What is the Intake Process?

August 19, 2020

3 min read

When you see a new doctor for the first time, the first appointment almost always begins with new patient intake. With primary care providers, intake often means filling out a bunch of paperwork and answering what may seem like an endless story stream of questions. However, providing current, accurate information is crucial for your doctor to get to the root cause of the problem as well as to recommend the right treatment plan.

Although the basic idea is the same, the intake process is a bit more involved at a medical detox center for a few notable reasons, not the least of which is the sheer complexity of addiction. But whether you’re completing intake for a primary care provider or a medical detox program, the objective is to put you on the path to health so you can get back to living a productive and fulfilling life.

What Is Intake?

Intake is generally the first interaction between a rehab or medical detox center and someone who’s seeking help for an addiction. Sometimes intake is tense, which is most common when the inbound patient is in a crisis situation. For example, if the person is suicidal, experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms, prone to violent behavior, or the victim of domestic abuse, then there’s a greater sense of urgency since intervention needs to occur immediately. 

There are several steps to the intake process that go beyond basic administrative tasks and health insurance information. You’ll speak with an admissions coordinator, fill out paperwork, and complete a questionnaire to provide information about your physical and emotional health and your current state of addiction.

This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about how the rehab center functions, and what you should expect as you receive treatment. You may also have your belongings screened to make sure you don’t have substances, weapons, or other items that violate the rules of the facility.

This is typically followed by medical and mental health evaluations. Co-occurring disorders, which occur when someone suffers from both addiction and a mental or emotional disorder, are common. All underlying conditions must be identified and taken into consideration for the treatment plan to ensure that all recovery needs are met.

Interviews and evaluations will also uncover potential risk factors and treatment obstacles. This will allow the rehab center to take proactive steps to ensure your safety and keep your recovery on track.

The intake may include a therapy session so you and your primary therapist can get to know each other. Addiction treatment is about healing the whole person, so the conversation will likely include relationships, work, social habits, and other areas of your life, not just addiction. Again, this is an opportunity for you to ask questions as well.

At this point, you may go through a patient orientation. This could involve seeing where you’ll live, touring the facility, going over rules and regulations, and introducing you to therapists, staff, and possibly some residents.

How to Have a Smooth Intake

Feelings of uneasiness or fear are normal during the intake process. Just keep in mind that the purpose of intake is to learn as much about you as possible to keep you safe and create a personalized treatment plan.

The best thing you can do is try to relax, keep an open mind, and be prepared to share as much information without holding back. Be honest about what you’re feeling, physically and emotionally.

Bring identification, insurance information, and any other forms that might be relevant. If you’re feeling anxious about something in particular, write it down so you can address your concerns and ask questions. 

Take Your First Step to Recovery at DetoxLA

Sea Change Recovery offers addiction treatment in Santa Monica, where alcohol and drug rehab are tailored to suit your individual condition and goals. If you’re ready to seek treatment and begin your journey to sobriety, contact us today.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Dane is the Director of Brand Strategy for Never Alone Recovery, where he helps brands in the mental health, addiction, and recovery industries connect with their audiences. Dane’s interests include technology, the film industry, travel, marketing, music, and coffee.

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