Alcohol Detox Protocols
Alcohol detox or withdrawal is a period of medically monitored treatment in which an alcoholic is helped and made to overcome symptoms of withdrawal that result from a significant decrease in alcohol consumption. Detox usually lasts for a period of three to fourteen days depending on the history of alcohol use. During this period, patients experience withdrawal symptoms, which include mild headaches, tremors, cold sweat, and severe seizures. Apart from these, there are also other symptoms related to detox, which have been proven to cause complications and even death. This has created the need for medical practitioners to come up with specific treatments or protocols to treat these symptoms.
Given the extensive research and studies that have been done on the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcoholism, there is a wide selection of protocols that medical practitioners can choose from for their patients. However, a very important initial step that should be taken by medical practitioners is to assess the symptoms of the patient so that he can pick the most appropriate protocol to treat the symptoms. One effective way to do this is to use the CIWA-Ar instrument, which only takes a few minutes to administer. This instrument can measure the severity of alcohol withdrawal by rating ten signs and symptoms, which includes nausea; anxiety; tactile, visual and auditory disturbances; tremors; headaches; disorientation; autonomic hyperactivity; and agitation.
The Benzodiazepine Protocol
One of the most common protocols used to treat withdrawal symptoms is using Benzodiazepine drugs such as chlordiazepoxide or Librium, which are considered to be very effective in relieving these symptoms. In administering Benzodiazepine drugs, there are different medication regimens for treatment. One of these is to administer the drug in gradual and tapering doses, which is the most common used regimen because it can prevent symptoms from occurring. Another regimen is to administer the drug only in times that the patient is exhibiting the symptoms. Another type of regimen is to give loading doses to the patient, wherein a patient is give a large dose of medication on the first day of treatment, which studies have shown can effectively mitigate the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol detox is a medical procedure, and as such, relieving the symptoms that patients exhibit while undergoing it should also involve medical interventions. Some of the most effective of these interventions are detox protocols or treatments, which are ways by which medication is administered to patients to relive withdrawal symptoms.
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