Arthur has it all; a loving family, supportive friends, health, and a successful career. But he starts each day with a drink to stop the shakes. By the end of the day, he will have finished a fifth of liquor. He does this every day.
Signs of a Drinking Problem
Drinking is a part of Arthur’s identity. The moment he wakes up, the shaking starts. If he goes more than 6 hours without a drink, he experiences numbness.
He has been regularly drinking since he was 15 years old. The idea of not drinking was terrifying for him. He came to Coleman Addiction Medicine for help. He needed to learn that beyond the unbearable idea of not drinking is a full and healthy life waiting for him.
Giving up alcohol is a process. The decision must be made, the drinking must stop, and then slowly the new reality unfolds.
When to Seek Medication-Assisted Treatment
It is important that you check with your primary care doctor before attempting to stop drinking on your own. For Arthur, we knew right away that he needed to be in a safe environment.
We asked Arthur if he had ever had a seizure when he stopped drinking. He said he didn’t know. Arthur had never gone more than a few hours — especially in the last several years — without a drink. But the fact that he now needs a drink to stop the shakes in the morning is indicative of needing medical assistance.
Outpatient Detox Programs to Fit Your Life
Arthur will spend the first day of his outpatient alcohol detox in a private room with his support person. We will review his lab reports and start an EKG to monitor his heart. Throughout the day he will receive medication through an IV to prevent seizures and other complications of abruptly stopping alcohol consumption.
Medications used for the remainder of the program will be given to Arthur’s support person with explicit instructions on how to administer them. Arthur is also a candidate for long acting naltrexone which can cut down on the cravings, pleasure, and impulse.
Custom Alcohol Detox
The process will not end for Arthur after his last day of treatment. We will work with Arthur to create a plan for sobriety beyond his detox. This plan will take into account his lifestyle, support needs, and continued reassessment.
As Arthur’s body begins to heal from the alcohol onslaught, his needs will turn more and more towards finding what life holds for him, unaccompanied by alcohol. He will no longer need to question who he is without booze.
If you or a loved one is concerned about stopping drinking on your own, please schedule a callback today.
Joan R. Shepherd, FNP