Monday, June 7, 2010

Over 5 alcohol detoxes this month.

It is delightful to see how much benefit our patients are getting from our outpatient alcohol detox program.

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We have been offering the outpatient alcohol detox program for over 2 years now, and it really is going beautifully. Patients get screened over the phone to make sure they are suitable candidates for the program. If they are suitable, they are instructed to stop drinking before midnight and arrive at the clinic about 8.30 am. Once there, they receive a full history and physical, blood work and a breathalyzer. They then get IV fluids and full mineral and vitamin replenishment. For withdrawal, they are given Clonidine to stabilize their autonomic system and Phenobarbital to treat the withdrawal and prevent seizures.

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Patients just love the outpatient alcohol detox program. They usually feel good very quickly and frequently have very few withdrawal symptoms. They love not having to be put into a hospital and woken up all night by nurses and other staff. Instead they can detox at home with a friend or family member taking care of them.

The program is working very well. This month we treated a patient who was drinking so much that, even 12 hours after his last drink, his BAC was still over 0.22. We calculated that his level must have been over 0.4 the previous night – almost a fatal level. He required a lot of Phenobarbital but he remained calm and comfortable throughout the whole detox.

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Of course part of his treatment was to talk with Chris Newcomb, our aftercare coordinator, because detox without treatment is very unlikely to be successful. Fortunately he agreed to the treatment program we all recommended. Hopefully he will stick with it.

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Dr Peter Coleman

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