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An out-patient alcohol detoxification service based in a psychiatric emergency clinic is described. Of 173 patients referred during the first year, 76 (44%) were accepted for the programme; 60 (79%) of these successfully completed detoxification with no medical complications. Compared with previous years, during the year of operation of the service there was a 50% fall in the number of in-patient admissions for detoxification to the local hospital. We conclude that a structured out-patient detoxification programme is safe and effective, and may obviate the need for many patients to be admitted, freeing psychiatric beds for other uses.


Journal article


Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date





871 - 874


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Alcoholism, Ambulatory Care, Counseling, Diazepam, Emergency Service, Hospital, Female, Humans, London, Male, Middle Aged, Prognosis, Psychiatric Department, Hospital