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How To Treat Alcohol Withdrawals At Home

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One of the first things that many alcoholics ask others about when they are trying to quit drinking is how to treat alcohol withdrawals at home. The answer to this question is very simple: you don't.

Do Not Treat Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms At Home!

When people who drink excessively try to stop drinking, they experience withdrawal symptoms.

One of the first things that many of these people ask others about is how to treat alcohol withdrawals at home. The answer to this question is very important:

People who are experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms (also called alcoholism withdrawal symptoms) should not treat these symptoms at home.

Instead, they need to seek medical assistance immediately so that their doctor, emergency room personnel, healthcare provider, or urgent care center personnel can assess the severity of their withdrawal symptoms and suggest the best option for treatment.

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To understand all of the reasons why people suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms should immediately seek medical assistance, consider the following.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a group of symptoms exhibited by individuals who stop drinking alcohol after a pattern of continuous and excessive consumption.

These symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe and include both behavioral and psychological aspects.

The following represents mild to moderate psychological withdrawal symptoms that typically occur within 6 to 48 hours after the last alcoholic drink: anxiety, feeling nervous or jumpy, depression, fatigue, irritability, nightmares, rapid emotional changes, and difficulty thinking clearly.

The following represents mild to moderate physical alcoholism withdrawal symptoms that typically occur within 6 to 48 hours after the last alcoholic drink: loss of appetite, nausea, rapid heart rate, vomiting, pulsating headaches, clammy skin, abnormal movements, sweating (especially on the palms of the hands or on the face), sleeping difficulties, tremor of the hands, looking pale, involuntary movements of the eyelids, and enlarged or dilated pupils.

The following represents severe alcoholism withdrawal symptoms that typically occur within 48 to 96 hours after the last alcoholic drink: muscle tremors, extreme confusion, severe autonomic nervous system overactivity, black outs, convulsions, high fever, seizures, delirium tremens (DTs), visual hallucinations, and agitation.

Most Alcoholism Withdrawal Cases Don't Require Hospitalization

Recent research demonstrates the fact that it is important to treat every person who is experiencing alcohol withdrawal.

Having said this, it can be pointed out that around 95% of the people who quit drinking alcohol suffer from mild to moderate alcoholism withdrawal symptoms and can usually be treated on an out-patient basis by a healthcare professional.

The remaining 5% of people who experience alcoholism withdrawal symptoms, however, suffer symptoms so severe that they must be treated in a hospital or in an alcohol rehabilitation facility that specializes in detoxification.

Non-Drug Detox Programs

A number of different techniques exist for treating alcohol withdrawal. While some of these treatments use medications, many, however, do not. Indeed, according to current research studies, the safest way to treat mild withdrawal symptoms is without medications.

Such types of non-drug detoxification use screening and extensive social support throughout the withdrawal process. Other non-drug detoxification programs, moreover, use vitamin therapy (especially thiamin) and proper nutrition in treating mild withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxification with Drugs

Alcoholism researchers claim that chronic alcoholics who cannot maintain abstention should receive drug therapy to treat their alcohol withdrawal symptoms. By using medications, these alcoholics are less likely to experience possible brain damage or seizures.

Recent research demonstrates the fact that the drugs most likely to produce effective results when treating alcoholism withdrawal are the benzodiazepines: the longer-acting benzodiazepines like Valium and Librium or the shorter-acting benzodiazepines such as Ativan and Serax.

Traditionally, when administering benzodiazepines, physicians have employed a progressive decrease in doses over the time-frame of the withdrawal process.

In addition, due to the fact that these drugs allow for measurable dose reductions and do not linger in the person's system numerous authorities have suggested that intermediate to short half-life benzodiazepines should be used for treating alcoholism withdrawal symptoms.

Outpatient and Inpatient Detoxification Programs

The research on inpatient and outpatient detoxification programs is also important. Studies have shown that inpatient detoxification is more effective and longer-lasting than outpatient detox programs.

The important issue here is the following: the more severe the alcohol withdrawal symptoms, the more likely that inpatient detox programs should be used.

Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from the above discussion is this: When experiencing alcoholism withdrawal symptoms, always see your healthcare provider or your doctor immediately so that he or she can assess the severity of your situation and suggest the best option for treatment.

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Conclusion: How To Treat Alcohol Withdrawals At Home

Armed with the information given above, the next time when someone asks you how to treat alcohol withdrawals at home, you can tell them: "You don't treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms at home--you need to seek medical assistance immediately so that the severity of your withdrawal symptoms can be properly assessed and the best option for treatment can be determined."

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