Severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome: review of the literature

George Benson, Nicola Roberts, Jacqueline McCallum, Andrew McPherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

This review set out to identify published literature from a general hospital setting that may highlight variables implicated in the development of severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome (SAWS) in patients who have alcohol dependence syndrome (ADS).
A systematic literature review was carried out using the electronic databases: MEDLINE, Medline in Process, Cinahl, Embase and PsycINFO from 1989 to 2017. The focus of this search was on English language studies of individuals over 16 years admitted to general hospital with ADS, delirium tremens (DT`s), alcohol related seizure (ARS) or alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS).
Of the 205 studies screened, eight met the criteria for inclusion. Six studies were quantitative retrospective cohort and two were retrospective case-control. Six studies investigated risk factors associated with DT`s, one examined SAWS and one alcohol kindling. Descriptive analysis was performed to summarize the empirical evidence from studies, were twenty two statistically significant risk factors were found; including reason for admission to hospital, daily alcohol consumption, previous DT`s and prior ARS. The last two factors mentioned appeared in two studies.
Further research should consider the quality and completeness of the alcohol history data and competence of staff generating the data in retrospective studies.
The paper suggests that the factors linked to SAWS development from the literature may not fully explain why some individuals who have ADS develop SAWS, and others do not.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalDrugs and Alcohol today
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019

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Alcohols
Alcoholism
General Hospitals
Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures
Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium
MEDLINE
Alcohol Drinking
Mental Competency
Seizures
Language
Retrospective Studies
History
Databases
Research

Keywords

  • alcohol
  • general hospital
  • delirium tremens
  • alcohol-related seizures
  • alcohol withdrawal syndrome

Cite this

Benson, George ; Roberts, Nicola ; McCallum, Jacqueline ; McPherson, Andrew. / Severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome: review of the literature. In: Drugs and Alcohol today. 2019.
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Severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome: review of the literature. / Benson, George; Roberts, Nicola; McCallum, Jacqueline; McPherson, Andrew.

In: Drugs and Alcohol today, 31.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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