Supportive Care

Supportive care includes provision of sufficient information to patients (and carers); an environment and support that is conducive to recovery; supportive counselling; adequate diet, nutrition (including supplements) and rehydration; encouragement to develop appropriate sleep and relaxation habits; and facilitation of links to other services.

Patient Information

Patients (and carers) generally benefit from information about: 

      • the likely nature, severity and duration of symptoms during withdrawal 

      • strategies for coping with symptoms and cravings 

      • strategies to reduce high-risk situations 

      • the role of medication. 

Patients often have limited concentration during withdrawal; consequently the clinician may have to repeat or re-phrase information before the patient can fully understand. Written information is valuable in these circumstances, and is also recommended for carers supporting patients through withdrawal. Examples of patient information are in the Appendix.

Chapter Recommendation Grade of recommendation
8.11 Patients (and carers) should be provided with information about the likely nature and course of alcohol withdrawal, and strategies to cope with common symptoms and cravings. C