Anesthesia assisted detoxification has a long history, dating back more than 40 years. Although numerous doctors around the world offer detoxification under anesthesia, very few offer the proper research, advances, and adequate safety protocols.
What is Detox Under Sedation or Anesthesia Detox?
Using an antagonist to induce and speed an opioid withdrawal was first introduced in the early 1970′s. The idea was that an antagonist such as naloxone would bind to the receptors and rapidly push off the opiates, creating a precipitated withdrawal. Furthermore, the antagonist would block the opioids from further attaching, producing euphoric effects, and best of all, it would limit physical cravings.
The History of Anesthesia Detox – Earlier Protocols
Various protocols of “rapid” or “ultra rapid” opiate detoxification (ROD or UROD) have been developed since 1988 when Dr. Loimer first reported his “ultra rapid” technique of detox under sedation. The idea to rapidly induce detoxification while blocking the severe symptoms of opiate withdrawal was magical. Accelerated methods using high levels of antagonist drugs provided a shortened duration of acute withdrawal. Therefore lasting only a few hours, in contrast to several days.
Later in time, anesthesia was added to the protocol, which made it much more appealing to patients, but it also increased risks. A significant concern about this medical detox was the safety of placing patients under general anesthesia when opioid addiction and co-morbid conditions were present. However, studies in 1999 showed that even patients with co-morbid depression could successfully complete the detoxification without adverse outcomes or specific drug interactions.
Risks and Benefits
The benefit of detox under sedation when performed responsibly by experienced doctors and in an accredited hospital, is that it dramatically minimizes withdrawal symptoms. Also, the procedure results in 100% detoxification rates, which in itself, was a great medical discovery. In other words, while under anesthesia, the patient is not subject to the painful withdrawal symptoms so they complete detoxification. Also, cravings are almost non-existent.
Anesthesia Assisted Detox Centers
Even though the opioid crisis led to enormous growth in the number of drug treatment facilities, they are not all as reliable and responsible as they should. That rule is especially true to anesthesia assisted detoxification providers. Different anesthesia detox centers advertise overnight miracles, two days treatment, painless detox, and other not-so-realistic promises. They also refer to the procedure as:
- Rapid detox
- Anesthesia detox
- Accelerated detox
- Rapid drug-detox
- Medically-assisted detox
- Anesthesia assisted rapid detox
- Detox under anesthesia
- Rapid opiate detox
- Ultra-rapid detox
- Waismann Method® (one exclusive location worldwide)
The Use of General Anesthesia Versus Sedation
The anesthesia assisted rapid opiate detoxification has evolved tremendously since its inception. The first studies on the history of rapid detox were published in the literature in 1977 by Richard B. Resnick MD. Modern anesthesia has made it safer and more effective. Most patients experience very few symptoms from anesthesia after the procedure is over. Today, there are two types of anesthesia-assisted detoxification – general anesthesia and sedation.
Many inexperienced rapid detox centers are still using general anesthesia to put the patient “to sleep” during the procedure. During general anesthesia, doctors usually insert a breathing tube to help the patient breathe; this tube might be used for 2-6 hours and requires the patient to receive large doses of anesthesia to tolerate the discomfort that the tube could cause. This form of detoxification carries additional risks and troubles that are unnecessary to reach an opioid detoxification
Detox Under Sedation
Sedation is a form of anesthesia, but it is quite different from general anesthesia. While sedation spares the patient from experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms as well as general anesthesia, sedation does not require a breathing tube. Furthermore, detoxification under sedation is much safer than the old protocols with general anesthesia, and they also have less post-treatment side effects.
Waismann Method® Opioid Detox
Waismann Method® has been the leading provider of opioid detox under sedation. Patients are admitted to a private room of a full-service accredited hospital at least a day before the detox. This extra time allows for a comprehensive medical evaluation, in-depth understanding of each patient’s unique tolerance and response to key medications, and adequate pre-treatment preparation for smoother detoxification.
Additionally, Waismann Detox™ under sedation occurs in a private room of the intensive care unit (ICU) and is closely monitored by our quadruple board-certified medical director, Dr.Michael H. Lowenstein. Unlike other less qualified centers, there is no preset time or rush to discharge, and the patient need not finish the recovery phase in a strange hotel room. Patients stay at our exclusive Domus Retreat recovery center.
What Happens After Rapid Detox Under Anesthesia?
Even though anesthesia detox allows patients to achieve complete opioid detoxification, they will still experience a period of physical and emotional regulation. When professionals appropriately assist this transitional phase, it can be smooth and successful. When family members try to diagnose and control symptoms, things can escalate in the wrong direction rapidly.
With the Waismann Method® rapid detox under sedation, we take our jobs and our responsibility to each individual very seriously. We understand that there are no miracle cures, but there surely is a responsible and effective medical treatment for opioid use disorder. We are proud to provide the safest and best detox under anesthesia for over two decades. Our reputation stands on the success and well being of our patients, and we have an exemplary one.
Please be sure to read these rapid detox myths.