Is Ambulatory Detox a Good Option for Me?

Published On: February 27, 2024|Categories: Addiction Treatment|
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Addiction recovery is a process that should not be taken lightly – it involves a complete healing of mind and body in a journey that is slow and intentional. For this reason, all aspects of recovery need to be considered to determine the program to best meet your needs.

For some people, this means extensive inpatient/residential treatment with close supervision and medical care designed to positively reorient lives. For others, treatment requirements may be less intense, and ambulatory detox may be the best option. 

Treatment for withdrawal and detox

Rehab facilities each have their unique treatment programs designed to help their clients set and meet their recovery goals. Typically, programs will look similar to an initial detox followed by either further inpatient or outpatient services. 

Treatment facilities must provide personalized treatment plans because each individual’s experience with addiction is different. Some may suffer from acute withdrawal symptoms, while others may have less aggressive signs. Some may need a lot of personal support within the treatment center itself, while others may have a strong system at home.


Detox is the process by which the body rids itself of all the illicit chemicals and toxins in its systems. Detox occurs when substance intake stops, giving the body a chance to cleanse itself and reset its systems. It is the first step in recovery and, if completed effectively, it sets the stage for the remainder of the detox process. It can be viewed as the part of recovery where the physical body receives crucial healing.


Detox is difficult and not recommended to be done alone at home as withdrawal symptoms can be acute, severe and, in some situations, life-threatening. Withdrawal is what occurs when the body goes into shock, essentially, as a result of no longer receiving the chemicals it had come to rely on. 

Which withdrawal symptoms present is somewhat dependent on the substances abused, but common withdrawal symptoms generally include: 

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings, including increased irritability and depression 
  • Trouble focusing, confusion and/or delusions
  • Fatigue and insomnia 
  • GI upset, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Muscle shakes and pain 
  • Tremors
  • Sweating 
  • Fever and chills
  • Headaches

The benefit of seeking a detox program is that it allows you to experience withdrawal with appropriate symptom management as a result of proper planning and medication management designed to ease the severity of symptoms and increase overall recovery success.

Types of detox

There are two differing types of detox – inpatient and ambulatory – which give individuals that personalized treatment program to benefit their recovery. 

Inpatient detox programs involve a residential stay. They provide you with 24/7 care and supervision, medical monitoring and constant support from treatment staff. Inpatient detox is often the preferred detox option for those who have a long history of addiction, who have attempted to detox before without success and who are more prone to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. 

Ambulatory detox is a much more flexible option of detox that gives you the ability to maintain everyday routines while still ensuring proper treatment. Ambulatory detox does not require participants to take up residence in the treatment facility, as those in ambulatory detox typically do not have an advanced addiction, nor are they at risk for severe withdrawal symptoms.

Ambulatory detox benefits participants by allowing them to go through detox while maintaining their job, living at home and, for the most part, sticking to their normal routine. This can be highly beneficial, especially if their support system at home is willing to walk with their loved one through recovery.

Is ambulatory detox right for me?

When choosing the right detox program, your recovery goals, addiction history and current mental and physical health levels all need to be taken into consideration. Because ambulatory detox is less supervised and more flexible, certain criteria need to be met to ensure success.

Social support 

Inpatient detox includes a team of medical and mental health professionals checking in repeatedly. While you have support at the treatment facility, you won’t be spending the entirety of your detox there (most of it will be spent at home), meaning you need a strong support system and a healthy home environment where your recovery is encouraged, not put at risk. 

If you have friends and family who will provide this solid backbone during detox, ambulatory detox may be a good option. 

A moderate addiction history

Those with long histories of addiction, failed attempts at previous detox and underlying mental health conditions/co-occurring disorders are not good candidates for ambulatory detox. Ambulatory detox better benefits those who have not been abusing for long and have not consumed high, dangerous doses of alcohol or opioids frequently.

The more mild the addiction, the less necessary inpatient care becomes.

Mild withdrawal

If you stop drinking or using drugs and you only experience mild or moderate withdrawal symptoms, full inpatient care may not be necessary. Ambulatory detox is a viable option for those who undergo mild discomfort and do not require medical monitoring as a result of severe withdrawal. 

Seeking the benefits of ambulatory detox?

If you desire detox but want the freedom of maintaining your normal routine at home and work, consider ambulatory detox. Pyramid Healthcare is pleased to offer such programs at our addiction recovery facilities near you in Ohio

To learn more, contact us by calling 937-637-1860 or by contacting us online to get in touch with a mental health professional today.

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