What to do if a person abuses alcohol and refuses to undergo medical treatment?
Unfortunately, without the patient's desire the treatment of alcoholism is impossible. Many aspects depend on his relatives and friends: they can convince the person to visit a doctor - a substance abuse specialist, at least for a consultation. But the person should be assured in a correct manner. For example, it is useless to explain to the patient that he is dependent, or to use methods of influence that previously have shown no result. Neither the relatives should believe his promises and vows that "it was the last time" and he will willingly quit drinking on his own. There’s no point to resort to persuasion, pleas, reproaches, intimidation, "horror stories". Sometimes the relatives ask: "Doctor, please, give him a scare, say he will develop liver failure or leg palsy..." But the mentality of the alcoholic works this way that he is unable to realize his own illness (in medicine this phenomenon is called anosognosia), therefore he would not accept such arguments and, on the contrary, will take measures of self-defence. If the relatives would like to help, they have to develop a clear, careful, smart policy of behaviour with the dependent and act stepwise.
To learn about the methods of persuasion and influence, the relatives can consult the specialists of our center. Of course, you can come for family counseling together with the patient.
Is it possible to treat alcoholism on your own with anti-alcohol remedies bought in the pharmacy or using the methods of alternative medicine?
Unassistedly, without a specialist’s prescription, no drugs should be taken as the risk of unexpected reaction and severe complications is very high. Various "healing" tinctures, herbal preparations that desperate relatives sometimes try to add in the patient’s food or drinks are very dangerous: they can harm if the patient has, for example, predisposition to diabetes, hypertension, hepatitis, peptic ulcer or other conditions that are not diagnosed yet. Undoubtedly, to trust only in folk remedies means to lose time, it is safer to seek professional help instead.
Is it possible to quit a binge-drinking session on your own using tranquilizers, sleeping medicines?
No, absolutely not. Such drugs can cause a breathing arrest, and the drinker may die in his sleep. In general, there is no point in utilizing this method since all sleeping remedies only increase the craving for alcohol. As it is known, psychotropic drugs themselves are addictive, and they are also a part of the treatment in drug centers for the alcohol withdrawal syndrome, so the patient will have to take even larger doses of this sort of drugs - and this constitutes an unnecessary risk. As a result, the symptoms of withdrawal in such patients will be much more severe.
For how long should the patient stay sober before the procedure of “coding”?
Before the “coding” procedure, the patient has to remain sober for 5-7 days. It means not only saying away from alcohol - the drinker should be completely mentally sober, that means, not to take any psychoactive drugs. When the alcohol withdrawal syndrome is mild, any dependent is able to survive 5-7 days without drinking. If the withdrawal syndrome is severe, then it might be easier to spend 5 days in the clinic under the supervision of physicians, after a course of detoxification and special supportive therapy (pharmaceutical and psychological) before undergoing the “coding”.
Are the patients who underwent the procedure of “coding” (and have a Disulfiram implant) allowed to drink non-alcoholic beer?
No, they are not, because non-alcoholic beer contains a small amount of ethanol. Sometimes this may be enough to develop a disulfiram-alcohol reaction with severe symptoms of poisoning, up to the onset of coma. In general, it is not advisable to make self-indulgence like having non-alcoholic beer, this can only provoke a gradual return to drinking alcohol. It is easier to maintain the withdrawal from any sort of beer than to expose yourself to such risk.
What kind of treatment is most effective for alcoholism?
Not any method can be considered best for treating alcohol dependence, the results depend on the patient's desire, his willingness to begin the treatment and to cooperate with the doctor. Practice shows that all clinical methods used today for the treatment of alcoholism provide real remission in average in 70% of cases.
Is compulsory treatment of alcohol and drug dependencies possible in our country?
No, the compulsory treatment of dependent adults is legally prohibited. Moreover, from the medical point of view, forcible treatment of dependence is ineffective.
Marijuana is legalized in a number of countries and even used for medical purposes. Smoking marijuana does not cause dependence (unlike alcohol or tobacco). Why is this soft drug prohibited in our country, why is it dangerous?
Although a person does not experience physical symptoms of withdrawal when not taking the drug, this is not a reason to consider marijuana harmless. Smoking "weed" causes persistent psychological dependence. After the first use, the consumption usually becomes regular, but the saddest thing is that "weed" is the first step to "hard" drugs. All the experienced drug addicts had once started from smoking "harmless" marijuana. Along with that, the smoking of it also has distinct destructive consequences: thinking, memory, attention, reproductive function, cardiovascular and respiratory systems get damaged (in cannabis there are much more carcinogens than in tobacco), the risk of psychoses and depression increases dramatically. The fact that alcohol and nicotine for many global reasons do not legally refer to narcotic drugs, is not a motive to legalize another sort of dangerous substance yet. Moreover, such a move is very unlikely to eradicate the problem of the illegal cannabis market. Also it should be noted that marijuana can be traced in the urine within 40 days after consumption, and if the driver shows a positive cannabinol test result, the penalty rate will be the same as for the detection of alcohol in the blood.
What signs can show the parents that their child had been using drugs?
The first obvious sign is when you see your teenager is clearly in a state of intoxication, but you can’t smell any alcohol. The second sign: the child is so tight asleep that he can not be awakened by any means. The third sign: his pupils are dilated or narrowed, and the eyes are reddened or filmy. Other external symptoms include the loss of coordination (staggers, stumbles); incoherent slow or accelerated speech; causeless indolence, apathy or agitation; cough, upset stomach. In any case, the most reliable way is to bring the child to the drug center in order to conduct express screening for the presence of narcotic and medicinal substances in the body.