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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1978 Mar;166(3):195-203.

Residual effects of ethanol and chlordiazepoxide treatments for alcohol withdrawal.


Eighteen male alcoholics were randomly assigned to one of two alcohol detoxification treatments. One group received a low dose ethanol treatment while the other group received a chlordiazepoxide treatment. This study compares recovery of sleep EEG and clinical symptomatology following these two detoxification treatments. Sleep EEG and clinical measures were obtained for the final medication day and during a 6-day postmedication "recovery" period. The chlordiazepoxide treatment produced suppression of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep lasting for about 4 days and virtually eliminated delta sleep (stages III and IV) during the recovery period. The low dose ethanol treatment regimen produced less disruption of REM and delta sleep during the recovery period. These findings suggest that under some circumstances an ethanol treatment regimen may prove more beneficial to the healthy alcoholic patient than current regimens which employ other psychoactive medication. In particular, the long lasting suppression of delta sleep during the recovery period in subjects treated with chlordiazepoxide suggests a vulnerability of the slow wave sleep mechanisms during early alcohol abstinence and raises the possibility that this regimen prolongs functional tolerance to alcohol effects. Continued clinical evaluation of low dose ethanol detoxification treatment is suggested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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