These are defined as a collection of symptoms that can occur or are bound to occur once an individual who is an alcohol addict stops or reduces consumption of alcohol after a long period of use. Prolonged use or consumption of alcohol gives way to physical dependency, intolerance and lack of self-control. The withdrawal syndrome is at large a highly excited response by the nervous system of the body to need of alcohol.
Alcohol is very well known for its induction of physiological dependence. This dependence majorly is due to adaptation of the nervous system. Dependence on some of the other sedatives can further increase the severity of this syndrome.
The alcohol withdrawal syndrome’s sign and symptoms have primary occurrence in the Central Nervous System (CNS) of the human body. The severances of the symptoms and their withdrawal vary from a bit of mild symptoms like sleeplessness or sleep disturbance and a few forms of anxiety and some life threatening conditions like delirium, hallucinations, instability.
The process of withdrawal usually begins after six to twenty-four hours after the last drink. It may last up to a week and more. As to be classified for this syndrome, the patients have to have at least two of the following symptoms: increased tremor of the hands, insomnia, nausea, hallucinations, vomiting, agitation, anxiety and autonomic instability. The severance of the symptoms is governed by a number of factors, the most important being the degree of alcohol consumption, the amount of time the patient has been consuming alcohol, and a previous history of the withdrawal syndrome or withdrawal of alcohol. The symptoms are being classified as:
Alcohol hallucinosis: the patients exhibit visual, hearing or tactile hallucinations, but are clear.
Withdrawal seizures: These have an onset within 48 hours of alcohol cessation and occur as a single general seizure or might be a small episode of multiple long or small seizures.
Delirium tremens: This is classified as a hyper adrenergic state of body with disorientation, tremors, shaken attention, low consciousness, visual, auditory hallucinations. This stage occurs after 24 to 72 hours after last alcohol intake. This accounts for the most severe form of withdrawal and occurs in 5% to 20% of patients and 1/3rd of patients have an experience of withdrawal seizures.
The severity of the symptoms experienced is dependent on the amount and duration of earlier consumption of alcohol. And it’s also dependent on the number and the severance e of some previous withdrawals. Even the most of the severe symptoms can occur in a small time of 2 hours after the last alcohol intake. For this reason, the necessary steps should be pre-planned.
Diagnosis and treatment
Many hospitals and rehabilitation centers use the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol protocol for the purpose of assessing the level of the present amount of the withdrawal and thus the amount of medication required. When overuse of alcohol is under suspicion but drinking history is not clear, some testing for the elevated and high values of transferrin and gammaglutamyl transferase is used to make the diagnosis clearer.