For intense physical dependence, inpatient medical detox is usually recommended, but outpatient medical detox can be appropriate in many cases.
With an outpatient detox program, you will visit the treatment facility for a few hours a day, but you will still continue to live outside the facility. Outpatient detox is more flexible than inpatient options.
Outpatient detox is best for people struggling with lower levels of drug dependence. Participants must have a stable, sober home environment. If they don’t, they can reside in a sober living home while they go through outpatient detox and treatment.
Detox helps to rebalance your brain and body physically after your system has become dependent on drugs.
It is not recommended to stop taking many drugs suddenly, or cold turkey, because cravings and withdrawal symptoms can be intense and sometimes even life-threatening.
Detox from alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines can be fatal, Psychology Today warns. Addiction to these substances should be first managed through a medical detox program.
With outpatient detox programs, you will spend a few hours every day at a facility where you receive therapy, counseling, medications, and supportive care in a safe environment. Detox typically lasts about five to seven days on average, and the process can start relatively soon after you stop taking drugs — often within a few hours.
Here are answers to some common questions about outpatient detox:
With an outpatient detox program, you will attend sessions for a few hours every day and return home at night. The amount of time you spend at a detox facility is typically related to the level of drug dependence you have and the intensity of your withdrawal symptoms.
While you are at the detox facility, you can be monitored and supervised. You will usually be evaluated to ensure that you are safe to return home. You will be guided through what to expect in terms of side effects and instructed on how to handle them.
Medications for drug dependence are often administered during detox to control cravings and mitigate withdrawal symptoms. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that medications for detox can be provided through both inpatient and outpatient programs.
On average, outpatient detox programs cost about $250 to $500 per day. This may or may not include the medications you need to manage your drug dependence. Additional services will usually cost extra.
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), substance abuse treatment services, including detox, are often covered (at least partially) by insurance. Generally, detox will need to be classified by a medical professional as “medically necessary” in order to be covered. Outpatient detox facilities often take insurance to cover some of the costs of services.
Outpatient detox costs a lot less than inpatient detox since you won’t stay on site overnight.
While exact prices will vary according to the medications you need and other services, expect to pay a lot less for outpatient detox versus inpatient detox.
The best way to know how much support you will need during detox is to talk to a medical professional and get an assessment. This way they can determine if you need any form of detox, and if you do, whether outpatient or inpatient medical detox is best for you.
A medical professional is the best recourse for helping you decide on what level of detox is going to be optimal and safest for you.
Detox is an important start to recovery, but it is only the first step, NIDA explains. It should always be paired with an addiction treatment program that can provide a host of services, both therapeutic and supportive, to encourage a long recovery.
Relapse is a common component of addiction with relapse rates averaging around 50 percent, NIDA reports. To minimize relapse, a complete addiction treatment program can provide you with coping skills and tools to manage cravings, recognize triggers, and make positive choices. Treatment builds on the foundation of detox to set a good basis for ongoing sobriety.