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Health Centre

Abstinence and Physical Problems

The Doctor Speaks

In alcoholism, problems experienced during recovery differ from patient to patient. These depend on the physical condition of each patient and the amount of alcohol he had taken during the course of time. Some of the most common problems are loss of appetite, sleeplessness and depression. Sexual problems like decreased sexual urge during the first six months, premature ejaculation or impotence are also not uncommon during recovery. These need not be frightening. These are a result of the long-term use of alcohol and its impact on the cells of the body. With continued abstinence and proper medical and psychological help, these problems can be definitely overcome.

To give you a clearer idea, I have listed out the most common physical problems experienced by patients during recovery. Guidelines are also given as to the diet, and other simple things that may help you to maintain reasonable health. These are given in a tabular column below. However, if any of the listed symptoms occur, consultation with a medical doctor is a must.

Let me repeat, it is absolutely essential to consult the doctor immediately.

Problems Felt Diet to be taken and other simple things to be followed Name of the disease
General sense of discomfort or distension in the abdomen Bring down intake of coffee or tea. Reduce smoking  
Dull, gnawing pain in the chest Avoid hot and spicy foods. Gastritis
Nausea and vomiting Bland food to be taken at regular intervals  
Acidic or sour taste in the mouth Antacids to be taken under the doctor’s guidance  
Burning, gnawing pain usually diffused through the upper part of the abdomen (occasionally) Bed rest coupled with eating small meals. No coffee or tea; no smoking. You may probably be required to take antacid tablets and ulcer healing drugs under medical advice  
Bouts of pain, alternating with short pain-free periods   Peptic Ulcer
Loss of appetite leading to loss of weight    
Vomiting of acidic fluid which almost always relieves the pain (blood in the vomit – a serious condition)    
Passing of black motion    
Nausea or vomiting Low fat, high carbohydrate, moderate protein diet Fatty Liver
Vomiting blood (a serious condition) Low salt Alcoholic Hepatitis
General weakness Dietary and vitamin supplements prescribed by the doctor  
Abdominal distension (Fluid retention in the abdomen and ankles) Closely monitored medical help required Cirrhosis
Tendency to bruise and bleed easily (nose bleeds or bleeding piles)    
Agonising pain in upper abdomen that travels through to the back and the chest. over several hours rises to the peak accompanied by high fever, vomiting and retching Immediate medical helps to be sought Acute Pancreatitis
Dull Cramping pain aggravated by intake of food, and relieved by sitting down or leaning forward Low fat diet. May be required to take enzyme tablets with each meal Chronic Pancreatitis
Tingling sensation that begins in the hands and feet and spreads slowly along all the four limbs to the trunk
  • Burning feet
  • Numbness may develop
  • Tremors
  • Weakness of muscle power throughout the body
Diet to be followed under the doctor’s advice Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Giddiness
  • Headache
  • Weakness
Low salt, low fat diet. Frequent check-up by the doctor High Blood Pressure
  • Overriding melancholy, coupled with loss of energy and appetite, tiredness
  • Loss of sexual urge
  • Sleeplessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Losing touch with reality
See a doctor and disclose all your problems and fears.Threat of suicide should be considered an emergency and immediately reported to the doctor Depression
  • Acute anxiety
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • May become totally withdrawn
  • Losing touch with reality
  • Imagining voices speaking, seeing non-existant things and feeling as though something is moving on the skin
To be reported to the doctor immediately Psychiatric Problems
  • Decreased sexual urge
  • Premature ejaculation takes place even before full penetration
See the doctor or counsellor and disclose all your problems openly Sexual Disorder
Inability to maintain erection and this will prevent normal penetration and ejaculation taking place.    


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