Detoxing is one of the most important and difficult steps in the process of recovering from addiction. When a person has been using a substance for a long period of time, they will have developed an extremely strong physical dependence on it. When a person stops using the substance, they will likely experience severe withdrawal symptoms that can be extremely unpleasant and potentially dangerous. Still this detox process is necessary, as the body needs to expel the substances from its system in order to adjust to a state of operating without them.

Detoxing is something that is best undertaken under the care and supervision of medical professionals or addiction experts, as it can be very dangerous to do on one’s own. One form of detox that has become increasingly popular is that of “rapid detox.” Unfortunately, this form of detox can come with risks and side effects of its own.

About Rapid Detox

Rapid detox involves a person being medically sedated and medicated to accelerate the detoxification program. Many people are attracted to this method because it allows them to be unconscious during withdrawals, so they do not have to experience the discomfort that comes from it. However, rapid detox comes with a number of potential side effects that can be dangerous on their own. Side effects include:

  • Vomiting
  • Aspiration
  • Nausea
  • High Body Temperature
  • Paranoia
  • Heart Attack

This is only a partial list of side effects. The list goes on and on. Rapid detox can actually result in death. According to an article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “During August–September 2012, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) was notified by the New York City Poison Control Center regarding three patients who experienced serious adverse events after anesthesia-assisted rapid opiate detoxification (AAROD) at a local outpatient clinic. All three patients required hospitalization, and one subsequently died.” Detox is an extremely difficult process, and the body must be in good enough condition to handle it. When the body is sedated, it might not be in as good of a condition to handle the withdrawal symptoms.

Rapid detox is an attempt to escape the unpleasant effects of withdrawal, but the risks may outweigh the rewards. Rapid detox is hopefully more of a fad than a trend, and more research will likely reveal that it is too dangerous for most people to undertake. It is recommended that people seek out a detox program that is holistically based or that does not require drugs of any kind, because this is ultimately the safest option. For more severe cases of addiction, medication assisted detox is available that does not involve sedation, which mitigates some of the symptoms without the risk of full anesthesia. Regardless of what a person chooses, it’s important for them to seek the guidance of a medical professional and approach detox in the way that will be safest for them while minimizing discomfort.