Many people use alcohol ranging from the person who has the occasional drink with dinner to those afflicted by alcoholism, the latter characterized by excessive consumption and preoccupation with alcoholic beverages to the extent that this behavior interferes with an individual’s normal private, family, public, or work life. The inability to control alcohol consumption also has detrimental effects on the body, including cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, inflammation of the pancreas, neurological disease, cognitive impairment or dementia, cancer, sexual dysfunction, increased nutritional deficiencies, and death.
Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal
It is generally agreed that successful alcohol detoxification requires that a person eventually stop all use of alcohol. Abrupt cessation of alcohol however can lead to withdrawal symptoms that include hallucinations, shakes, convulsions, seizures, and possible heart failure and death. Because of these withdrawal issues, alcohol detoxification should be done under medical supervision. Most people with alcohol dependence require controlled detoxification done through the substitution of drugs, most commonly the benzodiazepines, which have similar effects to alcohol but offset the withdrawal symptoms. Therefore immediate medical inpatient detoxification is required. During this intervention, detoxification may be performed in several ways. One approach is to give a standard dose of the benzodiazepine every half hour until light sedation is reached. This baseline dose is maintained for up to two days, and then the medication is tapered over the following 3-10 days. Another option is to give a standard dose of benzodiazepine based on experience with the individual presenting a specific medical history and adjust the dose based on the withdrawal symptoms that the patient experiences.
Some heavy alcohol drinkers may experience milder initial alcohol withdrawal symptoms than those described above and require less inpatient care if they are considered to meet the following criteria:
No history of delirium tremens or fits
Is not a suicide risk
No history of misuse of other drug substances
Are no longer dependent on benzodiazepines
Do not require acute treatment for alcohol related physical effects
Has social support
After alcohol withdrawal is initially successfully treated with benzodiapine, it is then appropriate to treat alcoholics through home detoxification combined with outpatient community treatments as deemed appropriate by a physician.
Outpatient Alcohol Detoxification
During the initial stages of outpatient alcohol detoxification, daily visits by a healthcare practitioner to the home is recommended in order to provide support and monitor progress. Long-term rehabilitation following detoxification may involve the primary care team, a community-based alcohol treatment team and various voluntary organizations. It is important that the patient, the family, and/or the patient’s support group be educated regarding the aims and proper management of the multiple aspects of the patient’s detoxification program. Also long-term follow-up support during alcohol rehabilitation is necessary in order to provide regular review of the patient’s physical and emotional symptoms, the effects of the intervention, and psychological indicators that may favor relapse. It has also been shown that long-term support from a concerned individual such as a spouse, partner, or close friend will aid in the progress of rehabilitation.
Body Cleansing and Alcohol Detoxification
Alcohol interferes with metabolism in every cell of the body. Alcohol damages the liver, the central nervous system, the gastrointestinal tract, the heart and other organs. Byproducts of alcohol consumption may linger in the tissues of those who have ceased its use. The intake of herbal supplements, such as those manufactured by Isagenix International provides organ specific treatments to those undergoing alcohol detoxification. Body cleanses that contain minerals and herbs increase lymphatic drainage, soothe intestinal discomfort, and promote liver, urinary, and bowel functions that enhance regularity and aide in the elimination of toxins.
Addressing the toxic effects of alcohol on the body, and reestablishment proper nutritional and organ systems function as described above is therefore an important aspect of the treatment for alcohol abuse as well as the prevention of relapse due to craving for alcohol.