The main tasks of alcohol treatment program are:
1.adequate assessment of physical and mental condition of the patient,
2.cleansing the body out of alcohol, alleviation the symptoms of intoxication and abstinent syndrome: blood hypertension, hand tremor, rapid heart beating, nausea, sweating;
3. bringingthe brain function back to normal: elimination of nervousness, irritability, sleep disorders.
After completion of detoxification the complex of treatment measures directed elimination the desire for alcohol and creation of aversion to alcohol on bothconscious and subconscious level is conducted.The next step is preparation of the patients for further alcohol-free life. We teach them how to avoid provocative situations, how to control their behavior. At the end of treatment the patients receive long-term anti-alcohol implant which pharmacologically blocks the effects of alcohol and makes use of alcohol impossible. The patients remain in anti-alcohol implant program for at least one year to maintain the results of treatment.
Treatment consists of two phases:
• In-patient phase of treatment (in- hospital treatment, phase of creation of the basis forremission). Duration of in-hospital phase of treatment is 7-10 days.
• Out-patient phase of treatment (monthly check- ups, continue of anti-alcohol implant program, the phase of maintenance of the result). Duration of out-patient phase of treatment is 12 months.
In-patient treatment includes:
Physical and mental condition assessment.Laboratory tests: blood count, biochemical blood test, markers for hepatitis, HIV.ECG(Electrocardiography). MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), EEG (Electroencephalography), Ultra Sound Research is an option. Psychological diagnostics. Specialists with the help of special psychological tests measurethelevel of craving for alcohol, degree of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Talk to psychologist helps to evaluate level of motivation, how deep the patient understands the problems with alcohol. Tests for memory capacity, intelligence, logical thinking, and willpower help to define the degree of mental functionimpairment. The results of diagnostics have a direct impact on making individual treatment plan.
2. Alcohol detoxification.
Prolonged use of alcohol, especially on daily base without any pauses severely violates many physiological processes in the body. Often after few days of drinking the patient loses appetite, stops eating, loses weight, can’t sleep during the night, wakes up at every sound, can’tget relaxed. Need for alcohol is constantly on. When concentration of alcohol in a body drops, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal come out. These are nervousness, hand shaking, palpitations, high blood pressure, sweating. At that moment desire to take alcohol becomes desperate. He needs alcohol to relieve the withdrawal, to postpone the agony. In this situation, if the person stops drinking without medical help he runs the risk of development of delirium or epileptic seizures. Therefore, it isessential to give the brain a rest with the help of sedatives and antiepileptic medications,to protect and restore the peripheral nervous system with the help of vitamins (especially vitamins B group), minerals (magnesium deficiency) and amino acids, to stabilize the cardiovascular system by b-blockers, to support liver function by hepatoprotectors. Use of method of trans-cranial electrical stimulation is very effective at this stage. The method stimulates the process of natural endorphins production, which is badly affected by prolonged alcohol consumption. After 2-3 days of treatment the patient’s condition significantly improves. Feeling of well-being, good appetite, normal sleep, physical strength comes back to normal.
3. Psychological dependence treatment.
The core of alcoholism, like of anyother type of addiction, is a mental dependence on alcohol. Alcohol negatively affectsindividual’s personality. An alcoholic is unable to control his behavior, he can’t keep the promises. Therefore it is absolutely necessary to quench desire for alcohol, to restore the person’s ability for self-control. We strongly believe that it is the most important task of treatment. An alcoholic stops using alcohol after treatment not only because it is forbidden by anti-alcohol implant, but mostly because he doesn’t feel need for alcohol. For that reason we include in complex treatment theso called aversion therapy, which makeseventhe smell or taste of alcohol repulsive. Audio-visual stimulation and information therapy help to deliver information about the dangers of alcoholabuse onto subconscious level, destroy alcohol related rituals and constructions in person’s brain. Information therapy influences the person’s behavior, his decisions and actions. Family, individual and group psychotherapy teach a person how to behave in stress situations, how to avoid provocative factors and etc. Symbol drama, psyche analysis, hypnosis allow a person to feel confident and secure. Upon completion of psychological dependence treatment the patient doesn’t consider refusal fromuse of alcohol as a great sacrifice or deprivation. On contrary, he feels positive about that.
4. Anti-alcohol Blockade.
There are pharmacological agents whichin case of alcohol intake cause strong and very unpleasant reaction. These agents are Disufiram,Llidevin, Colme. Therapy by anti-alcohol blockers is an important element of complex anti-relapse treatment. Blockers preclude reckless actions or impulsive behavior. They keep the patient away from alcohol, disciplined him and give confidence to hisrelatives. We strongly recommend use of long-term anti-alcohol implants for at leastone year after completion of in-patient treatment. Anti-alcohol implants can be in form of solid pellets (2 month implant) or in form of intramuscular injection (1 month implant). After receiving anti-alcohol blockade a patient leaves the hospital. All recommendations and instruction regarding further out-patient treatment are given. Discharge certificate is issued.
5. Out-patient treatment.
When a patient leaves the hospital we explain him and his relatives the principles of out-treatment. We give them recommendations which they have to comply strictly on daily basis. The recommendations include the avoidance of provocative situations,well organized schedule of daily activities,regular and controlled intake of prescribed medications, re-socialization. The patient is supposed to visit clinic for regular check-ups every month during a year. The patient also has a right to come to clinic and see a doctor any time heneeds, for example, in case of emergence of anxiety, depression, insomnia and etc.Working together with the patient, family members allows us the doctors and psychologists to achievea condition, when the patient perceives the state of sobriety not asa punishment, but a natural and happy state of well-being.