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What could cause 7,899 of only 26,817 of Iowa's residents surveyed to have problems with alcohol abuse? That's about like asking why the tassels on the corn stalks in one of Iowa's many cornfields turn yellow when the corn is ready to pick.

This figure only encompasses those residents who admitted to abusing or being addicted to alcohol only. 5,411 other Iowa residents admitted to having a problem with both alcohol and illicit drug use. And, this number could have taken in both "street" drugs and prescription drugs. Why were 74.3% of those admitting to alcohol only abuse males? For that matter, why were 27.1% of those Iowa residents admitting to alcohol and drug abuse female?

Statistics give a lot of information, and that is good. It gives those who are responsible for providing drug and alcohol treatment through Iowa's 91 treatment facilities clues as to how to go about implementing their programs and designing their buildings so that the best treatment possible can be given.

For example, one treatment facility may decide that it would best serve the area in which it is located by treating only those who have an alcohol addiction. That may sound simple, but then there are other considerations.

Those who operate and staff the treatment facility will have to decide if they will provide the care needed for someone who is going through alcohol detox. Detox is a short form of the word "detoxification" and refers to the process in which a person's body is ridding itself of the physical, mental, and emotional effects of alcohol abuse. It can also be referred to as "withdrawal". And, at the risk of being slightly ungrammatical here, it ain't pretty.

Detoxification must occur, however, before a treatment program for alcohol addiction can even begin. Detox from alcohol is bad enough in its own right, but when coupled with withdrawal from another drug, such as cocaine or heroin, or even a prescription drug such as Oxycontin, it can be doubly worse.

During the detoxification phase, a person often experiences nausea and vomiting, increased sweating, and muscle tremors. Some people going through detox have actually shaken so much that they were unable to sit or lie down and suffered injuries from falling.

Other people may experience extreme abdominal pain. This is not only from the nausea that occurs during detox, and any violent vomiting that may have resulted, but also because the body is actually sending out signals that it needs the alcohol from which it is being deprived.

Some treatment facilities may not be able to accept patients who have not already passed through the detoxification stage. They simply cannot provide the palliative medical care that is needed during this time. Further, detoxification can sometimes threaten a person's life, especially if he was in poor health to begin with, and the facility may not be equipped to handle such emergencies. It may be necessary for a person to enter into a health care setting, such as a hospital, during detox and then report to the treatment facility once he is able.

A treatment facility that does provide detox care, however, can be an asset to a patient in more ways than one. Not only does a patient have somewhere to go while experiencing this terrible episode in his treatment program, depending on how the facility is set up, he may be able to remain there for the entire time he is undergoing drug treatment. Further, this may even be extended to include both the in-patient portion and out-patient portion of the treatment.

Having this consistency and stability may just be what an Iowa resident who is receiving treatment for alcohol addiction needs. Knowing that he will be waking up in the same place every day, at least for a while, and seeing the same people for a certain amount of time, might just make it easier for him to succeed in his goal to stop drinking.

http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/
http://infomine.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/view_record?record_id=16308&theme=infomine_popup&categories=

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