Medications Used to Treat Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol detox and rehab are crucial to the recovery of anyone affected by alcoholism. However, even when you get help, the process of quitting drinking can pose a significant challenge. That’s true, in large part, because of the potential effects of alcohol withdrawal. You will receive withdrawal support while in your detox program, but your doctor may recommend taking additional steps. A variety of natural methods may make it easier for you to cope with the effects of your withdrawal symptoms.

  • Intravenous fluids may be necessary in patients with severe withdrawal because of excessive fluid loss through hyperthermia, sweating, and vomiting.
  • But as an article in The Hospitalist explains, the only real risk factor experts can point to involves prior history.
  • According to the principles of Chinese medicine, the needles adjust your body’s energy flow.
  • The key to successful withdrawal is to consult with an addiction treatment professional ahead of detox and to know thealcohol withdrawal timelineas well as detox strategies, likehow to taper off alcohol.

But as an article in The Hospitalist explains, the only real risk factor experts can point to involves prior history. If you’ve developed symptoms of withdrawal the last time you tried to quit, you are likely to develop them again. Ativanis the brand-name version oflorazepam, a generic benzodiazepine drug.

Nutritional Support

You could even write yourself a note and put it on your door every day when you leave home. Whatever it is, an injunction is something that you put in place to prevent you from experiencing a setback. Getting outside and going for a walk can do wonders if you are having a particularly rough time.

What is the best thing to take to stop drinking?

Naltrexone can help people reduce heavy drinking. Acamprosate makes it easier to maintain abstinence. Disulfiram blocks the breakdown (metabolism) of alcohol by the body, causing unpleasant symptoms such as nausea and flushing of the skin.

Some people can be treated at home, but others may need supervised care in a hospital setting to avoid potentially dangerous complications such as seizures. The symptoms may worsen over 2 to 3 days, and some milder symptoms may persist for weeks in some people. They may be more noticeable when you wake up with less alcohol in your blood. It’s important to understand that some of the alcohol addiction medications cannot be taken during acute withdrawal and require a waiting period before initiation. Understanding the timeline for alcohol withdrawal can help a person be more prepared for what they can expect, which can help reduce some of the anxiety they most likely might be experiencing. Failure to manage the alcohol withdrawal syndrome appropriately can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

General supportive care

There were four meta-analyses, 9 systematic reviews, 26 review articles and other type of publications like textbooks. Complicated alcohol withdrawal presents with hallucinations, seizures or delirium tremens. Benzodiazepines cure for alcohol withdrawal symptoms have the best evidence base in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal, followed by anticonvulsants. Clinical institutes withdrawal assessment-alcohol revised is useful with pitfalls in patients with medical comorbidities.

Medications such as haloperidol, beta blockers, clonidine, and phenytoin may be used as adjuncts to a benzodiazepine in the treatment of complications of withdrawal. Treatment of alcohol withdrawal should be followed by treatment for alcohol dependence. Alcohol withdrawal is commonly encountered in general hospital settings.


Up to three doses are required in most patients, which helps in reliably preventing the occurrence of withdrawal seizures. Most people who complete rapid or ultra-rapid detox report continuation of withdrawal symptoms, albeit at a lower severity. Patients who choose rapid or ultra-rapid detox are much less likely to continue on in treatment, such as attending inpatient or outpatient rehab. Because of this, they are less likely to work on relapse prevention, possible co-occurring mental health conditions, and life planning and therefore more likely to experience relapse. Although benzodiazepines are very effective at treating alcohol withdrawal, they should be carefully used. Benzodiazepines should only be used for brief periods in alcoholics who are not already dependent on them, as they share cross tolerance with alcohol.

alcohol withdrawal cure

One theory of how the drug functions is that it resets neuronal excitation and inhibition balance, which alcohol may disrupt. Disulfiram often sold under the brand nameAntabuse, is an alcohol antagonist. There are many different types of benzodiazepines doctors can use, and each drug is a little different. Some have a quick mode of action, meaning that people can feel the impact of the drug almost as soon as they take it. Others have a long-lasting effect so that there are smooth transitions between one dose and another.