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Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

What is it?

When heavy drinkers try to stop or reduce their alcohol consumption, they face withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal reactions due to physical dependence on alcohol could be  dangerous and fatal.  It is must to see a doctor even if the symptoms of withdrawal are seemingly mild. Appropriate management plan of the medical condition can reduce the risk of developing withdrawal seizures or delirium tremens.

Symptoms:

Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol are divided into two parts—psychological and physical symptoms. Psychological problems are related to mental changes whereas physical problems are related to how body reacts when one stops drinking.

Psychological Symptoms

1. Nervousness

2. Anxiety

3. Irritability

4. Fatigue

5. Nightmares

6. Confusion

7. Mood Swings

8. Nightmares

Physical symptoms

1. Anorexia

2. Delirium tremens (a medical emergency appears after 24-48 hours after

alcohol has stopped )

3. Tachycardia

4. Cardiovascular collapse

5. Tachypnoea

6. Seizures

7. Nausea

Acute withdrawal symptoms typically last for about 8 hours after a significant fall in blood alcohol levels. Minor withdrawal symptoms start appearing 6-12 hours after alcohol has been stopped.

Prevention & Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms:

Today, there are two types of treatment options  for people suffering from withdrawal symptoms—outpatient and inpatient. Patients who have failed detoxification treatment at home are recommended to go for inpatient care. Rehabilitation centres help patients overcoming these symptoms. A team of highly qualified and expert doctors’ work together to deliver the best and customized treatment plans.

Benzodiazepines , Clomethiazole, Carbamazepine and other drugs are recommended. Tests are performed which may reveal—dehydration, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, fever, shaky hands, abnormal heart rhythms etc.…

During inpatient treatment, patients are closely monitored for hallucinations and other health risks. Blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate and blood levels are monitored. Medications through IV is recommended for those patients who are unable to take orally.

Cognitive behaviour therapy is done to keep the patient engaged and control withdrawal symptoms. In this therapy, patients are taught techniques that helps to control the carving for drinking.  Laughter therapy, Yoga, meditation, social activities aid in controlling alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

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