Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment

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Approximately 95% of the people who quit drinking alcohol experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms and can usually be treated on an out-patient basis by a healthcare professional.

The remaining 5% of the individuals who suffer from withdrawal symptoms, however, experience symptoms so excessive that they must be treated in a hospital or in an alcohol rehab facility that specializes in alcohol withdrawal treatment.

It is important to emphasize, however, that all people who experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms need professional treatment.

Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment and Hospitalization

Recent evidence demonstrates the importance of treating every individual who is suffering from alcohol withdrawal.

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It should be pointed out, however, that roughly 95% of the individuals who quit drinking alcohol suffer from mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms and can usually be treated on an out-patient basis by a healthcare professional.

The remaining 5% of the individuals who suffer from withdrawal symptoms, however, experience symptoms so excessive that they must be treated in a hospital or in an alcohol rehab facility that specializes in alcohol withdrawal treatment (also known as detoxification).

The important message about alcohol withdrawal, however, is this: when experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, the person should seek medical assistance immediately so that his or her healthcare provider or doctor can assess the severity of the withdrawal symptoms and suggest the best treatment option.

Non-Drug Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment

A number of different non-drug techniques exist for treating alcohol withdrawal. In fact, alcohol withdrawal is typically treated by oral or IV hydration. Indeed, according to the current research literature, it appears that the safest way to treat mild withdrawal symptoms is without medications.

Such forms of non-drug treatment use extensive social support and screening during the entire withdrawal process. Other non-drug treatment programs, moreover, employ proper nutrition and vitamin therapy (especially thiamin) in treating mild withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment Using Prescribed Drugs

Many researchers state that chronic alcoholics who cannot maintain sobriety should receive therapeutic medications to treat and manage their alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Another key benefit of this form of treatment is that individuals who are alcohol dependent are less likely to experience possible brain damage and/or seizures when they receive various therapeutic medications for their dependency.

Alcohol research scientists have recently found that the medications most likely to produce positive results when treating alcoholism withdrawal symptoms are the benzodiazepines. Examples include the shorter-acting benzodiazepines such as Ativan and Serax and the longer-acting benzodiazepines such as Valium and Librium.

Traditionally, when using benzodiazepines, medical practitioners have used a progressive decrease in doses over the time-frame of the withdrawal process.

Moreover, due to the fact that the shorter-acting benzodiazepines do not remain in the person's system for an excessive period of time and due to the fact that they allow for measurable and observable dose reductions, a number of alcoholism scientists have articulated that intermediate to short half-life benzodiazepines should be used when treating withdrawal symptoms.

Another facet of alcoholism treatment with therapeutic medications focuses on different drugs such as naltrexone (ReViaT) or disulfiram (Antabuse) that are prescribed by a health care practitioner in an attempt to help prevent the person from returning to drinking after he or she has experienced a relapse and consumed alcohol.

In short, in this treatment approach, doctors prescribe drugs to treat a person's addiction.

For example, antabuse, a drug given to those who are alcohol dependent, produces negative effects such as nausea, vomiting, flushing, and dizziness if alcohol is ingested.

Not surprisingly, antabuse is effective mainly because it is a such a strong deterrent. Naltrexone (ReViaT), on the other hand, is effective because it targets the brain's reward circuits and reduces the craving the alcoholic has for alcohol.

As mentioned above, alcohol withdrawal is usually treated by oral or IV hydration. In light of the previous discussion about the use of therapeutic drugs, it can be restated that in more critical instances, withdrawal symptoms are regularly treated with medications, such as the benzodiazepines, that reverse the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

To recap: 95% of the individuals experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms when they quit drinking. These "fortunate" individuals do not require therapeutic medications for their withdrawals.

The remaining 5% of people who suffer alcohol withdrawals, however, experience symptoms so severe that they require detox treatment in a hospital or in an alcohol rehabilitation facility that specializes in detoxification.

Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment: Inpatient versus Outpatient

Not surprisingly, recent research findings have demonstrated that inpatient alcohol withdrawal treatment is more effective and longer-lasting than outpatient treatment. In other words, the more severe the alcohol-related withdrawal symptoms, the more likely that inpatient treatment programs should be considered.

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Conclusion: Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment

Perhaps the most important lesson learned from the above discussion about alcohol withdrawal treatment is this: the first concern when experiencing alcohol withdrawal should be who you should contact about the alcohol withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing.

In a word, when experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, always see your healthcare provider or your doctor immediately so that he or she can evaluate the severity of your situation and recommend the best option for treatment.

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