a setting like a hospital intensive care unit or similar facility where advanced medical support is always at hand.
With rapid detox, it’s possible to rid the body of opiates in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks. While there is still the need to undergo counseling as a way to break the cycle of emotional dependence on the drugs, this strategy prevents the patient from experiencing the physical and emotional pain associated with older approaches.
If you or someone you know is suffering from opiate addiction, talk with a medical expert about this solution. It could be what you need to get on the road to recovery and get your life back.