Ambulatory Detoxification


If you or someone you love has been using drugs or alcohol frequently and in large amounts, it may not be safe to stop using “cold turkey.” While some people may not have used a substance to a degree that they will experience withdrawals, others may have used a substance or multiple substances to the point that their body depends on the substance to feel normal and they will experience withdrawals. 

Withdrawals are symptoms people experience as their bodies re-adapt to functioning without the substance. This process is known as detoxification or detox for short.  While detoxing from a drug or alcohol, people will experience symptoms of withdrawals which vary depending on the substance or substances use, the amount use, and the frequency of use. This can range from chills, nausea, and tremors to serious and life-threatening symptoms like seizures.

To safely stop using a substance, you or your loved one should be evaluated by a qualified professional like the ones on our staff. They will talk with you about your use and help you decided which detox option is best for your unique needs. There are outpatient treatment settings like the Recovery institute and inpatient facilities for people who need 24/7 medical support during their detox.

Is Ambulatory Detoxification Right for You?

The New Century Behavioral Health Services offers ambulatory detoxification meaning that you walk into the clinic on your scheduled days for medication, sit for monitoring as needed, and then return to your home or work as normal until your next visit. The medications help to make withdrawal symptoms less severe.

Before beginning treatment, you will need to meet with our licensed healthcare providers to decide if ambulatory detoxification is right for you based on your individual needs. If ambulatory detoxification is not the best fit for you, we will refer you to a provider to ensure you receive the best possible care for you particular needs.

Our providers will discuss factors like what substances you use, how long and how much you have used, if you have any physical health or mental health conditions, if you have a safe place to go to with supportive people, if you have children depending on you for care, and what previous withdrawals have been like for you. You will also need to have a drug screen and, for women, a pregnancy test. This is not punitive and is to confirm what substances are present in your system.

Sometimes, illicit drugs can be mixed or ‘laced’ with other substances and it can be hard to know exactly what you have used. Finding out exactly what substances are present will help your provider make the best decision for medications to support ambulatory detoxification. 

If a pregnant woman is using drugs or alcohol, there is a significant risk to the fetus from the drugs or alcohol and also from the withdrawal symptoms. It is important to make sure that the providers know about any pregnancies to make sure that the best care is given.

Our onsite lab will complete both the drug screens and the pregnancy tests. We’re not here to judge you but rather get the information we need to give you the care that is exactly right for you.

Symptoms Avoided Through Ambulatory Detoxification

Many people struggling with addiction have experienced some withdrawal symptoms during times when they have not been able to get their substance of choice or when trying to stop using. It can be a painful and frightening process with symptoms such as tremors, increased heart rate, nausea, vomiting, and intense pain.

We understand that the prospect of withdrawals can impact a person’s decision to start the recovery process and our providers will be happy to discuss your concerns. We know that humane and safe detox can sometimes call for medical intervention to minimize the discomfort and risks of withdrawals. If you need to be monitored on site after you get your medication, you can relax in a quiet room in one of our recliners while watching TV. Qualified staff will be available to assist you if you need more support.

Detoxification is the first step towards recovery and it does not replace substance abuse treatment. It is a part of a comprehensive treatment model to address the physical aspects of stopping using a substance or substances so that you or your loved one can focus on addressing the addiction and changing the behavior.

For lasting sobriety and recovery, detox and withdrawal management should be combined with other treatment options like the counseling and therapeutic services offered at the Recovery Institute.

The above information was taken from SAMHSA’s Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment and the ASAM Standards of Care.