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Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. - Thomas Jefferson
~...

Coping with Alcohol Withdrawal

Starting to Detox

Alcohol withdrawal typically starts 6 – 12 hours after the last drink. Usually it is minor. Withdrawal may last 3 to 7 days. If you are one of the lucky people and only have minor symptoms watch for behavior changes such as irritability, agitation or hostility; sleep disturbances like insomnia; or impaired cognitive function such as inability to concentrate or poor memory. You may also experience gastrointestinal problems and may have no appetite or have diarrhea. Muscular symptoms may include cramps, or trembling; autonomic imbalances may occur such as tachycardia or rapid heartbeat. You could experience fever or sweating. And I repeat, this is if you are lucky.

Acute Alcohol Withdrawal

If you are not so lucky and experience acute alcohol withdrawal you should not be left untreated. Withdrawal could be lethal in certain people. In acute withdrawal there could be signs of body and hand tremors, elevated blood pressure, tachycardia, dilated pupils, increased body temperature, seizures, restlessness, hyperactivity, and agitation. Mental symptoms include anxiety, panic attacks, depression, paranoid delusions, illusions, disorientation, and visual hallucinations, inability to focus, OCD behavior. It is a scary thing.

First Hurdle to Sobriety

I think everyone at some time or other has experienced alcohol withdrawal. It is the first hurdle you need to cross when getting sober. In fact some people won’t stop drinking because they don’t want to go through the withdrawal phase. Many people just get too sick and they have to put alcohol back in their body. I have seen a friend who had to drink a glass of vodka first thing in the morning to stop shaking and he could hardly get the glass to his mouth. That was only 6 or 8 hours without alcohol. I have seen a friend go through the torment of withdrawal and nearly die; only to start drinking a few weeks later and have his liver fail. I, myself was left untreated during a withdrawal period and had a seizure.

Making Withdrawal Easier

There are ways to go through withdrawal that are much easier on the mind and body. At DebbietheCoach we provide our clients with clear choices and expert advice. Some clients may want to gradually stop drinking alcohol and avoid withdrawal altogether. This gradual method is possible using anti craving medications. Other clients want to stop drinking immediately and we assist them in either getting medical assistance or we can help with megavitamin therapy. Nutrient deficiencies are responsible for many of the withdrawal symptoms. For e.g. Magnesium deficiency is a major problem associated with symptoms of anxiety, depression, muscle spasm, chronic pain and tremors. The B vitamins are also depleted, especially B3 or Niacin.

People with an alcohol addiction are usually surprised when I tell them that they are probably malnourished. They don’t realize that the alcohol they drink stops the nutrients from being absorbed in the body. Often the pancreas is inflamed and food digestion is affected. They usually have sporadic meals and decreased appetites.

Each vitamin and mineral performs various functions in the body. Deficiencies affect your health and neither the body nor the mind functions properly. If you are afraid to stop drinking because of withdrawal symptoms, get medical help or get a plan in place where you can safely withdraw from alcohol. Don’t wait until your body is too damaged to recover.

Stress and Drinking are Self Defeating

Stress

Stress has been described as being “the greatest single contributor to illness in our time.” It has been estimated that up to two-thirds of all visits to family physicians are stress related. A person struggling with alcohol dependence is no stranger to stress or its affect on the body. Learning to manage stress-triggered drinking can be extremely beneficial.

Drinking Cycle

The drinking cycle of an alcohol dependent person may look like this:
STRESS—DRINKING—GUILT—SHAME —MORE STRESS —DRINKING—LOW SELF-ESTEEM —DEPRESSION —MORE STRESS—MORE DRINKING

Stress is self-defeating. It is usually shame based or fear based. Stress for an alcoholic leads to more drinking sprees and the merry-go-round can continue until death.

Letting Go

I’m sure you know or have heard of the “Serenity Prayer” – it says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.” We sometimes think that if other people would just change, life would be good. Understanding what we can and can’t control can help us cope with the daily stress in our life. Sometimes we just have to let things go. Wayne Dyer a motivational speaker I’m familiar with once said, “Never underestimate your ability to change yourself and never overestimate your ability to change someone else.”

Things We can Control

Here are some things that are within our control: our own opinions, aspirations, desires, and the things that repel us. These things are part of our inner lives and as such, are directly under our influence. We always have a choice about what goes on in our inner lives.

Things We can’t Control

Outside our control, however, are such things as who are parents are, what color of skin we have, if we’re born rich or poor, our genetic makeup. These things are externals and are therefore not our concern. Trying to control or to change what we can’t only results in torment. Also, when we attempt to take on the affairs of others, we will always become frustrated and anxious.

Put Stresses into Categories

Here’s an exercise that you can do to help troubleshoot the stress in your life. Make a list of the sources of stress that affect your life. Separate them into 2 categories, The Stress I Can Change & The Stress I Can’t Change. Now keep your attention focused entirely on what is truly your concern. Other people will behave as they do. Circumstances will often not meet our expectations. We get disappointed if we don’t get what we want. Our desires may be unreasonable. Stop worrying about the things that are outside your control. Work on the category with things that you can change.

Stress Plus Drinking

Second, acknowledge that drinking is not going to solve your stress problem. Acknowledging it is a step you choose when you’re frustrated and either can’t think of other options or are too frustrated to find other options. Drinking is going to increase the stress you feel and the vicious cycle will continue and accelerate. Acknowledge that better solutions are available to you right now; you simply need to be open to the possibility to try them.

Relieving Stress

You can find a quiet place to slow down and do some deep breathing. Keeping your mouth closed, breathe in through your nose and feel the air fill up your stomach, your lungs, hold it and then blow out through your mouth. Do this 4 or 5 times. Concentrate on each breath. This breathing exercise will help to lower your stress.

Keep breathing at a steady pace as this exercise isn’t meant to be rushed through. Rushing this along defeats the purpose and won’t help you achieve the calm state you need to de-stress. Once you are calmer, decide if what you are stressed about is really important. Does it really concern YOU? If it isn’t important – let it go and walk away. Ask yourself if you stay in this stressful situation, will it trigger a drinking spree? If it will, then definitely remove yourself from the situation. In the past, what would you have normally done? How can you change the pattern? Can you make a decision to do some self care? For e.g. can you call a friend, take a walk, talk things over with a co-worker or family member, confide in a coach?

Nurture Yourself

Each time you make the choice to nurture yourself rather than turning to alcohol, the Real Identity gets stronger and the Alcohol Identity weakens. Each time you can weaken the Alcohol Identity you are one step closer to getting alcohol out of your life and getting back to who you really are. Stress and how you choose to handle stress is actually an opportunity to get stronger and stronger. How good is that!

Anti Craving Meds used for Weight Loss

This may seem like an unlikely blog to talk about weight loss, but many people who are on anti craving medications such as Topamax (topiramate) are finding a surprise bonus. While using this medication to aide their efforts to either moderate or stop drinking, they are also losing weight!

Contrave: Awaiting FDA Approval

Another anti craving medication – Naltrexone – in combination with an anti depressant has just been approved by the FDA to assist in weight loss. The new drug Contrave is set for panel review in December 2010. This drug “targets behavior and reward pathways in the brain.” It combines an antidepressant Wellbutrin (buproprion) with Naltrexone, an opioid blocker used to treat alcoholism and opiate addiction. Contrave will address craving for food – it will also address craving for alcohol. Those using this weight loss drug will more than likely be inclined to drink less. Taking drinking out of the equation will lower their calorie count immediately because there are so many empty calories in alcohol.

Even though over eating and excessive drinking are both addictive behaviors, I think that the over eaters have it worse. No one can just stop eating, but it is very possible to stop drinking and to avoid people, places and things that trigger a relapse. Over eaters have to develop a relationship with food, and learn to live within moderate guidelines. Yet drinkers don’t have to have any relationship with alcohol in order to subsist. We can throw it out with the bathwater!

Read the full article here:
Weight Loss Drug Qnexa Rejected; Contrave Faces FDA Firing Squad Next

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Disclaimer

The material on our website is for informational purposes only, and is intended as a supplement, not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health-care provider. Read more...