Intensive psychiatric and medical services for patients with severe addictions:

Medically Assisted Detoxification Guidelines in the In-Patient Setting


Also known as Detoxification is a set of interventions aimed at managing acute intoxication and withdrawal. Detoxification seeks to minimize the physical harm caused by the abuse of substances. It is a process composed of three main essential components: evaluation, stabilization, and fostering patient readiness for the entry into treatment. Detoxification alone is not sufficient in the treatment and rehabilitation of substance use disorders.

The medical model of detoxification

It is characterized by the use of physicians and nursing staff and the administration of medication to assist people through withdrawal safely.

Clinical Manifestations that require immediate medical attention

  • Change in mental status
  • Increasing anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Temperature greater than 38 C degree (these patients should be considered potentially infectious)
  • Significant increases and/or decreases in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Upper and lower gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Changes in responsiveness of pupils
  • Heightened deep tendon reflexes and ankle clonus, indicating profound central nervous system irritability and the potential for seizures