Because older detoxification techniques were often painful and unsuccessful, addiction medicine researchers wanted a better approach. By the 1980s, these researchers pioneered the Anesthesia Detox. This treatment method has many names and variations, including:

The Truth About Anesthesia Detox

Anesthesia Detox involves putting the patient to sleep on a ventilator, which breathes for them. Then you administer an opioid antagonist (Naltrexone) to push all of the opioid drugs out of the brain extremely rapidly. The patient should wake up feeling happy that the drugs were gone and their detox was over. The idea was for the person to sleep during the most severe withdrawal symptoms. In truth, when they woke up from the rapid detox under sedation, they felt horrible. Their brain hadn't healed much at all. They were often highly agitated, confused, delirious, and delusional. In some cases, patients needed to be strapped to their beds for their safety. The patient's body systems were under great stress.  
UNDERSTANDING ACCELERATED OPIOID DETOX     In one study, individuals treated with Ultra-Rapid Detox:
  1. Showed no better resistance against relapse
  2. Had a much higher occurrence of negative effects
  3. Had even greater discomfort than other detox options
This treatment method could be even more dangerous given other potential risk factors such as:
  • Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders: Individuals with underlying mental health disorders might experience exacerbated symptoms during or after the procedure.
  • Allergic Reactions: Allergies to anesthesia medications or other substances used in the procedure could lead to severe complications.
  • Anesthesia Sensitivity: Some individuals might have an unusual sensitivity to anesthesia drugs, making them more prone to complications.
  • Anesthesia Side Effects: Anesthesia carries inherent risks, such as breathing problems, allergic reactions, or adverse reactions to medications.
  • Unpredictable Withdrawal Response: The exact response to anesthesia-assisted detox or Ultra-Rapid Detox can vary between individuals, potentially leading to unexpected outcomes.
  • Substance Use History: A long history of substance use disorder can complicate anesthesia administration and increase the chances of adverse reactions.
  • Liver or Kidney Dysfunction: Impaired liver or kidney function can affect the metabolism and elimination of anesthesia drugs, leading to potential complications.
  • Respiratory Issues: Those with respiratory problems, like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), could face difficulties during the procedure.
  • Cardiovascular Risks: Ultra-Rapid Detox involves stress on the cardiovascular system, which can be dangerous for individuals with heart conditions.
There were no fatalities in our program. But other physicians performing Anesthesia-Assisted Detox procedures have had a number of patients who didn't survive it.

A Safer, Faster, and Better Way to Detox Off of Opioids

In that era, Anesthesia Detox or Sedation Detox was the best treatment addiction medicine experts could offer. But now, there is a safer alternative to Anesthesia Detox. In fact, the Coleman Institute has not performed an opioid detox using anesthesia since 2001. In 2001 we developed a greatly improved rapid detoxification treatment—our Accelerated Outpatient Detoxification. This rapid detox treatment process is a much safer and gentler way of getting people off of opioids. To accomplish this, our Accelerated Outpatient Detox:
  • Spread the process out over 3-4 days (depending on the substance you are detoxing off of)
  • Uses specialized comfort medications
  • Does not use anesthesia
With these considerations in place, we were able to make the withdrawal process (aka detoxification) much more comfortable and safer. An Accelerated Detox at the Coleman Institute seeks to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Plus, approximately 98% of our patients have completed their detoxification and have started on Naltrexone therapy. Naltrexone is a non-addictive opioid blocker that reduces cravings and helps reduce the risk of relapse. Naltrexone gives patients some support so they can focus on building the health needed for long-term recovery. We currently offer long-lasting Naltrexone as an injection (Vivitrol) or as an implant that slowly dissolves under the skin.

An Improved Opioid Detox Process

Our patients have loved this improved, next-generation detoxification process. We've had many patients undergo a dangerous Anesthesia Detox elsewhere, and then come to us for our safer Accelerated Outpatient Detox. They have consistently told us that the Coleman Institute’s opioid withdrawal management process is a much better experience. They were grateful and extremely happy to be drug-free through this improved detoxification process. The Coleman Institute's Accelerated Outpatient Detox is a generation ahead of Anesthesia Detox. If you or a loved one are looking for an alternative to a Sedation Detox or Anesthesia Detox, we can help. Schedule a callback below to learn about your Accelerated Outpatient Detox options. Peter R. Coleman, MD