Debunking the Myths Around Rapid Detox

By The Fix staff 03/21/18

Medically managing painful withdrawal symptoms can make starting recovery easier.

A bedroom at Domus Retreat

Imagine being able to skip most of the horrible symptoms of opioid withdrawal. What if someone offers you an option to enter a hospital while physically dependent on opioids and to receive treatment by board-certified physicians in your private room? In just a few days you can have this horrible physical dependence behind you. You might say it sounds almost too good to be true, but it is entirely possible.

Many people are skeptical about rapid detox because they heard or read something negative about it. Often, these negative comments are made by people who do not understand the difference between physical dependence and drug addiction, people who fear change or merely lack adequate information. People assume rapid detox is an unsafe procedure, or that it cuts corners on the road to recovery.

The Fix spoke with Clare Waismann, founder of The Waismann Method® Opioid Treatment Program, to address the most common misunderstandings and concerns about rapid detox.

Myth: Rapid detox is unsafe.
Reality: Rapid detox is a medical procedure. It takes place in an accredited hospital, which provides more medical assistance and recourses than most drug treatments available.

“The misconception is that this is an unsafe procedure,” says Waismann. However, when properly performed, in the right facility and with the appropriate inpatient length of time, rapid detox is as safe as any other medical procedure.

“Additionally, this detox is much more successful than the long and uncomfortable opioid detoxification methods used out there,” she says. “Like any other medical procedure, the safety of rapid detox is based on the experience and the responsible protocol the performing physician provides.”

At the Waismann Method®, patients are admitted to a private room of an accredited hospital for at least a day before anesthesia detox. They undergo a comprehensive medical examination, which may include blood work, kidney, liver, pancreas and thyroid analysis, chest X-Ray, EKG, and stress test when recommended. Patients also receive IV fluids, vitamins and electrolytes to flush the system of impurities. Furthermore, non-addictive medications are given to blunt the withdrawal response and keep patients comfortable.

“There needs to be a clear understanding of each patient’s medical history and current health status,” Waismann says. This information provides the medical staff the ability to tailor each detox to the patient. Being in a full-service hospital also gives them the ability to use different protocols, which is especially crucial for the elderly and medically complex patients, who otherwise could not safely undergo a detox.

The actual rapid detox procedure takes place in the intensive care unit of the hospital. An ICU allows additional medical resources and a higher level of care. Patients remain in the ICU from the second to the third day, when most are transferred to The Waismann Method’s exclusive recovery center, Domus Retreat.

Myth: All rapid detox programs are created equal.
Reality: Finding a reputable program is essential.

"Many of the misconceptions about the safety of rapid detox have also arisen because of clinics that do not provide sufficient safety resources, adequate facilities or enough inpatient care," Waismann says.

“There is a limit to how fast opioid treatment including rapid detox can be,” she says. Patients need to be carefully assessed and prepared for the procedure. They also need to be treated individually in an ICU of a full-service hospital, where resources are widely available. Once the receptors have been cleaned of opioids, their body needs to readjust. This regulation time takes a few days, and it can be emotionally and physically challenging. Having professionals around the clock to assist allows for a more comfortable, safe and successful rapid detoxification.

“Detoxing people, then sending them right home or to a hotel room is simply irresponsible,” Waismann says. “You cannot cut corners when you are dealing with a human being.”

Myth: Rapid detox involves general anesthesia
Reality: Rapid detox is done under sedation, which is safer and less invasive.

Many people think that rapid detox involves general anesthesia, but it is actually performed under sedation. Although they are both forms of anesthesia, sedation avoids many of the adverse effects and risks associated with general anesthesia. Additionally, with sedation patients maintain their natural physiological reflexes which allow them to breathe on their own.

More than a decade ago, rapid detox practitioners were using general anesthesia, which meant patients had to be intubated, but medicine evolved and so did rapid detox. Currently, The Waismann Method can accomplish the same end goal without compromising the comfort of the patient.

Myth: Rapid detox is a miracle cure.
Reality: Patients still need to put in hard work to get into recovery, but rapid detox can give them the best start.

Anyone who is looking for a quick-fix for addiction is bound to be disappointed. Addiction is a combination of behaviors, often caused by a form of distress. Rapid detox allows a patient to quickly and successfully overcome a withdrawal while medically supervised so that he or she can assess the root cause and focus on the emotional aspect of the addiction.

“Providing medical detox in a hospital is just the most humane and effective treatment for opioid withdrawal. Opioid physical dependence is a physiological disorder that is reversible and should be treated by physicians,” Waismann says.

Over 98 percent of people who enter the Waismann Method program are successfully detoxed. Furthermore, patients often feel encouraged by having this success under their belts, which is entirely different from the revolving door the treatment industry has created. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel gives people hope.

"We are committed to treating each patient as a unique individual,” Waismann says. “We take the time to listen to their stories, understand their feelings and provide treatment based on their needs. We can’t change their past, but we can provide them with freedom from opioid physical dependence and new hope for a healthy life."

Waismann Method® Rapid Detox is an opiate detoxification treatment program serving individuals from all over the world in their exclusive center in Southern California. Connect on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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