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Alcohol Withdrawal

Reviewed 06/2020
 


BASICS

DESCRIPTION

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) is a spectrum of symptoms that results from abrupt cessation or reduction in alcohol intake, which has previously been heavy or prolonged. It ranges...

DIAGNOSIS

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV diagnostic criteria for AWS:

    • Two or more of the following present within a few hours to several days after the cessation or reduction ...

TREATMENT

GENERAL MEASURES

  • Per America Society of Addiction Medication, goals of therapy:

    • “to provide a safe withdrawal from the drug(s) of dependence and enable the patient to become drug-free”

    • “to prov...

ONGOING CARE

FOLLOW-UP RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Managing alcohol withdrawal is only first step toward treating patient’s underlying AUD.

  • Discharge arrangements should include:

    • Development of plan to engage patien...

REFERENCES

1
Moyer VA; for Preventive Services Task Force. Screening and behavioral counseling interventions in primary care to reduce alcohol misuse: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation...

ADDITIONAL READING

Muncie HLJr, Yasinian Y, Oge’ L. Outpatient management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Am Fam Physician.  2013;88(9):589–595. 

SEE ALSO

Substance Use Disorders 

CODES

ICD10

  • F10.239 Alcohol dependence with withdrawal, unspecified

  • F10.230 Alcohol dependence with withdrawal, uncomplicated

  • F10.231 Alcohol dependence with withdrawal delirium

  • F10.232 Alcohol dependence...

CLINICAL PEARLS

  • Any BZD dose should be patient specific, sufficient to achieve and maintain a “light somnolence” (e.g., sleeping but easily arousable), and should be tapered off carefully even after A...

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