Alcoholism and drug abuse are serious problems affecting millions of people throughout the country. Addiction to any controlled substance can wreck havoc on a person’s relationships and life, making it difficult to do simple everyday things like going to school, performing well at work or maintaining friendships. The treatment of both drug abuse and alcoholism is very important for a person’s successful recovery; it requires the management of the symptoms of withdrawal from drugs as well as the symptoms experienced during withdrawal from alcohol.
Did You Know?Two-thirds of victims who suffered violence by an intimate (a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend) reported that alcohol had been a factor.
There are many substances that can cause addiction, and some common ones are:
- Narcotic painkillers (like heroin, morphine, oxycodone and codeine)
- Marijuana and hashish
- Barbiturates and benzodiazepines (central nervous system depressants like Valium, Xanax or Ativan)
- Methamphetamines and other stimulants, like cocaine, Ritalin and amphetamines
- Club drugs such as MDMA, GHB, Rohypnol and ketamine
- Hallucinogens including PCP, LSD or hallucinogenic mushrooms
- Inhalants such as glue or paint thinners
Many dangers are associated with alcoholism and drug abuse. It is a disease but it is a treatable one. Before suffering the gamut of health and personal problems caused by alcoholism or chemical dependency, the initial acknowledgement of the problem and subsequent reaching out for help to family or friends is the first step to recovery. Choosing a good program that can help manage alcohol withdrawal as well as withdrawal from drugs can be an important part of any recovery program. Some of the dangers and risks associated with these addictions are serious and life threatening. They include:
- Permanent brain damage
- Liver damage
- Triggering psychiatric illnesses
- Cardiovascular damage
“Many dangers are associated with alcoholism and drug abuse. It is a disease but it is a treatable one.”The severity of alcohol withdrawal can vary. They run the spectrum from mild symptoms such as mild sleep disturbances and anxiety to very severe and life-threatening symptoms that can include delirium, visual hallucinations in certain serious cases, as well as convulsions that may result in the death of the alcoholic. These appear characteristically upon waking, due to the blood alcohol concentration falling during sleep. The severity of alcohol withdrawal can depend on many factors. These include:
- Degree of alcohol intake
- Length of time since the individual has been using alcohol
- Number of previous detoxifications
Some alcohol withdrawal symptoms that can manifest themselves, especially in those with alcohol withdrawal syndrome are:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Delirium tremens
- Derealization (change in the perception or experience of the external world, making it seem unreal)
- Gastrointestinal upset
- High blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Irregular heart beat
- Rebound REM sleep
- Seizures and death
- Increased heart rate
Those most at risk for alcohol withdrawal syndrome are long-term drinkers after prolonged periods of excessive abuse of alcohol.
Did You Know?Alcohol claims the lives of 75,000 people in the Unites States every year, and it shortens the lives of those people by an average of 30 years. Excessive alcohol consumption is the third-leading cause of preventable death after tobacco use and poor exercise and eating habits. Excessive alcohol consumption is classified as more than two drinks per day for men or more than four drinks per occasion. For women, it is classified as more than one drink per day or more than three drinks per occasion.
There is good news for those who are very dependent and don’t wish to suffer from withdrawal from drugs or alcohol yet still wish to stop drinking. All these symptoms can be diminished or even eliminated with proper medical care and treatment. For those mildly dependent, doses of vitamins and a good, balanced diet can prevent most of the symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol or drug abuse. For those who are severely dependent, a physician can administer medication that can act as a replacement for the substance while it is gradually diminished until the patient is completely free from drugs and alcohol.