General Question

talljasperman's avatar

Can one go into a medically induced coma for three months to stop smoking or to sober up?

Asked by talljasperman (18256 points ) January 24th, 2014

Just long enough to kick the desire out of the body. Maybe it would work for other things, like alcoholism or heroin addiction.

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12 Answers

Seek's avatar

Wouldn’t work.

Smoking is a psychological addiction just as much as, if not more than, a physical one.

Waking up after three months in a coma would be no different than waking up after a night’s sleep. And most smokers I know are jonesing for one first thing in the morning.

Judi's avatar

My mother in law has had long hospitalizations where she has gone months without alcohol but once she gets back to her apartment she drinks again. There has to be a will to quit as well as detox.

zenvelo's avatar

That would be doing a geographic* without getting the frequent flier miles. Coma for three months, you wake up and you’re the same person, just three months older.

* A “geographic” is moving to get away from all of one’s problems, when in reality all the problems are part of one’s own personality.

Seek's avatar

Also, my mom used to work for a rapid detox center at a local hospital.

They’d basically fill the people with methadone and valium, and do whatever chemical magic they had to do to clean them out, then release them. Whole project took about three days, and cost $25,000.

The place was a revolving door for rich drug addicts. Never lasted.

The place closed down in less than five years.

jca's avatar

Why would one want to subject themselves to 3 months of anesthesia in order to kick these habits? I know both are awful habits, but 3 months in a medically induced coma with no guarantee of the outcome is a tough sell. People have surgery and are affected for days afterward, for just an hour or a few hours of anesthesia. Imagine after 3 months? People wake up from comas and sometimes are never the same.

JLeslie's avatar

Rapid detox is the only thing I have ever heard of that is similar to this idea. From what I understand it has a lot of risks, but withdrawing has risks anyway. They don’t do it for smokers, the withdrawal isn’t violent enough and they would just smoke again when they woke up. Although, as @Seek_Kolinahr said, it seems like most addicts eventually g back to it that go through this method. I didn’t know that, I do know most addicts don’t quit forever the first time they quit. Something like 95% start using again. But, there has to be a first time for there to be a second. Addictions like heroin are especially horrible to withdraw from, but many addictions are pretty horrible when you quit. Alcohol, cocaine, narcotics, not fun at all, and dangerous.

CWOTUS's avatar

Let’s assume that it’s possible, at least theoretically.

Do you have any idea of the cost of care for 3 months of a totally dependent patient? This is round the clock, fully institutionalized, 100% care. Let’s say, just for kicks, that you could do this in a place with such low cost, such as Cuba, for example, that the cost per day could be even (theoretically) manageable, like $1000 per day. Can you afford the $90 thou? (And would you want to be on 100% life support… in Cuba… for three months?)

Aside from the cost, there’s the risk. Putting a patient into a medically-induced coma has inherent risk. There are no guarantees that you can reverse the procedure, or that you can do it without significant loss of brain or body function. So the risk is like life-and-death. (And it’s imminent life-threatening situations that prompt doctors to consider this procedure in the first place.)

No responsible doctor would sign off on and participate in this process for this reason.

johnpowell's avatar

I’m a smoker and a alcoholic. Say if this could actually work and I would lose three months of my life to break both addictions I would do it in a second.

JLeslie's avatar

@johnpowell That’s some statement. You would be willing to lose three months. I think that demonstrates just how difficult it is to be addicted. Do you drink now? Or, you are sober and just want the desire to go away?

It makes me think of how depressed people use electric shock. That just takes a minute, but they lose the last few months of memory usually. At least some loss of memory.

johnpowell's avatar

I drink and I fucking hate it. And I love it so much. It is rough.

JLeslie's avatar

@johnpowell That must be very difficult. One day you will kick it. It does suck that our mind and body can do that to us.

jeremy0207's avatar

I’m going to be honest. I doubt there’s anything you can do to stop your addictions rather than dealing with them yourself. You have to help yourself on this one. The way I see it, no one can help you. Only YOU can help yourself to quit. You have to put the time and effort into this if you want to quit, and IF you truly want to quit, I’m sure you will find motivation that will help you out.

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