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The Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
  1. Andrew McKeon (mckeon.andrew{at}
  1. Mayo Clinic, United States
    1. Mark A Frye (frye.mark{at}
    1. Mayo Clinic, United States
      1. Norman Delanty (normandelanty{at}
      1. Beaumont Hospital, Eire


        The alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) is a common management problem in hospital practice for neurologist, psychiatrist and general physician alike. While some patients have mild symptoms and may even be managed in the outpatient setting, others have more severe symptoms or a history of adverse outcome requiring close inpatient supervision and benzodiazepine therapy. Many patients with the AWS have multiple management issues (withdrawal symptoms, delirium tremens, the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, seizures, depression, polysubstance abuse, electrolyte disturbances and liver disease), requiring a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach. Although the AWS may be complex, careful evaluation and available treatments should ensure a safe detoxification for most patients.

        • Wernicke’s encephalopathy
        • alcohol dependence
        • alcohol withdrawal
        • alcohol withdrawal seizures
        • delirium tremens

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