Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal: Pathophysiological Insights

About the Course:

This article is for therapists, counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and other professionals who need to be aware of consequences of acute alcohol withdrawal. This article describes the acute withdrawal syndrome and its complications, including seizures, delirium tremens, Wernicke-Korsakoffsyndrome, neuropsychiatric disturbances, and cardiovascular complicationsas well as the protracted withdrawal syndrome. Recent findings are discussed regarding the alcohol-induced alterations of nervous system function that underlie these syndromes and their implications for the treatment of withdrawal.

Author

Louis A. Trevisan, M.D., Nashaat Boutros, M.D., Ismene L. Petrakis, M.D., and John H. Krystal, M.D.

About the Author:

Dr. Trevisan, Dr. Broutros, Dr. Petrakis, and Dr. Krystal are professors in psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Course Objectives:

  1. to list a number of complications related to alcohol withdrawal

  2. to understand the risk related to the early stages of sobriety

  3. to place emphasis on developing strategies to faciliatate long-term sobriety

  4. to explain the role of antiseizure medications with alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Exam Questions

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