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Ask Dr. Gott 5/5

Medicine gives new hope to alcoholics

DEAR DR. GOTT: I am an alcoholic who has been down the road: detox, AA — you name it. I simply cannot say "no" to alcohol. Is there any new technique that might help me to become sober and stay that way?
    DEAR READER: Although there is no consistently effective cure for alcohol abuse, in an article in the April 6, 2005 Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists reported on the results of a study that tested the effectiveness of a monthly injection of Vivitrol (naltrexone) in more than 600 recovering alcoholics. The results were favorable — not perfect but favorable. There was up to a 25 percent decrease in the number of heavy-drinking days.
    The drug's manufacturer recommends that, in addition to the injection, treatment with counseling and support groups (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) should be administered simultaneously.
    Perhaps the naltrexone option is one you might wish to try. Discuss this with your primary-care physician.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Mental/Substance Abuse." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I had my gallbladder out seven years ago. I work in a health-food store. We have lots of books and pamphlets on the gallbladder before it is removed. We have nothing on after it's removed, how it affects your other organs, liver, stomach, etc., or what vitamins and food to ingest and how to take care of ourselves. I have a lot of customers ask me these questions. Can you help?
    DEAR READER: The possible effects of gallbladder surgery are normally inconsequential and consist of gas and maldigestion, welcome respites when compared to the abdominal pain caused by diseased gallbladders. Gallbladder surgery may, in rare cases, lead to persisting abdominal pain.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Gallbladder Disease." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: Please address the advantages to mother and baby of pregnant women being under the care and delivery of an obstetrician as opposed to a midwife, even if delivery is in a hospital setting.
    DEAR READER: Midwives are a vital component of most normal deliveries. Before modern medicine and hospitals, most towns had one or two women who would provide prenatal care for the mother, assist in delivery and help with aftercare for both mother and child. Physicians played little, or in most cases, no part in this event.
    Today, midwives often work in conjunction with an OB/Gyn, but that isn't mandatory. These professionals oversee the pregnancy, labor, delivery and recovery. She can deliver alone, at home or in a hospital or clinic. A physician need be called only for complications or emergency services.
    Some midwives may even provide well-child care, family planning and certain aspects of gynecology.
    So, in answer to your question, midwives are trained in the care of expectant mothers. They provide a great service, as does an obstetrician. In many cases, women feel more comfortable with a midwife, and this can be an option for women who wish to deliver at home.

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