Detox Off Alcohol
Alcohol is of course the most widely abused addictive drug in the world. Some patients are able to stop on their own but many patients have an alcohol withdrawal syndrome which can be very uncomfortable and can even be fatal. At its worst, detoxifying off alcohol can lead to seizures or a life threatening condition known as DT's (Delirium Tremens). In the past, most patients needed to be in a hospital to detox off of alcohol but at The Coleman Institute we have developed a program where we can safely detoxify almost all alcoholics on an outpatient basis, over about 3-4 days.
Our out-patient alcohol detoxification program begins with a screening process to make sure that the patient is appropriate for the outpatient procedure and that they have the necessary support person to help them manage medications at home. On the first day patients attend the clinic they receive a comprehensive history and physical including lab work. Patients are then given an IV cocktail of medications designed to replenish the missing and depleted nutrients and neurochemicals that the alcohol has depleted from the brain. These nutrients include thiamine, magnesium and folate. If these nutrients are not replenished quickly severe brain damage can ensue. Patients are then given a Phenobarbital challenge. This medication both prevents seizures and dramatically calms the patient. The Phenobarbital provides relief and begins the detoxification process in a comfortable and safe way. Additional doses of Phenobarbital are given until the patient shows signs that the detoxification process is under good control. This usually takes about 3-4 hours.
Following the Phenobarbital challenge the patient can be discharged home in the care of their support person. Medication doses are calculated and dispensed by the support person. The patient returns to the clinic on a daily basis over the next couple of days until it is clear that the detoxification is complete.
Following detoxification the patient is educated about the different options for on going recovery. These include medications, substance abuse counseling and 12-step meetings.
We have found that the most successful medications to help with long term alcohol recovery includes Naltrexone implants, combined with other anti-craving medications such as Topamax, Campral and Antabuse.
The Coleman Institute uses Naltrexone implants to block the opiod receptors in your brain, which reduces the pleasure or the "high" you get when drinking alcohol. By reducing the cravings and pleasure an alcoholic gets from drinking, the chances s/he has of attaining sobriety are increased. The Naltrexone implants will be used for six to twelve months, depending on each patient's rate of recovery.
Another drug we use, Topamax, takes a different path by targeting several key areas in the brain and decreasing the release of dopamine-the "feel-good" brain chemical linked to alcohol's rewarding effects-which produces the buzz and overwhelming cravings. We have found Topamax to be very effective in the first days and weeks of sobriety. The use of Campral has been shown to reduce irritability and restlessness in the beginning stages of sobriety. It balances a patient's abnormal brain chemistry and reduces the urge to drink in order to feel "normal" again.
But here's the hard part: these medications alone will not cure alcoholism. Patients will still need to seek therapy or a 12-step program to make the treatment work for the long term. The Coleman Institute will help you make the first move, the most difficult part of treating your alcoholism, and will help you find counseling and a 12-step program to help you live the life you were meant to live: a sober one.
Just a note to let you know how things are going. Well, we all had the best 2 weeks in years!
You guys were amazing!
It looks like we have our son back and he is enjoying his new life. It is so exciting to see him clear-headed, funny, loveable and focused. We knock on wood every day and pray he is able to stay respectable and nourished.
Thanks to all of you who the chance to treat our son, especially Rachel, Dr. Coleman, Joan and (I forgot your name) who hooked up my son to the IV!
Jennifer is great…someone I will never forget. She helped through a very tough process.
It was a great experience; the staff was very caring and attentive. I am feeling better than ever and have not craved alcohol since. The Naltrexone implant works and you don’t even realize it’s there.
Dr. Coleman and his staff have done nothing short of save my life. I have struggled with alcohol for my entire adult life... He is by far the best doctor I’ve ever visited and the staff made me feel welcomed, comforted and unashamed for taking the giant leap forward towards living a healthy life. I, as well as my family, will always be grateful. Thank You!
This was our last hope for my brother-in-law. His report with Dr. Coleman and the Naltrexone was essential to his continuation and sobriety.
I am the support person for my wife and a few days ago we went to Dr. Rosenfield's clinic in Seattle for her to go through the detox process for alcohol addiction.
I cannot speak highly enough of the experience, in terms of the professionalism, kindness, and courtesy of Dr. Rosenfield and his staff and the smart, clean, comfortable and functional clinic where they work. Dr. Rosenfield and the Naltrexone treatment gives us hope again after two relapses.
The only item that could perhaps be improved is the intake process which involves numerous forms to be completed by the patient at a time when he/she is most in difficulty.
Dear Coleman Family:
Just wanted to send this thanks because you all truly saved my life and because of you I finished my addictions degreed and am continuing into Neuroscience so one day I can "service" an addict's brain. None of this would be possible if it weren't for you all!!!
You believed in me when others did not and were the first in me getting clean and seeing that there is a better life than addiction or being an addict.
PS: My implants scar is hard to see, but when I look, it puts a smile on my face! Don't ever forget me please. Enclosed are pics of me starting my new Neuro degree at college.
I have been intending to write a thank you note to you for the past year, but have failed to do so. Well, here it is. You treated my son about a year and a half ago. Your detox treatment has had a profound impact on him. He remains sober and is doing very well in his life. There is no adequate way to express our deep appreciation for you and your staff and what you do for people and families, day in and day out. You are truly a blessing to many, many people.
Once again, than for your all you are doing.
Dear Coleman Institute,
I would like to take this opportunity to express my extreme gratitude to the staff at the Coleman Institute in Richmond, Virginia. They are by far the most knowledgeable, professional, & caring medical staff that I have ever encountered during an alcohol detoxification. I am a chronic alcoholic and have been through several detoxifications. Other places that I have been for a detox really did not understand addiction and certainly were inept at getting someone through a detox without great agony. One place was so bad that I ripped the IV from my arm and left the hospital and wandered around the streets for 2 days in a dangerous medical state until I finally sobered up.
The entire staff there, from Dr. Coleman, Joan, Courtney, and the entire nursing and administrative staff exhibit the highest level of professionalism and caring for their patients. I was treated with kindness, understanding, and compassion, in addition to outstanding medical care.
The Coleman Institute is not just interested in your money. During the detox process, they help you look at ways to put your own plan in action when you leave to get you on the road to recovery and stay there. They would like you to come by and say hello, but they don't want you to have to come back for another detox.
If you are a chronic alcoholic, as I am and you read this by chance, please do not think this is an easy way to get a detox and use it as an opportunity to get drunk. Detox is always going to be uncomfortable. I am in recovery now and so grateful to the Coleman Institute for getting me there.
As a chronic alcoholic, I can't say that I will never need another detox, but if I should, there is no other place I would consider except The Coleman Institute in Richmond, Virginia.
If you, or a loved one, are interested in hearing more about this innovative program please contact our office.