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Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures

more about Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures

  • See alcoholism, Seizures and delirium tremens

  • In a person who is an alcoholic, complete cessation of drinking or sudden reduction in the amount normally consumed without medical guidance and monitoring, may lead to serious problems, including some of the following.

  • Can occur within 36 hours of cessation of drinking alcohol
  • Intense craving for alcohol or another drug to substitute for alcohol if none can be found.
  • Profuse sweating
  • Increased body temperature
  • Unstable blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Cramps and muscle pain
  • Anxiety
  • Aggressive and agitated behavior
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Paranoia and suspicions
  • Severe tremor or "the shakes "
  • Frightening hallucinations
  • Seizures -- tonic clonic seizures that may occur once or 3-4 times
  • Coma
  • Death

  • Alcoholics are at risk of brain injuries from falling and may have Epilepsy (Seizures due to brain injuries).  These conditions must be distinguished from Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures, because alcoholics with Epilepsy and brain injuries require maintenance treatment for these specific conditions, while those with Alcoholism alone do not.
  • Since some problems are more common in alcoholics (i.e., electrolyte imbalances, Dehydration, Hypoglycemia, liver damage and subsequent hepatic encephalopathy, head injury such as subdural hematoma, and infections like Meningitis), appropriate workups need to be done to rule out these conditions as well as others (e.g., Stroke) as the source of the Seizures, and treat them appropriately.
  • Emergency care is required since Seizures can be fatal if not treated.  Intravenous fluids, thiamine, Electrolytes, glucose, and oxygen may all be administered until the patient is stabilized.  Benzodiazepines and anticonvulsants (e.g., Dilantin, etc.) are effective in stopping the seizure activity.

more about Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures

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