Guidelines for alcohol-use disorders

Most cases of withdrawal symptoms should be managed at primary health centres

Following the closure of Kerala State Beverages Corporation’s outlets in the wake of the lockdown to contain COVID-19, the State has issued guidelines for people turning up with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

The guidelines for the disorders specify that a simple treatment regime is to be followed strictly in the three-tier system of health-care institutions so that tertiary-care hospitals are not burdened. District medical officers have been asked to ensure at least 10-20 beds for de-addiction.

Most cases of withdrawal symptoms should be managed at primary health centres (PHCs), says Kiran P.S., State nodal officer, Mental Health Programme.

“We are expecting a number of people, though mostly with mild symptoms,” says Dr. Kiran. Awareness of withdrawal symptoms has been provided at the grassroots for health workers and community workers such Anganwadi and Kudumbashree workers. Ward councillors who are part of the ward-level health committee formed for COVID-19 prevention could direct the patient to the PHC.

Symptoms graded

The guidelines have graded symptoms as mild, moderate, and severe. Doctors at the PHC should do a physical examination to rule out injuries and basic health parameters should also be checked, says a doctor at a PHC.

Only a few could develop severe symptoms while most others would develop mild symptoms, says a senior psychiatrist in the State. While it could be said that 1-2% of the male population would be showing withdrawal symptoms, considering the State’s population, an average of 10,000 people could be affected in a district.

Most of the severe symptoms needing medical attention could manifest three to five days after the last alcohol consumption. But a good numbers would be showing mild to moderate symptoms, which with proper management could taper off in a week.

The person would be completely out of alcohol addiction within ten days, says a senior psychiatrist.

Alcoholics showing severe symptoms could be driven to suicide, says another senior psychiatrist. Hallucinocis is often seen in addicts who have either reduced their intake or have not taken any alcohol for about 3-4 days.

It is a state of disorder in which the person hears threatening voices that drive him to suicide.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:19:06 PM |

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