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The Dangers Of Rapid Detox

Completing detox can be a significant step toward a healthy, drug-free future. However, If you have been considering rapid detox, it is important to understand what services you will receive and what risks you may be exposed to. In the years since this technique was developed, several studies have identified many potential dangers of rapid detox.

What is Detox?

Detoxification, or detox, is a short-term program. The goal of detox is to help people safely rid their bodies of addictive substances.

When a person becomes addicted to alcohol or another drug, their body adapts to the presence of the substance. When that person can’t acquire the substance, or when they try to stop using it, their body may respond with a variety of painful symptoms. This is known as withdrawal.

Withdrawal can be a source of both physical and psychological distress. In some cases, withdrawal can be a life-threatening experience. 

When a person tries to get through withdrawal on their own, the pain they feel can quickly push them back into active substance abuse. 

When a person enters a detox program, they benefit from the care and supervision of a team of experts. The detox team can protect the person’s health and minimize their discomfort. Detox services may include both therapeutic and medical support.

Some people may complete detox in five days or less, while others may need to remain in a detox program for a week or longer. At Brentwood Springs Detox, length of stay in our program is determined solely by what is best for each person.

Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

The types of withdrawal symptoms a person develops can depend on many factors. These factors include which drug the person has been abusing.

Withdrawal may be particularly difficult for people who have become addicted to alcohol and opioids.


Alcohol is one of the most frequently abused drugs throughout the world, and alcoholism is one of the most common forms of addiction. Many people don’t realize that alcohol withdrawal can be both painful and dangerous. In extreme cases, it can even be fatal.

The following are potential symptoms of alcohol withdrawal:

  • Strong cravings for alcohol
  • Sweating and shakiness
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Racing heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Tics and tremors
  • Seizure

The more severe symptoms listed above typically occur among people who have been drinking heavily for many years. But anyone who has developed an addiction to alcohol will experience some level of distress while they’re going through withdrawal.


The category of opioids includes heroin, morphine, fentanyl, and many common prescription painkillers. No matter which type of opioid a person has become addicted to, they may experience the following symptoms of opioid withdrawal:

  • Powerful cravings for opioids
  • Extreme abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Elevated heart rate
  • High body temperature
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety

Unlike alcohol withdrawal, the symptoms of opioid withdrawal are rarely life-threatening. But they can be extremely unpleasant.

What is Rapid Detox

Rapid detox is a technique that was first used in the 1980s. It is sometimes referred to as ultrarapid detox, anesthesia-assisted rapid opioid detoxification, and sedation-assisted alcohol detox.

As its name indicates, the goal of rapid detox is to get people through withdrawal as quickly as possible. 

Rapid detox uses general anesthesia, which is the same type of sedation that is typically used during surgery. While the patient is sedated, they are given medications that immediately push them into withdrawal. These medications also trigger an accelerated process for clearing the patient’s body of addictive substances.

Due to the use of general anesthesia and the strain that rapid detox puts on the body, patients typically undergo this process in a hospital setting. The procedure itself typically takes a few hours, followed by a few days of postoperative hospitalization.

The Dangers Of Rapid Detox

Multiple studies have identified several dangers of rapid detox.

For example, a 2005 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that the potential side effects of rapid detox include pulmonary edema, suppression of thyroid hormones, renal failure, delirium, psychosis, suicide attempts, and death. 

Following two deaths and several severe reactions among rapid detox patients in New York in 2012, the CDC issued a report that advised against this technique. 

The CDC report, which was issued Sept. 27, 2013, concluded with the following statement: “[Anesthesia-assisted rapid opioid detoxification] has substantial risks, including a risk for death, and little to no evidence to support its use. Safe, evidence-based treatments of opioid dependence (e.g., MAT) exist and are preferred. ”After reviewing nine studies on rapid detox that involved more than 1,100 people,” the University of Adelaide wrote “the lack of additional benefit, and increased risk of harm, suggest that this form of treatment should not be pursued.”

Benefits Of Medically Supervised Detox

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are among several reputable organizations that endorse the appropriate use of medications during detox and to help people maintain their recovery.

Here are some of the many benefits of medically supervised detox:

  • Safe environment: Medically supervised detox occurs in a safe environment where participants will not have access to addictive substances. This eliminates the risk of immediate relapse.
  • Round-the-clock care: Throughout a person’s time in medically supervised detox, they receive constant care and monitoring from a team of skilled professionals. 
  • Evidence-based services: Medically supervised detox incorporates research-supported techniques and best practices. 
  • Compassionate support: The professionals who staff our detox program treat each client with dignity and compassion.

At Brentwood Springs Detox, we also offer customized aftercare services. This ensures that our clients are connected with the providers and resources that can help them achieve successful, long-term recovery.

Begin Medically Supervised Detox in Nashville, TN

If the pain of withdrawal has kept you trapped in active addiction, Brentwood Springs Detox can help. When you choose our detox program in Nashville, Tennessee, a team of experienced professionals will safeguard your health, ease your discomfort, and prepare you for successful recovery. We take the dangers of rapid detox out of the equation to help you focus solely on your healing journey. When you are ready, the Brentwood Springs Detox team is here for you. Visit our admissions page or contact us directly to get started.

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