Medications for Managing Alcohol Withdrawal

Most people attempting alcohol withdrawal will not experience severe withdrawal symptoms or withdrawal complications (such as seizures or delirium) that require medication. Nevertheless, medication is often used to assist alcohol withdrawal as:

  • it can be difficult to predict whether a particular individual will experience severe withdrawal
  • there is significant morbidity and mortality associated with untreated withdrawal complications of delirium and seizures
  • outcomes such as rates of withdrawal completion and symptom relief are enhanced with the use of medication
  • withdrawal medication (particularly benzodiazepines) is simple to use, effective, inexpensive and has minimal adverse events.