Alcohol withdrawal syndrome: Identification, assessment, and management (3/3)

CPD hours:

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is common in heavy drinkers after an abrupt cessation or severe reduction in alcohol intake.

However, when admitted to the hospital or critical care for unrelated reasons, people with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) or dependence are often not identified, and symptoms of AWS may go unrecognised and untreated.

Unless diagnosed and managed appropriately, alcohol withdrawal syndrome can progress to serious and life-threatening conditions, including seizures and alcohol withdrawal delirium.

Nurses and midwives have a critical role in recognising this group of people, predicting their risk for alcohol withdrawal, and evaluating the severity of symptoms.

In this third part of our series on AUDs, we assist nurses and midwives in understanding the pathophysiology and progression of alcohol withdrawal syndrome and discuss how to monitor and manage these people appropriately.

Participants will learn how to minimise discomfort, prevent complications, and support people in completing withdrawal safely.

This module is part of a series of three on alcohol use disorders. The three modules are:

  • Alcohol use disorders and the physiological effects of alcohol
  • Alcohol use disorders: Screening and brief interventions
  • Alcohol withdrawal syndrome: Identification, assessment, and management

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At the end of this eLearning Activity participants will be able to:

  • Understand the causes, pathophysiology, and progression of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
  • Recognise the predictors and symptoms of complicated withdrawal states.
  • Monitor and manage people presenting with mild to severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
  • Understand the medications used to support withdrawal management.

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • This is learning objective 1.
  • This is learning objective 2.
  • This is learning objective 3.
  • This is learning objective 4.
  • This is learning objective 5.
  • This is learning objective 6.

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