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Indra Cidambi, M.D.

Ambulatory Detox Modality Delivers Better Results

As America succumbs to an addiction epidemic new treatment program presents hope

America’s addiction epidemic has taken on momentum calling for innovative treatment programs that can deliver higher efficacy. The cost of sticking to the status quo in terms of human lives is too great.

An Ambulatory Detox model offers patients an integrated approach that delivers a higher success rate at a lower cost, relative to the traditional inpatient model. Although not initially welcomed by the treatment community, this innovative approach to detoxing individuals off alcohol, benzodiazepines and opiates in an outpatient setting has proven to be effective. The hesitancy to welcome this novel treatment method is understandable; detoxification from alcohol and benzodiazepines had never been attempted on an outpatient basis due to risk of seizures and stroke, and, patients would be returning home at the end of treatment each day.

This model saves payers significant money when compared to inpatient detoxification. Although the length of stay at the detoxification level of care in the ambulatory detox setting is much longer than in an inpatient setting, the cost of care is far lower - by 40% - driven by eliminating the overnight stay. Ambulatory Detox delivers “nirvana” because, in the field of medicine, better outcomes usually come at a significantly higher cost.

By making adjustments, such as those listed below, to detox medication protocols and introducing innovative therapeutic approaches, including network therapy that drive better outcomes this course of treatment is very effective.

Individualized Treatment: Medication titration can be customized for each patient depending on the substance of choice, severity of use and other medications the patient is currently on. This ensures patient comfort and aids compliance.

Integration with home environment: The patient eventually has to learn to live in his or her home after treatment. Therapy is tailored to meet the patient’s specific home environment, so that the patient learns to cope with his/her specific living situation.

Family Involvement: The permanent support system for any patient is his or her loved ones. The focus is to involve them in treatment, with the patient’s consent. Family interventions assure the patient of an elevated level of support at home to maintain sobriety over the long-term.

Longer Length of Stay: Health insurance providers are able to extend stay, as ambulatory detox is more economical. Consequently, medication can be tapered more gently and patients are able to engage in therapy and start making lifestyle changes that contribute to sobriety.

The treatment community is now much more comfortable that ambulatory detox is a safe alternative to inpatient treatment.


About the Author

Indra Cidambi, M.D., is the founder and medical director of the Center for Network Therapy (CNT), New Jersey's first state licensed Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification care and treatment facility.


Recovery CNT