Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

A little alcohol can be a bad thing. A little less may be even worse - Stuart P. Swadron MD

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

image by: Schick Shadel Hospital

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Alcohol Withdrawal and Delirium Tremens: Diagnosis and Management

Alcohol withdrawal is everywhere. We see over half a million patients in U.S. EDs for alcohol withdrawal every year. Despite these huge volumes of patients and the diagnosis of alcohol withdrawal seeming relatively straightforward, it’s actually missed more often than we’d like to admit, being confused with things like drug intoxication or sepsis. Or it’s not even on our radar when an older patient presents with delirium.

The differential diagno­sis is enormous – and no blood test on the planet will help us diagnose alcohol withdrawal. In fact, the diagnosis is entirely a clinical one. What’s even more surprising is that even if we do nail the diagnosis, observational studies show…

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Last Updated : Monday, December 19, 2022