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Medical Clearance for Substance Abuse Treatment


What is medical clearance for a substance abuse treatment program?

Medical clearance for a substance abuse treatment program is a medical exam to make sure that the patient's symptoms are not caused by a medical condition. Healthcare providers will provide any necessary treatment to prevent or relieve withdrawal symptoms. They will also check for any medical conditions that may cause problems during detoxification or rehabilitation so they can be treated.

What tests may be needed to medically clear a patient for a substance abuse treatment program?

The healthcare provider will ask if the patient takes medicine or has any health conditions. He will ask if the patient has a history of substance abuse. He will check the patient's blood pressure and heart rate. The patient may need any of the following:

  • A mental exam checks the patient's awareness and memory. The healthcare provider will ask the patient if he knows his name, his location, and the date.
  • A neurological exam checks the patient's vision, sensation, reflexes, and muscle function.
  • An EKG records the patient's heart rate.
  • Blood and urine tests check for infection, test kidney and liver function, or get information about the patient's overall health. Healthcare providers may also check drug or alcohol levels.
  • An x-ray takes pictures of the patient's chest to check for infection in the lungs.

When should you or the patient contact his healthcare provider?

  • You or the patient has questions or concerns about his condition or care.

When should you or the patient seek immediate care?

  • The patient has trouble breathing.
  • The patient has tremors or a seizure.
  • The patient is depressed, violent, or has thoughts of suicide.
  • The patient has a fever or a fast heart rate.
  • The patient is severely irritable, agitated, or anxious.
  • The patient is confused or has hallucinations.
  • The patient is extremely drowsy or cannot be woken up.
  • The patient has nausea or vomiting that does not go away.

Care Agreement

Patients have the right to help plan their care. To help with this plan, patients must learn about their health condition, how it may be treated, and when care is needed. Treatment options should be discussed with healthcare providers. Patients and healthcare providers can work together to decide what care may be best. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.