Friday, 11 May 2012

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome


Alcohol withdrawal syndrome

After suddenly stopping alcohol consumption patients can have a wide range of symptoms ranging from tremors and sweating, to seizures, hallucinations (delirium tremens), and death. This disorder is more likely to occur in patients who have been drinking daily for weeks to months. The symptoms can begin a few hours to a day after drinking has stopped, and can last for as long as 1-2 weeks.

Symptoms:
Tremors, sweating, high blood pressure, racing heart, fever, confusion, hallucinations.

Treatment:
The mainstay of therapy is sedation, supporting the vital signs, and preventing self harm. Treatment includes: intravenous fluids, benzodiazepines (diazepam Valium, lorazepam Ativan, chloazepate tranxene), anti-nausea medications, and anti-psychotics.

A history and physical exam will be performed along with other tests which may include: liver function tests, electrolytes, lipase, and a brain CT scan.

Other Specific Tests:
Ethanol level