Overcoming Problems with Alcohol and Drugs 441
Physical addiction and withdrawal
When a person is physically addicted to alcohol or a drug
and quits using it, she will go through a period of withdrawal.
During this time her body must get used to being without the
Alcohol addiction and withdrawal. After quitting drinking,
it can take about 3 days for most signs of withdrawal to stop.
Many people get through these days without problems. But
since some people have very serious signs, it is important to
have someone watch over the person and give help when
Early signs of withdrawal:
• slight shaking
• nervous and irritable feelings
• trouble eating and sleeping
• aches all over the body
• nausea, vomiting, stomach pain
➤ Some herbal teas
can help the liver
cleanse the body of
poisonous effects of
alcohol or drugs. A
traditional healer may
be able to suggest
good local herbs.
These signs may go away on their own, or they may get
stronger. If they do, the woman should go to a health worker
immediately. If help is far away, give her 10 to 20 mg of
diazepam by mouth to prevent seizures. Give another 10 mg
an hour later if the signs are not getting better. If you are still
traveling, you can repeat the dose every 4 to 5 hours.
The following signs are an emergency. Any person with
these signs must get medical help immediately:
• mental confusion
• seeing strange things or hearing voices
• very fast heartbeat
➤ When someone
is addicted to
alcohol, lack of
alcohol in the body
can cause seizures.
After you have quit drinking
As soon as possible, start eating foods (or drinks) with a lot of protein,
vitamins, and minerals (see page 166). These foods help the body heal itself:
liver, yeast, breads made from whole wheat, other whole grains, beans, and
dark green vegetables. If you cannot eat, vitamins may be helpful. Take a
multi-vitamin or B-complex vitamin that contains folic acid.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012