The 90%

“With careful screening, most alcohol treatment programs find that less than 10% of patients with alcohol withdrawal symptoms will need admission to an inpatient unit. It has been adequately demonstrated that ambulatory alcohol detoxification is safe and effective for mild to moderate detoxification.

There are several important advantages of ambulatory alcohol medical detoxification. Chief among these are that patients can continue to function in their home environment and remain at work. Total withdrawal time is less with ambulatory alcohol detoxification than with inpatient detoxification, and ambulatory detoxification has been shown to be as effective as inpatient programs in assuring continuity of care. Ambulatory detoxification can be done with fewer resources than inpatient and is considerably less costly. Real life dilemmas can be dealt with as patients are withdrawing which could potentially minimize denial and provide a better setting in which to devise strategies to resist relapse and maintain abstinence. Lastly, patients and their families are active participants during ambulatory alcohol detoxification, which provides them with a sense of responsibility and control.”

Abbott, P., Knox, L., & Quinn, D. (1995). Ambulatory medical detoxification for alcohol. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 21(4), 549-63.