The ravages of alcohol take a toll on the body. When one drinks in excess for prolonged periods of time, tolerance of the effects of alcohol and physical enslavement compel one to consume alcohol.
Physiological dependence then sets in also. When the body can no longer tolerate the loss of alcohol, withdrawal begins. The signs of withdrawal can be characterized by shaking, excitability and headaches to name only a few of the symptoms.
The severity in the range of withdrawal symptoms depends largely on the amount of alcohol, length of time one has been an alcoholic and the patient’s age and physical condition. Mild cases may only suffer sleep disruption and temperate anxiety.
Severe cases of alcohol withdrawal can escalate to harsh and even life endangering distress. Convulsions, hallucinations, stomach upset with diarrhea, tremors and heart failure are among the extensive list of deterioration.
First of all, an assessment of the severity of the disease must be ascertained. A comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s physical, mental and psychiatric condition is determined before medical care can begin.
Important in this appraisal is to conclude possible complications such as gastrointestinal issues, heart impairment or diseases. Blood alcohol level and urine screening are performed since recent alcohol or drug use can create a higher risk for impediment to treatment.
The most severe alcohol dependence can begin showing symptoms of withdrawal within less than two hours after discontinuing use of alcohol. The unpredictability of the severity when withdrawing from alcohol often requires hospitalization for the requisite detox.
At the very least, a doctor, medical housing or a detox center where the individual can receive proper support and treatment is necessary. Family and friends can be of enormous reinforcement in the effort to rehabilitate the alcoholic.
Drugs to control seizures are common in alcohol detox. Protracted withdrawal symptoms sometimes occur, prolonging the intensity of the retreat of alcohol.
It may take up to a year to complete detox and initial rehabilitation for an alcoholic, and even then the yearning for the taste and euphoria of alcohol may persist. As well, the withdrawal symptoms may continue.
Vomiting, headache and insomnia are among the negative consequences when retreating from alcohol. Persistent symptoms can be treated with drugs; however, going in this direction may cause a backlash for the individual.
Brain chemistry changes with alcoholism. Abstinence from alcohol causes a different kind of conversion, eventually leading back to normal neurochemistry. Repeated alcohol detoxification then resuming drinking causes more severe withdrawal symptoms.
Relentless tremors and seizures create what is known as kindling. Kindling causes permanent damage to brain receptors and significant complicated medical ailments. Memory loss, cognitive defects and cortical damage are also connected to withdrawal.
Damage to nerves is yet another problem in the effort to withdraw from alcohol. Diverse pharmaceutical medications, such as barbiturates, either diazepam or lorazepam, are often used for severe alcohol detox situations.
Barbiturates suppress nerve activity and lower blood pressure. These types of drugs can also interfere with brain activity, creating slurred speech as well as balance issues. Erratic behavior can emerge; intense emotions and physical balance may be disturbed.
Another negative effect of barbiturates is inflammation to airways, leading to pneumonia at times, and the possibility of respiratory failure. Another repercussion when treating alcoholism with barbiturates is damage to the heart and liver.
If the recommended prescription drugs are combined with alcohol or other drugs, it can be fatal. At the very least, the use of barbiturates cause light headedness or dizziness, most often in the morning after rising. Depression, irritability, impotence and a host of other repercussions are possible.
Lorazepam is a very potent drug used much like diazepam. It produces relaxation of muscles with a sedative effect. It also includes an anti-seizure, anti-convulsion treatment. The potential for misuse is high and the medication should not be continued for long periods of time. Long term use can lead to dependence, anxiety and insomnia. Overdose of Lorazepam may lead to death.
There are cost effective programs for inpatient or outpatient alcohol detox plans. Mild cases of alcoholism may be treated best by outpatient status. Good nutrition, stabilizing blood pressure and heart rate, and possibly the requirement of intravenous fluids for dehydration are the start of detoxification.
Once the severity of withdrawal has been estimated, a plan of action may be developed. The patient is responsible to attend and complete the program for the alcohol withdrawal course to reach achievement.
Gradual tapering of alcohol use with the application of drugs for a few days is often the first step in the detox plan. It depends upon the patient’s alcohol dependence as to how the method would continue. The potential for complications of detox is a risk, but the potential for success is exceedingly more important.