Rohnert Park, CA (PressExposure) July 21, 2009 -- Alcohol addiction is one of the many problems faced by therapists today. It can be considered as a widely known addiction all over the world, practically because every people of any age have access to alcohols, even teenagers. However, the addiction isn't the only problem with alcohol, but also with its withdrawal syndromes. Unlike any other drug withdrawal syndromes such as heroin withdrawal or methamphetamin withdrawal, alcoholism withdrawal is considered to be the deadliest. The withdrawal syndrome can include seizures and delirium tremens and may lead to excito-neurotoxicity.
The severity of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome can vary from mild symptoms such as mild sleep disturbances and mild anxiety to very severe and life threatening ones including delirium, particularly visual hallucinations in severe cases and convulsions (which may result in death). There are currently two types of alcoholism withdrawal that alcoholics may experience in their withdrawal phase, the protracted withdrawal and kindling withdrawal.
A protracted alcohol withdrawal syndrome occurs in many alcoholics where withdrawal symptoms continue beyond the acute withdrawal stage but usually at a subacute level of intensity and gradually decreasing with severity over time. This alcoholism withdrawal syndrome is also sometimes referred to as the post acute withdrawal syndrome. Some withdrawal symptoms can linger for at least a year after discontinuation of alcohol. Symptoms can include a craving for alcohol, inability to feel pleasure from normally pleasurable things (also known as anhedonia), clouding of sensorium, disorientation, nausea and vomiting or headache. Insomnia is also a common protracted withdrawal symptom which persists after the acute withdrawal phase of alcohol.
Kindling is the phenomenon where repeated alcohol detoxifications leads to an increased severity of the withdrawal syndrome. For example binge drinkers may initially experience no withdrawal symptoms but with each period of resumption of drinking followed by abstinence their alcoholism withdrawal symptoms intensify in severity and may eventually result in full blown delirium tremens with convulsive seizures.
Alcoholics who experience seizures during hospital detoxification have been found to be much more likely to have had experienced more previous detoxifications from alcohol than alcoholics who did not have seizures and are more likely to have a more medically complicated alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Kindling can cause complications and may increase the risk of relapse, alcohol related brain damage and cognitive deficits.