Rapid detox can be risky. Undergoing medical detox with support and supervision from professionals can be a better alternative to help you overcome addiction.

Rapid detox is a dangerous way to detox from opioids and is generally not recommended by most medical professionals. This form of detox typically involves being placed into a medically induced coma while your body goes through opioid detox at an accelerated rate. This process places a high amount of stress on your body and exposes you to increased risks.

What Is Rapid Detox?

Rapid detox is a newer form of opioid detox that is often considered to be less safe when compared to other detox options. Rapid detox involves being placed under anesthesia and undergoing an accelerated detox. While under anesthesia, a tube is placed down your throat into your lungs, and a machine breathes for you. You are given a medicine that rapidly reverses the effects of opioids, and your body undergoes several days’ worth of detox effects in 24–48 hours.

Rapid Detox vs. Medical Detox

Rapid detox can sometimes be confused with medical detox; however, the two are quite different. Rapid detox involves ICU monitoring and requires being put into a medically induced coma while withdrawing from opioids. 

Medical detox involves having a medical team follow your detox and provide you with treatments that help with the withdrawal symptoms you may experience. Medical detox supports your body’s natural detox rather than accelerating it.

Safety Concerns of Rapid Detox

While natural or medical opioid detox is rarely dangerous, rapid detox carries several dangers. Going under anesthesia for a prolonged period of time prevents you from being able to breathe on your own. This means that a ventilator will breathe for you. This equipment is highly specialized and can increase the risk of lung damage or infection. Additionally, an error can easily result in suffocation. The anesthesia used will often not be as closely monitored as it would be during a surgical procedure and will typically be provided in an ICU room instead of an operating suite with a surgical team.

In addition to the dangers of being put into a medically induced coma for a day or more, your body also undergoes much more stress. Medicine is given to accelerate detox, making symptoms more intense than they would be naturally. While being in a coma makes consciously experiencing these symptoms less likely, they can still place artificially intense stress on your body, increasing the risk of health problems.

Is Rapid Detox Effective?

While there are some safety concerns, rapid detox is generally effective at getting someone through detox. The effectiveness of rapid detox, however, does not last. Relapse rates are high when using rapid detox, and the likelihood of having to undergo detox multiple times is high.

One of the main reasons that rapid detox is thought to be less effective than medical detox is that medical detox emphasizes follow-up care and rehab. Rehab focuses on learning strategies for overcoming cravings and maintaining sobriety. Programs that focus solely on detox are likely to help someone come off of opioids but are unlikely to help the person stay off of them.

Benefits of Medical Detox

Medical detox has several benefits compared to rapid detox and self-detox without medical support. Medical detox is safer than rapid detox, avoiding the intense stresses that the process can place on the body and the dangers of prolonged anesthesia use. Medical detox also helps you be more comfortable than you would be detoxing by yourself, and medical professionals can recognize any potential detox-related dangers before they become serious.

While medical detox can provide the best balance of safety and comfort, it also helps you successfully complete the detox. During detox, it can be tempting to stop the process and begin using again. Medical detox simultaneously decreases the discomfort of detox and provides you with a team of professionals who can help support and encourage you during detox. Medical detoxes also provide transitional support into the next phase of recovery, helping you maintain freedom from addiction.

Learn More About Our Detox Services

Orlando Recovery Center offers a variety of withdrawal services tailored to meet your individual needs. We recognize the importance of getting to know our patients, digging deep into their addiction problems and aligning their habits with the detox program most likely to produce successful results. Our care for you will be based on years of research and experience coupled with a compassionate, supporting environment. We care about helping you achieve your best life and break free from the constraints of addiction. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.

Editor – Abby Doty
Abby Doty graduated from Hamline University in 2021 with a Bachelor's in English and Psychology. She has written and edited creative and literary work as well as academic pieces focused primarily on psychology and mental health. Read more
Medically Reviewed By – Benjamin Caleb Williams, RN
Benjamin Caleb Williams is a board-certified Emergency Nurse with several years of clinical experience, including supervisory roles within the ICU and ER settings. Read more

Gold, Carl G., et al. “Rapid Opioid Detoxification during Gener[…]f 20 Patients.” Anesthesiology, December 1999. Accessed October 13, 2022.

The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment. “What are the pros and cons of detoxifica[…]Rapid Detox)?” September 2013. Accessed October 13, 2022.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Deaths and Severe Adverse Events Associa[…]rk City, 2012.” September 27, 2013. Accessed October 13, 2022.

Forozeshfard, Mohammad, et al. “Six-Month Follow-Up Study of Ultrarapid […]th Naltrexone.” International Journal of High Risk Behaviors and Addiction, September 17, 2014. Accessed October 13, 2022.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.