Alcoholism is a deadly disease that has claimed many lives and ruptured several happy homes. Liver disease and domestic violence are two of the most common results of alcoholism. When an alcoholic decides to quit drinking, his body must adjust to the change. This process is known as detoxification, where an alcoholic undergoes a series of symptoms: tremors, headaches, disorientation, inability to concentrate, perspiration and irritability. There are withdrawal treatments for alcoholism available that can help decrease the severity of these symptoms while preventing graver symptoms from appearing.
Detoxification generally starts between 6 and 48 hours after the decrease of heavy alcohol intake; symptoms tend to intensify, then decrease 24 to 48 hours after. Through outpatient care, a patient undergoes detoxification outside a treatment facility. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Abbot and colleagues in a 1995 study found that fewer than 20 percent of patients undergoing outpatient care actually required inpatient care. To be considered for outpatient detoxification, your withdrawal symptoms must be mild to moderate, and you should have no history of seizures or psychotic disorders. You must also have a sober support system at home to assist you through the detoxification process. Most treatment centers require that you visit them daily so they can monitor your progress.
Inpatient alcoholism withdrawal treatment is becoming less popular, but it is the safest method. A patient is under constant supervision and is also prepared for the lengthy recovery period. All substances that may induce the temptation to drink are removed, decreasing the risk of relapsing. This type of treatment is highly recommended for patients who have suffered a relapse or have severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Benzodiazepines, also referred to as BZs, are a category of sedatives generally prescribed to patients with severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. In these cases, 10 mg or more of Valium plus other type of BZ is given to the patient to control his symptoms or sedate him. This medication strategy is generally not given for more than one or two days. In Europe, anti-seizure medications, such as Tegretol and Depakene, are common treatments of alcohol withdrawal symptoms (per Malcolm and others, 1989). They reduce the risk of seizure, which is closely related to alcohol withdrawal. They are also viewed as non-addictive and can be used to treat anxiety disorders as well. However, in North America, Tegretol and Depakene have hardly been used to treat alcohol withdrawal. This is largely due to the fact that clinicians are more familiar and trusting of Benzodiazepines.
The kind of people that surround you during your alcohol recovery are crucial to your recovery. During and after the detoxification process, to prevent relapsing, separate yourself from the activities that led to your alcoholism. If you need help, but are unsure of where to look, check the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) website to find a treatment center near you.
It takes a certain determination to overcome alcoholism. Going it alone can be dangerous due to the severe withdrawal symptoms associated with the disease. Therefore, seeking withdrawal treatment for alcoholism is the most effective method of winning the battle.
Dr. Vikram Tarugu, M.D, is the CEO of Detox of South Florida, Inc and medical professional focused on addiction. A veteran in the medical field with over 25 years of professional experience. He is a consultant for many South Florida Rehab centers. Patients travel from allover the US to seek his help with addiction and Hepatitis C treatment.
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