Korean J Gastroenterol.  2020 Aug;76(2):71-77. 10.4166/kjg.2020.76.2.71.

Assessment and Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

  • 1Department of Psychology Graduate School, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Korea
  • 2Chuncheon Community Addiction Management Center, Chuncheon, Korea
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Konkuk University Chungju Hospital, Chungju, Korea
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Hallym University Chuncheon Sacred Heart Hospital, Chuncheon, Korea


Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) is the most common and well-known condition occurring after intentional or unintentionalcessation or decreasing heavy drinking. Approximately 5-10% of these people are suffering from serious medical and psychiatricproblems, withdrawal seizures, perceptual disturbances, and delirium tremens. Despite acute medical conditions with the highmortality of severe AWS, proper management could decrease the severity and mortality of AWS. The Clinical Institute withdrawalassessment for alcohol-revised version is a valid, reliable, and sensitive instrument for assessing the clinical course and thetreatment monitoring of alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepine is the pharmacotherapy of choice for alcohol withdrawal. Diazepamor lorazepam treatment is best initiated early in the course of alcohol withdrawal to prevent progression to more severewithdrawal. There are three strategies for the pharmacotherapy of AWS. After the treatment of AWS, most patients should bemanaged or treated by the continuing care, including the psychosocial treatments, community-based management, and programsfor preventing recurrence of AWS.


Alcohol withdrawal syndrome; Benzodiazepines; Continuing care
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