For people that are physiologically dependent upon opiates, there is often a lot of fear around the concept of opiate detox. After all, many opiate abusers have tried this multiple times, and each time have endured severe physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms from opiate detox.
I admit that most of my website has been focused on home opiate detox.
Here is my reasoning for this:
I feel like there is already a lot of great info online about the professional types of detox, and there is a big shortage of valuable tips for getting off opiates at home. However, in the spirit of being “well-rounded,” I felt like it would be helpful to provide you with a “menu” of the four primary methods of professional opiate detoxification.
Home detox isn’t for everyone, so if you’re not comfortable getting off opiates by yourself, you may wish to consider enrolling in professional treatment.
The categories I will be covering include:
Medical Opiate Detoxification, Rapid Opiate Detoxification, Ultra Rapid Opiate Detoxification, and Outpatient Opiate Detoxification.
Here is a comprehensive list of the main features of each detox method…
Table of Contents
1. Medical Opiate Detox
- Different facilities offer varying treatment protocols, including medications used, length of treatment, and other factors.
- Most Opiate Detox facilities will treat your opiate withdrawal symptoms with medications.
- You’re overseen by doctors, and often times patients will spend a few days in detox, then transfer to inpatient rehab (this is common but not always the case).
- Allows the patient to be closely monitored throughout the process and given appropriate medication to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms.
- Typically costs thousands of dollars, though many insurance plans cover the cost or at least a portion of it.
- Only treats the acute opiate withdrawal symptoms, and does nothing to combat Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS).
2. Rapid Opiate Detox
- Opiate Withdrawal occurs while patients are asleep under general anesthesia.
- The patient is given IV injections of medications called opiate blockers such as naltrexone, naloxone, and nalmephine, and physical detoxification is achieved within 4 to 8 hours.
- A patient is also given IV injections of muscle relaxants, anti-nausea medications, and other drugs to relieve symptoms.
- Rapid Opiate Detox takes place in an intensive care unit of a hospital, and the patients are typically discharged within 48 hours following recovery from anesthesia and assessment of their physical status.
- Can cost many thousands of dollars, and insurance may or may not cover this option.
- Only treats the acute opiate detox symptoms, and does nothing to combat PAWS.
3. Ultra Rapid Opiate Detox
- Patients are placed under general anesthesia (medically-induced coma) and doctors administer the opiate blocker naltrexone, which blocks all of their endorphin receptors.
- The withdrawal is an accelerated process, pushing them into 100% detoxification within a 5-30 minute period.
- Insurance companies don’t pay for this type of treatment, and it is very expensive out of pocket (sometimes over $20,000).
- Only treats the acute opiate detox symptoms, and doesn’t help with PAWS.
- This method can be very hard on the body for some individuals.
- The quickest way to eliminate opiate dependence.
4. Outpatient Opiate Detox
- Typically safe and effective for individuals who are more likely to have mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, rather than severe symptoms.
- Can be accomplished with a variety of medications such as buprenorphine-naloxone, buprenorphine alone, clonidine alone, or clonidine combined with naltrexone.
- Some methadone clinics have a 21-Day Detox Program to choose for individuals wanting to quit opiates and not stay on methadone long-term.
- Patients get to live at home and visit the Outpatient facility at varied intervals depending on the program.
- Typically costs a couple of hundred dollars to $1,000 or more depending on the medications prescribed and the treatment program.
- The least intrusive opiate detox method to an individual’s life.
- Only treats acute symptoms, and does nothing for PAWS.
Best way to Detox from Opiates
I’m often asked what the best way to detox from opiates is. In my opinion, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all “best way.” Depending on a variety of factors, different detox methods may resonate with and work better for certain individuals.
For this reason, I believe it’s very important to do as much research as possible before choosing an opiate detox protocol.
That way you can make a well-informed decision about how you will safely and effectively transition off opiates.