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Flashcards in Substance Abuse Deck (2):

What are the early & late physical exam findings seen in patients with alcohol withdrawal?

With Alcohol there is no predictor of who will go into DTs

Early symptoms of withdrawal

  • Hallucinations:  Auditory hallucinations are the most common EARLIEST type of hallucinations secondary to alcohol withdrawal.
  • Elevated temperature, blood pressure, pulse
  • Anxiety
  • Diaphoresis

Late symptoms of withdrawal

  • Seizures
  • Death


What lab/diagnostic tests are done for patients in alcohol withdrawal?

  • Toxicology- Urine/serum drug screen
  • Alcohol level: people who have abuse etoh for years may normally have high blood alcohol levels, yet still go into withdrawal if they experience a sudden drop in their usual alcohol intake/blood alcohol level
  • Liver function studies, including ammonia level
  • Electrolytes
  • Serum amylase – r/o pancreatitis
  • CBC with differential – MCV is elevated with chronic alcoholism
  • Serum Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) – detects longstanding ingestion of high amounts of alcohol; MOST SPECIFIC lab test confirming alcohol abuse