Alcohol Dependence, Withdrawal, and Relapse

About the Course:

Continued excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the development of dependence that is associated with a withdrawal syndrome when alcohol consumption is ceased or substantially reduced. This syndrome comprises physical signs as well as psychological symptoms that contribute to distress and psychological discomfort. For some people the fear of withdrawal symptoms may help perpetuate alcohol abuse; moreover, the presence of withdrawal symptoms may contribute to relapse after periods of abstinence. Withdrawal and relapse have been studied in both humans and animal models of alcoholism.

Journal/Publisher:

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Publication Date:

Alcohol Research and Health, Volume 21, Number 4, 2008

Author

Howard C. Becker, Ph.D.

About the Author:

Howard C. Becker, Ph.D., is a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Medical University of South Carolina and VA Medical Center, Charleston, South Carolina.

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially addiction counselors, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about alcohol dependence, withdrawal, and relapse. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Discuss the causes and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, and methods employed to study alcohol relapse behavior.

  2. Describe the process of alcohol dependence, withdrawal, and relapse, and the role of withdrawal-related stress and anxiety in relapse behaviors.

  3. Explain the effects of repeated alcohol withdrawals, and discuss implications for treatment options.

Exam Questions

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