What Happens to an Alcohol Detox Device? – Zimo News

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What Happens to an Alcohol Detox Device?

Jill Dumigan
BBC North West Health Correspondent

  • Published
    3 days ago

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  • coronavirus pandemic
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Problematic drinking has increased during the Covid pandemic

Deaths directly attributable to alcohol rose in the first months of the UK’s coronavirus pandemic, raising concerns among experts about the harmful effects of increased household drinking.

After remaining largely stable for nearly two decades, Alcohol-related deaths increased by 19% It reached 8,974 in 2020, the largest year-over-year increase on record.

While the ONS has yet to release figures for 2021 – more lockdowns and social distancing – research commissioned by the NHS suggests thousands of deaths could be expected.

This will further expand the alcohol detoxification center. But what’s going on in them? How does the treatment work, and what about the patient?

The BBC has been granted access to the UK’s largest NHS inpatient drug treatment centre, the Chapman-Barker unit in Prestwich, Greater Manchester, run by the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust,

Here we describe a typical day in the life of the center, staff and patients.

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The first of the day’s scheduled admissions arrived at the unit.

Although calm and smiling on the surface, he was clearly nervous, like many who come here.

“It’s the bravest thing they’ve ever done — take a step forward and say ‘I need help — please help me,'” said Clare Hilton, the service’s director.

Before the newcomer leaves the reception, he must undergo a breath analysis.

“It can seem harsh at times,” adds Claire. “They do come in…but the sooner we start monitoring, the sooner we can give them medication to minimize withdrawal.”

Community Manager Claire Hilton
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Claire Hilton is Service Manager

The Chapman-Barker division is one of seven such centres in the UK.

For many patients who come here from the north of England and beyond, it is their best hope for overcoming addiction.

Patients typically spend two weeks there—sometimes longer—under the care of a team of clinicians with different specialties.

Not only do they supervise alcohol withdrawal, but they also provide targeted psychosocial therapy to determine what is causing their addiction.

After taking the alcohol test, the newcomer walked around the unit and returned to his room.

He will now undergo a full medical examination and can then start medication.

“It’s their time,” Claire said. “You never have time to take care of yourself…I tell them, ‘Use it. Absorb what we have to offer.»

new patient

One patient, we’ll call him Gary, spoke to me a few hours after his arrival, right at the end of his initial physical.

He’s talented, passionate, and looks like a determined guy.

“I’ve been addicted to alcohol for 30 years,” he told me. “Now that I’m here, I’m not going to throw it away.

“You get what you pay for. When I leave here in two weeks, there will be no wine. That’s all”.

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Gary told me he spent months waiting for funding to be approved so he could stay here.

“It’s basically do or die – I’m dying. I’m 60 in December and I’m thinking, ‘Will I die, or will I be lucky for another 10 years?

“I prefer another 10 years and the chance to be happy. »

addiction specialist

Dr. Stephen Carr
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Dr Carr says addiction is largely caused by life circumstances and events

Dr. Stephen Kaar is one of two consultants in the department who specialize in the psychology of addiction and practical aspects of withdrawal from various substances.

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous withdrawal substances.

If done incorrectly, it can be life-threatening due to chemical imbalances in the brain caused by chronic alcoholism.

“In very severe addictions, people can get up to 50 percent of their calories from alcohol,” he said.

“So if you’re only getting 50% of your calories from this drink, which has no nutritional value but provides you with calories so your body can function, you’re neglecting all the other nutrients you need … »

A particularly important nutrient is vitamin B1, or thiamine, which protects brain cells.

Newcomers usually receive IV infusions of thiamine and other vitamins.

They were also given drugs to calm the brain, because abrupt withdrawal from alcohol can overstimulate the brain and lead to seizures.

“The highest risk of seizures is in the first two days,” Dr. Carr said.

“In the next three to four days, people are very likely to have something called delirium tremens, and people will be very confused, very agitated, hallucinating.”

Patients with this condition require constant individual monitoring.

By the end of the first week, the worst withdrawal symptoms are usually over.

At this point, the team is more focused on psychotherapy and therapy.

Dr. Kaar said addiction is largely caused by life circumstances and events.

“Basically, it’s largely circumstance and luck. It’s where you were born and the kind of thing life throws at you. »

recovering patient

Tony
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Tony started drinking when he was a bricklayer as a teenager

Tony remembers being told “stop drinking or I’ll die – it’s that simple”.

In the small room where he lived for a week and a half, he recounted his 40-year struggle with alcohol.

It all started when he was a teenager, when he was a bricklayer.

In the 1980s, Tony said, there was a real drinking culture after get off work.

“I would stay there for two hours, drink four or five pints and go home,” he added, “but then I started drinking at home too. »

Tony told me he was careful not to let alcohol interfere with a job he loves.

But a few years ago, back problems forced him to quit his job. His drinking has increased considerably.

“I was frustrated because I loved the job…I ended up going home and that’s when I started drinking.

Like many, Tony said the Covid-19 lockdown didn’t help him drink.

Then, last fall, Tony’s son committed suicide after battling depression for years.

“When he died…I just wanted to drink. I did it,” Tony recalls.

‘Miracle’

However, once the immediate shock passed, Tony said he began to really look at his life.

“It made me think, ‘I really need to quit drinking now because I need to be strong for my family and myself.»

Tony told me about his grandchildren, and he obviously adored them.

On the chest of drawers is a card made by my granddaughter that reads: “You helped me become as strong as a tree.”

Tony showed me poems he wrote to him, including poems in memory of his son.

He told me he hadn’t had a drink in 11 days, the longest sobriety he’d had in 40 years.

Tony’s eyes were full of energy.

“It was really a miracle because I never thought I could feel this way,” he said.

“I feel like I’ve found myself, I’ve been Tony for so long.

“Now I’m Tony – but I don’t drink anymore.»

former patient

Levi
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Levy says recovery from alcoholism is ‘the thing of a lifetime’

Levi left the Chapman Barker division in the spring of 2021.

“It’s difficult because once you quit drinking, you have to deal with your emotions, and it’s hard to do that without drinking,” he told me.

“It’s about finding ways to manage those emotions and manage cravings. It’s been a long journey, but I’m getting there. »

After leaving the unit, Levy spent three months in a rehab run by Thomas Charity.

He is now part of the charity’s outreach programme, which organises regular events and conferences for addicts.

“You think you can do it yourself, but you can’t,” Levi told me. “You need this kind of support around you.

“Recovery is a lifelong thing. I didn’t become an alcoholic overnight, and I won’t recover overnight. »

Whether in units or charities, group activities and therapy are seen as an important part of breaking addiction patterns.

Regular treatment groups, often led by previous patients, are critical.

One day, Levi hopes to help organize these meetings himself.

“I probably wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you right now without the Chapman-Barker unit,” he thought, describing the unit as “incredible.”

“My future looks good – it looks really positive.

“It has helped me a lot with my recovery and being here, so hopefully one day I can do that and give back to the community. »

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Related Topics

  • Alcohol
  • alcoholism
  • Manchester
  • addiction
  • coronavirus pandemic

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article What Happens to an Alcohol Detox Device? first appeared in Zimo News.



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