What to Expect When Giving Up Alcohol
What to expect when giving up alcohol.
Acute withdrawal effects include shivers and shakes and a craving to reduce these symptoms by having another drink. Medical detoxification should be gradual over 5 to 10 days (usually by using benzodiazepines in reducing doses). Seizures may need to be prevented by using specific medications such as Phenytoin. Brain damage should be protected against by using Vitamin B6 (Thiamine) for one week.
This – or something similar – is standard practice in most rehabs. But there are rehabs that use nothing more than warm baths or saunas and massage. Many drugs are fat-soluble and therefore enter the fatty tissue of the brain. Sweating gets them out again. In this there is reason beyond allaying the financial, physical and regulatory fear of employing doctors and nurses.
What to expect when giving up alcohol or drugs therefore depends on the clinical beliefs and practical methods of each institution. A psychiatric hospital will tend to have a very different approach from a Twelve Step rehab, although the one may contaminate the other when regulatory bodies get involved.
In either case the patient will feel comforted or fearful as a result of personal interaction with the staff – far more than from any chemical process. Working in the alcoholism and addiction field is a people business. Or should be.