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Managing fluid volume deficit is a top priority in nursing care. Encourage the patient to drink fluids, particularly citrus juices, to help replace needed electrolytes. Caution the patient to avoid caffeine, which stimulates the CNS. Maintain a quiet environment to assist in limiting sensory or perceptual alterations and sleep pattern disturbance.

An appropriately sedated patient should not undergo acute withdrawal. If symptoms occur, however, stay at the bedside during episodes of extreme agitation to reassure the patient. Avoid using restraints. However, if they become necessary, position the patient to prevent aspiration. Use soft rather than leather restraints to reduce the risk for skin abrasions and circulatory insufficiency. During restraint, check the patient's circulation every 2 hours or more often.

When the patient is awake, alert, and appropriately oriented, discuss her or his drinking and the effect of drinking on the patient's illness. Encourage the patient to seek help from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or to see a counselor or attend a support group. Refer the patient to a clinical nurse specialist if appropriate.

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