Woman relaxing with alcohol

What Is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Diagnosing Alcohol Withdrawal

If your doctor thinks you might be going through alcohol withdrawal, they’ll ask you questions about your drinking history and how recently you stopped. They’ll want to know if you’ve ever gone through withdrawal before. They’ll also discuss your symptoms. During an exam, they’ll look for other medical conditions to see if they could be to blame.

Treatments for Alcohol Withdrawal

Unless you have a serious health condition or you’ve had severe withdrawals in the past, you probably won’t need more than a supportive environment to help you through. That includes:
  • A quiet place
  • Soft lighting
  • Limited contact with people
  • A positive, supportive atmosphere
  • Healthy food and lots of fluids
If you decide to get treatment, your doctor can recommend the type of care that you need. If your blood pressure, pulse, or body temperature rises, or if you have more serious symptoms like seizures and hallucinations, seek medical care immediately (dial 911). Your doctor could suggest inpatient care and drug treatment. Common medications include benzodiazepines to help treat symptoms like anxietyinsomnia, and seizures. You might also take anti-seizure meds and antipsychotics, along with other drugs.

Can You Prevent It?

Treating alcohol withdrawal is a short-term fix that doesn’t help the core problem. When you talk to your doctor about symptom relief, it’s a good idea to discuss treatment for alcohol abuse or dependence. The doctor can give you advice to help you stop drinking.

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