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How To Get Started With Outpatient Detox And What To Expect (Part 4 of 4)

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We know that a safe and successful detox requires an methodical approach – one where we can anticipate symptoms and treat before they become uncomfortable or dangerous.

The first step is for the patient to call Ms. Alessandra Parisi at INTER-CARE: (212) 532-5804.  She will complete a phone screening to determine if a patient is a candidate for outpatient detoxification.  This half-hour interview – which covers various aspects of both a medical and mental health history – is specifically designed to identify potential problems that a patient may face during the detox process.  Some medical conditions are “red flags” (e.g. unstable heart disease or a history of alcohol withdrawal seizures) indicating an increased risk of complications.  Such patients are not candidates for outpatient detox and will be referred for treatment in a hospital setting.

If a patient is a good candidate for outpatient detox, a series of laboratory tests will be ordered (a requisition is sent to a local lab) and the results obtained prior to the patient’s visit with the physician.  In addition, certain vitamins will be prescribed (including Thaimine, Folic Acid, etc.) to help avoid any complications during detox.

The patient will be instructed to abstain from use for a specific number of hours prior to the first visit with the physician.  This time interval will depend on the substance being abused (e.g. 8 hours for alcohol and 24 hours for opiates).  In this manner, the patient will present in an early stage of withdrawal, allowing the physician to determine, through a history and physical examination as well as the use of standardized withdrawal assessment instruments (such as a CIWA or COWS score), the appropriateness of this level of care for a given patient.  Patients with very elevated scores – indicating severe withdrawal symptoms – are referred to a hospital-based detox because of the risk of complications.  Those with no withdrawal symptoms will simply be observed until such symptoms develop.  If they do not, the patient will be admitted for standard outpatient treatment.  Only those in mild to moderate withdrawal will be admitted to the outpatient detox program.

For more information about INTER-CARE's Outpatient Detox Services, click here.
To make an appointment or to learn more about our services, please contact Ali Parisi at (212) 532-5804 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.