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Rapid Detox, a First Step in Recovery, Not a Replacement for Recovery

Rapid detox, or ultra rapid detox, should only be the initial part of the recovery process, to always be followed by extensive psycho-social counseling, therapies and life habit-changing arrangement. Without these follow-up steps, there is chance for relapse. Rapid detox only stops the physical addiction, without putting the patients through the torture of feeling the withdrawal process, but it does not address the psychological and social underpinning of the addiction. The patient must get psycho-social counseling and realignment therapies following rapid detox. With Rapid Detox, patients can enter the long recovery process without the bulk of the suffering from physical withdrawal. In this context, it is an advantageous first step, because it quickly achieves significant reduction in addiction and physical withdrawal if performed correctly. It does not require super-human will power or tolerance for the physical withdrawal process that may last 5 to 10 days. Without Rapid Detox, patients may be dissuaded from even trying, or they may not even be able to sit through counseling sessions due to the evolving physical withdrawal.

As a board-certified anesthesiologist with 19 years of clinical experience, especially with constant exposures to both pain management and cardiac anesthesia, I have come to appreciate some finer points of the techniques of rapid detox. We perform what I believe to be a more advanced rapid detox technique at our center, For example, we keep patients under anesthesia and receiving intravenous naloxone for at least 8 hours, longer than any other treatment center (they do between 2 to 4 hours). This works better because the displaced opiate molecules, away from the opiate receptors, still needs time to be eliminated by the liver and kidneys, a process that cannot be accelerated, requiring at least 8 hours. This and many other variations in technique and expertise among rapid detox treatment centers make it difficult for scholars to compare the efficacy and safety between rapid detox and other methods.

Since the central nervous system is the site where most of the competitive inhibition takes place between the naloxone molecules and the opiate molecules, it makes sense to monitor the brain. That is why in our treatment, we monitor the brain's electro-encephalogram (EEG) and cerebral oximetry (rSO2) continuously to ensure adequate and appropriate anesthetic depth and optimal brain oxygenation and perfusion. These are techniques adopted from my parallel practice as a cardiac anesthesiologist providing service to open-heart surgeries. It is essential to monitor the patients as if they are undergoing major surgeries. Being over-prepared and being over-cautious are  very important in creating a safe rapid detox process.

During a patients' first 36 hour stay in our program, we never have fewer than 1 person dedicated to staying with the patient, by the bed-side, at all time. Not only is it always at least one-on-one, but often two-on-one. This is important not just to take care of the patient's comfort needs, but also to provide constant and compassionate care with immediate human responsiveness. This and the above features separate us from all other rapid detox clinics.              

Thomas Yee, MD  

Medical Director,

Board-certified by American Board of Anesthesiology (1994) and American Board of Pain Medicine (1997)

Las Vegas Rapid Detox Medical Clinic                  800-276-7021