Prevention of alcohol withdrawal seizure recurrence and treatment of other alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the emergency department: a rapid review Full Text

It’s important to physically clear your body of alcohol as much as possible before entering a treatment program. During a treatment program, you will learn to cope with the psychological effects of addiction. Treatment significantly lowers the likelihood that symptoms will become deadly. If you seek medical treatment before quitting alcohol cold turkey, you may be able to taper slowly with a medical professional’s help. Tapering can help avoid serious withdrawal symptoms, including delirium tremens. Depressants like alcohol can cause your muscles to relax, but withdrawal can cause tremors, muscle tightness, and seizures. Alcohol withdrawal seizures are similar to tonic-clonic seizures, which are often seen with issues like epilepsy.

Alcohol Withdrawal Seizure

This program is ideal for higher-risk individuals who may be prone to relapse. We provide licensed therapists, chemical dependency professionals, and educators to help our clients understand their addictions and the reasons they use drugs and alcohol. Because addiction affects every member of the family in some way, family therapy is recommended to help mend relationships and educate family members about the disease of addiction. It’s also recommended that family members engage in some type of therapy or support to help them take care of themselves and help them return to “normal” family roles. Suddenly stopping exposure to alcohol results in the brain being easily roused into a state of excitability or irritability . This is due to the receptors that were being obstructed by alcohol no longer being obstructed.

Update on the Neurobiology of Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures

• Seizures are characterized by being generalized tonic-clonic, and patients have a nonfocal neurologic examination. • Existing alcohol-related liver damage is an important consideration in choice of antiepileptic drug treatment. We offer an intensive one-day family program focused on helping this vital support unit establish a foundation for successful recovery — not only for the client but the entire family. Our clinicians Alcohol Withdrawal Seizure can assess your need for medical detox need as part of our screening process. Should you or a loved one need medical detox, we coordinate with detox facilities across the Pacific Northwest and surrounding areas and can place you or your loved one in a trusted detox facility quickly. Additionally, we provide transportation from most regional detox’s directly to our facility, so there is no lapse in service.

Alcohol Withdrawal Seizure

This is known as the “kindling effect.” The kindling theory is that every withdrawal incident acts as an irritation to the brain. The accumulation of several of these incidents tends to lower the intensity needed for seizures. It’s estimated that 2 million Americans suffer the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal every year. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures are the most dangerous and dramatic element of alcohol withdrawal syndrome . Up to one-third of people with significant alcohol withdrawal may experience alcohol withdrawal seizures. The history and physical examination establish the diagnosis and severity of alcohol withdrawal.

The Dangers of Alcohol Seizures

While epilepsy can develop on its own in people who do not use alcohol, long-term alcohol use will increase the risk of epilepsy developing in some people. The primary debate between use of long-acting benzodiazepines and short-acting is that of ease of use. Longer-acting drugs, such as diazepam, can be administered less frequently. However, evidence does exist that “symptom-triggered regimens” such as those used when treating with lorazepam, are as safe and effective, but have decreased treatment duration and medication quantity used. If you have had a seizure from any cause, you are more at risk for a seizure from alcohol abuse. Seizure medicines may not prevent seizures that are caused by alcohol withdrawal. Chu NS. Prevention of alcohol withdrawal seizures with phenytoin in rats.

We divided studies based on intervention and summarized evidence narratively. Benzodiazepines decrease alcohol withdrawal seizure recurrence and treat other alcohol withdrawal symptoms, but no clear evidence supports the use of one benzodiazepine over another. It is unclear if symptom-triggered benzodiazepine protocols are effective for use in the ED.

What Happens After Alcohol Detox?

You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. When you drink, the alcohol suppresses certain neurotransmitters in your brain. Our search retrieved a total of 214 references after 46 duplicates were removed from searches in health databases.

Can Apple Watch detect seizures?

Smart Monitor recently announced the launch of SmartWatch Inspyre™ for the Apple Watch. This new application uses a unique algorithm to recognize a wearer's repetitive shaking movements that may indicate a convulsive (tonic-clonic) seizure is occurring.

Your body works hard to keep your brain in a more awake state and to keep your nerves talking to one another. Someone with epilepsyshould not drink alcoholwithout first discussing the potential risks with a doctor who is familiar with their specific condition.


Thus, repeated withdrawals during pregnancy may pose an additional risk to the fetus from that of alcohol exposure in itself. Serious comorbid conditions can be inciting events for reasons for cessation of alcohol and should be thoroughly investigated. In using the CIWA-Ar, the clinical picture should be considered because medical and psychiatric conditions may mimic alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

  • The primary debate between use of long-acting benzodiazepines and short-acting is that of ease of use.
  • Rehabilitation is a long-term treatment plan intended to help treat alcohol addiction.
  • Whittington MA, Lambert JD, Little HJ. Increased NMDA receptor and calcium channel activity underlying ethanol withdrawal hyperexcitability.
  • The DTs are most common among those who have been heavy drinkers for a long time.
  • Calculations must be re-checked and should not be used alone to guide patient care, nor should they substitute for clinical judgment.

Detox is an inpatient setting with medical staff available at all times. You may be given anxiolytic and sedative medications to help overcome the anxiety and insomnia that is common with alcohol withdrawal. Drugs like benzodiazepines are often used to treat alcohol withdrawal, and they can also be used to taper you off alcohol. You may also start to experience more serious withdrawal symptoms, including tremors, disorientation, and seizures.

Treatment must be given at a hospital immediately in the event of seizures or delirium tremens. During alcohol withdrawal, patients may require higher than normal doses of GABAergic substances . This article deals only with seizures occurring during alcohol withdrawal in adults.

Alcohol Withdrawal Seizure

Focal seizures and their symptoms can be misdiagnosed as a different medical problem such as narcolepsy, migraine, or mental illness. When a seizure nears 5 minutes in duration, it becomes a medical emergency. Another study carried out by researchers in Sweden and the United States found that people addicted to alcohol exhibit misfiring signals in the amygdala. When it comes to alcohol addiction, many people have simply lost control. Also, alcohol tends to act like gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain. Research indicates that those who drink alcohol as a way to cope with stressors and problems in their lives are more likely to abuse alcohol.

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