Detox in Alcoholism

3418 Public Works Drive Knoxville, Tn, (PressExposure) May 12, 2009 -- Because of the growing problem of alcoholism, particularly with teenagers, psychiatrists and doctors have come up with several treatments to address alcoholism either by use of group therapies or by medication. One common teen alcohol treatment used today is the term they call Detoxification or simply detox. Alcohol detoxification or 'detox' for alcoholic involves an abrupt stop of alcohol intake by substituting it with medication that has similar effects to prevent alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines are the most common family of drugs used for this, followed by barbiturates.

Benzodiazepines used to prevent an alcohol withdrawal include chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan) or oxazepam (Serax). Patterns are then followed in administering these drugs. These patterns are as follows:


The first option takes into consideration the varying degrees of tolerance. In it, a standard dose of the benzodiazepine is given every half hour until light sedation is reached. Once a baseline dose is determined, the medication is tapered over the ensuing 3–10 days.


Another option is to give a standard dose of benzodiazepine based on history and adjust based on withdrawal phenomenon.


A third option is to defer treatment until symptoms occur. This method should not be used in patients with prior alcohol related seizures. This has been effective in randomized controlled trials. A non-randomized, before and after, observational study found that symptom triggered therapy was advantageous.

The choice of Benzodiazepines depends on different situations such as:


Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is the benzodiazepine of choice in uncomplicated alcohol withdrawal.


Lorazepam or diazepam are available as an injection for patients who cannot safely take medications by mouth.


Lorazepam and oxazepam may be best in patients with cirrhosis (shorter half life).

Other drugs have also been used in teen alcohol treatment. Some hospitals administer alcohol to prevent alcohol withdrawal although there are potential problems with this practice. Vitamins, such as vitamin B, is also used during withdrawal treatment to reduce its symptoms.

Another is Sodium oxybate which is used for both acute alcohol withdrawal and medium to long-term detoxification. This practice is currently used in Italy in small amounts under the trade name Alcover. Newly introduced drugs such as Baclofen are now tested to see if it's applicable for use in a teen alcohol treatment. Recent studies on the drug has shown an increase in alcohol detoxification.

Though the use of detoxification treats the physical effects of prolonged use of alcohol, it does not actually treat alcoholism. After detox is complete, relapse is likely to happen without further treatment. These rehabilitation (or 'rehabs') may take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting.

About Self-employed

Donna Sparks is a Professor and a Consultant Physician. Other than her clinical and local teaching commitments, she also continues to enjoy the privileges of research, writing and lecturing.

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Press Release Submitted On: May 11, 2009 at 8:13 pm
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