Alcohol abuse treatment. Medicine to help stop drinking. Antabuse medication

Stages of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms. DT timeline

A human who abuses alcohol arrives at a development of the real addiction, sooner or later. It is very difficult to admit a problem because this person does not see the difference between alcoholism and a regular alcohol consumption. An abstinence syndrome is one of the manifestations that a human is addictive to alcohol and has serious pathological disorders in the body.

Alcohol withdrawal timeline

The abstinence syndrome is a group of symptoms that happen during quitting alcohol. It happens because a long-term alcohol abuse causes an accumulation of toxins in the body that affect the nervous system, liver, and other organs. These toxins poison the body when the human stops drinking and a lack of ethanol occurs in the body.

A hang-over usually passes in a day if a water-intake regimen is followed, and the required minerals are restored. The manifestations of the hang-over are light, or moderate, and bring a moderate discomfort.

The manifestations of the abstinence syndrome have a severe type and may be kept within 3-5 days. This is a severe type of the hang-over which appears only in people with the alcohol addiction. The peculiarity of the abstinence syndrome is that all symptoms pass when a human takes another portion of alcohol.

A human loses an ability to work, is not able to react to events around him/her during the prolonged alcohol abuse. This happens during the abstinence syndrome. The person loses the working ability because of the intensive physical and psycho-emotional manifestations. Therefore, the treatment of the abstinence syndrome is often required because a person cannot leave this state. Auditory and visual hallucinations are especially dangerous because they may lead to the additional aggression.

The intensity of the abstinence syndrome manifestations depends on several factors:

  • Age;
  • Period of alcoholism;
  • A duration of hard drinking;
  • Amount of ethanol got into the body.

The symptoms of the alcohol withdrawal may appear in a couple of hours after the consumption of the last dose. These symptoms make a human continue drinking. As a rule, the symptoms of the alcohol abstinence are increased within 48-72 hours, and then they are gradually reduced even without the treatment.

Due to this, doctors divide the abstinence syndrome into stages depending on how much time has passed after the last alcohol consumption.

  • Stage 1: 6-12 hours after the alcohol consumption.

The stage 1 is characterized by the light symptoms of the alcohol withdrawal that may be controlled and do not cause a severe discomfort.

- Anxiety;

- Headache;

- Dizziness;

- Light nausea.

This stage is characterized by the first signs of an agitation: a set of the symptoms include the motor and emotional excitement in the form of the involuntary movements, sweatiness, rapid heartbeat, speech disturbance, and fussiness.

  • Stage 2: 12-36 hours after the alcohol consumption.

The second stage of the alcohol withdrawal is characterized by more intensive symptoms:

- Tremor of limbs;

- Anxiety and fear;

- Nausea and vomiting;

- Tachycardia.

The symptoms of the agitation become less intensive, and hallucinations, panic attacks, and lack of oxygen appear. At this moment, the thoughts are absent, and the cognitive and vegetovascular pathologies are manifested.

  • Stage 3: 48 hours after the use of alcohol.

A person usually loses composure and consumes alcohol during this period because the symptoms grow up to the highest severity and cause a real moral and psychological discomfort:

- Arterial hypertension;

- Sleep disorder;

- Hallucinations and loss of coordination;

- High body temperature;

- Depression with anxiety, apathy, and haunting phobia;

- Muscle spasms and convulsions;

- Delirium tremens.

How to quit alcohol? Alcohol Rehab and Treatment Facilities

An arresting the alcohol withdrawal requires the additional help. The person is not able to cope with physiological and psychological load put on him/her. A reduction of the abstinence syndrome happens by means of the cleaning of the body from the toxic ingredients that cause a negative state. A symptomatic therapy is used and aimed at the recovery of the saltwater balance, functions of the liver and the nervous system. Moreover, a patient is prescribed the intravenous induction of glucose, vitamins and minerals.

How to quit alcohol

The following physiotherapeutic procedures are actively used:

  • Xenon therapy (arterial oxygen saturation by means of the oxygen masks);
  • Plasma depletion (laser irradiation excretes the toxins from the blood plasma);

A procedure of the treatment and rehabilitation is based on the clinical pattern of a patient during the alcohol withdrawal. A patient does not need the psychotropic drugs or a serious pharmaceutical treatment during the first stage of the alcohol abstinence. The physiotherapeutic procedures and a body cleaning from the toxins will be enough.

A patient needs a complex treatment including the pharmacotherapy, a help of a psychotherapist on the stage 3 of the abstinence syndrome. The treatment often takes place in the hospital during the severe types of the abstinence syndrome.

getting help for alcoholism

A patient is given some low doses of alcohol during the dangerous states for the life in order to stop the increase of the symptoms. However, doctors must control this state in order to avoid a hard drinking of a patient. These are maintenance doses required to reduce the moral sufferings of a person.

A patient is prescribed sedative, antianxiety, vasodilator products, diuretics, and medicines to keep the health of the cardiovascular system as a pharmacological support. To restore the functions of the liver, products that excrete the products of the ethanol metabolism from the body are used. Adsorbents are very important during the reduction of the abstinence syndrome.

Pharmaceutical Treatment for Alcoholism. Drugs for alcohol dependence

A pharmaceutical treatment for alcoholism includes a wide range of medications aimed at the quitting of alcohol and a recovery of all body functions. The treatment for alcoholism usually starts from one or two episodes of the abstinence syndrome when a person understands that he/she has a real alcohol addiction, and it may cause serious problems with health.

Drugs for alcohol dependence

Nowadays, the only effective product for the treatment of alcoholism is Antabuse (Disulfiram). This product has been developed to treat the alcohol addiction even in long standing alcoholics.


Antabuse has a new action; it increases the intoxication of the body during the alcohol consumption. Due to this, the body develops a reflex that alcohol is bad, and its consumption is dangerous.


Naltrexone is also regarded as an effective medicine for alcoholism but it is inferior to Antabuse due to another mechanism of the action. It reduces craving for alcohol by means of the inhibition of its effects in the body. The drug blocks the receptors in the brain that get satisfaction during the use of alcohol. This way, the interest in ethanol drops.

Campral is another recognized medication for the treatment of the alcohol addiction that reduces the manifestations of the abstinence syndrome. If a human is able to get rid of the alcoholism without any help but the symptoms of the alcohol abstinence bother this person, Campral will help to restore all body functions.

Bear in mind that besides the medications that reduce craving for alcohol it is necessary to pay a great attention to medications that restore the body because liver, endocrine function, cardiovascular and nervous system, and others suffer during the alcoholism. Therefore, as soon as the person gets rid of the severe addiction and is able to control the craving for alcohol, it is necessary to have a complex medical examination and detect a list of medications that are required to restore health, both psychological and physical one.

What is Alcoholism Support Groups?

A number of groups for the social and psychological support of patients with alcoholism has been significantly increased for the past decades in the USA and other countries of the world. The alcohol abuse leads to a destruction of a personality. It causes bad relations with people, and problems at work. A human loses all he/she has, but a realization happens only when the alcohol consumption is quit. After quitting the alcohol consumption, this person has to learn to live: without alcohol and bad habits, in a new society, and with new friends.

According to the statistics, just 40% of people can return to the normal life and get rid of the alcohol for all. Unfortunately, many do not cope with the psychological load and fail in 1-2 years. Some people fail in 5 years without feeling any psychological progress.

A person who has been addictive to alcohol has high chances to restore the alcohol consumption. Therefore, the assistance groups for alcoholics are a need in the modern society.

The support groups may have various formats and consists of several people, or be a large organization. These are rehabilitation centers, where ex-addicted people live, or Alcoholics Anonymous Societies taking place in a cozy atmosphere.

The groups may consist of only men, or women, people with the same religion, or similar interests. Nowadays, the society is very addictive to alcoholism, and so every social group will have people who need help.

The support groups are required for people who have rehabilitation and their families. It is really difficult to live with a person who starts all over again.

Today there are several large organizations that are ready to help anybody with their problems.

• Alcoholics Anonymous Society

• Al-Anon

• Alateen

• National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)

These are the biggest and the most popular organizations where everybody can find a support in a fight with alcoholism. These organizations support the local groups all over the world, and likeminded people may be found who have defeated the alcoholism and are ready to help at any time. Also, the help is offered patient’s families who want to know how to resist the alcohol addiction.