ContentsSynopsisCodesLook ForDiagnostic PearlsDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsManagement PearlsTherapyReferencesView all Images (2)
Emergency: requires immediate attention
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
Print
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed
Emergency: requires immediate attention

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome

Print Images (2)
Contributors: Andrea Wasilewski MD, Benjamin L. Mazer MD, MBA, Richard L. Barbano MD, PhD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Alcohol is a nervous system depressant, depressing alpha- and beta-adrenergic receptors and enhancing GABA receptors in the brain. Therefore, alcohol withdrawal in a dependent person may cause depression of the GABA inhibitory pathway in the brain. This leads to excitation of the nervous system that manifests as tremors, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and restlessness. Symptoms of withdrawal can begin within 6 hours of drinking cessation. Alcohol withdrawal seizures are generalized convulsions that most often occur within 12-48 hours after alcohol cessation.

Severe withdrawal may cause seizures and electrolyte disturbances. Delirium tremens (DT) is another severe manifestation of alcohol withdrawal and may occur 3-10 days after cessation. DT manifests as confusion, hallucination, and autonomic dysfunction.

Severe alcohol withdrawal is a life-threatening condition. Alcohol withdrawal is treated with benzodiazepines, which enhance GABA activity. Thiamine supplementation is also provided to prevent the development of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. The Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol (CIWA) is an often-used tool to assess the extent of withdrawal and direct therapy.

Codes

ICD10CM:
F10.239 – Alcohol dependence with withdrawal, unspecified

SNOMEDCT:
191480000 – Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Look For

Subscription Required

Diagnostic Pearls

Subscription Required

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Best Tests

Subscription Required

Management Pearls

Subscription Required

Therapy

Subscription Required

References

Subscription Required

Last Reviewed: 01/03/2019
Last Updated: 01/03/2019
Copyright © 2019 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Emergency: requires immediate attention
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
Print 2 Images
View all Images (2)
(with subscription)
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (Early Signs) : Headache, Nausea/vomiting, Anxiety, Insomnia, Heart palpitations, Anorexia, Tremor, Hallucination, 6-8 hours after withdrawal
Copyright © 2019 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.