What is a Detox Program?
A detox program is a treatment plan that helps people to deal with the physical and mental effects of withdrawal. Oftentimes, withdrawal involves very unpleasant side effects that, if not properly treated, can lead people to using drugs or alcohol again in order to feel better. In some cases, withdrawal can even pose a danger to your health. Detox programs utilize medications to give you relief from these symptoms, and prevent any life-threatening situations. Most detox programs are inpatient programs, which means that patients are required to stay at the facility 24 hours a day. Ambulatory programs, on the other hand, are administered as outpatient treatments. This is what makes them different from other detox programs.
What Should I Expect at Ambulatory Detox?
Ambulatory detox care is usually given by a variety of addiction specialists, including doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and behavioral health specialists like therapists or counselors. These programs usually fall within two different program types. The first involves going to scheduled appointments at a clinic or doctor’s office to receive care. These visits are usually short, and may be daily or just a few days a week. The other type of ambulatory detox are day programs, which involve going to a clinic, hospital, or other facility for the entire day and returning home at night. These programs typically offer more robust services than the latter option, including counseling, therapy, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment, or MAT. Some even offer 24-hour care if you find that you need additional support outside of your normal visiting hours.
The biggest advantage of an ambulatory detox program is that it gives clients the freedom to still go home every day. This means that you can still participate in your normal life, including caring for children or family members, holding down a job, or going to school. An ambulatory detox program is also typically far less expensive than an inpatient detox program, which makes it more easily affordable for people who do not have insurance coverage for detox.
As with other types of addiction treatment programs, ambulatory detox is not right for everyone. It is best suited to people who will have mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms; more severe withdrawal symptoms are best monitored and treated at inpatient detox programs. You may also not be a good candidate for an ambulatory program if you have other medical conditions that may be made worse by withdrawal. Other factors that may make inpatient treatment more appropriate include previously attending detox or rehab programs, an unstable housing situation, pregnancy, or serious medical conditions like a seizure disorder or existing serious mental health conditions.
What Should I Look For in an Ambulatory Detox Program?
The first and most important aspect of finding the right ambulatory detox program is ensuring it is close to your home. If it is difficult to get to the facility via public transportation, or requires a long commute, you may find yourself tempted to skip treatment days. The symptoms of withdrawal can come and go, so being able to go to your treatment facility both during your appointment times and when you need additional care is going to be essential to ensuring you complete the program. The program you attend should also be staffed by addiction specialists, including a board-licensed physician that is able to prescribe the medications used in detox programs.
Many people find the lower cost and greater flexibility of ambulatory detox to be more appealing over inpatient programs. Because you are still able to return home every day, you can still take care of any responsibilities you may have that cannot be ignored. However, ambulatory detox is not for everyone. If you are going to be in positions where there is a serious risk of temptation to use drugs or alcohol again, whether from enablers in the home or continuing drug-use triggers, inpatient detox may be a more effective option for you. Outpatient detox requires a strong support network to help keep you on track and accountable for your recovery.
If you are struggling with an addiction, but cannot take yourself away from responsibilities at home for an extended period of time, ambulatory detox may be just the program you are looking for. Contact WAVE Treatment Centers to learn more about this program, and let us help you decide if it is the right treatment path for you.