Alcohol Withdrawal

With prolonged exposure to ethanol, the brain adapts by down-regulating (i.e., reducing) the inhibitory GABA A receptors—especially the alpha 1 subunit of GABA A. Ethanol also inhibits the excitatory NMDA glutamate receptors, and the brain adapts by increasing or up-regulating NMDA receptors. Therefore, when alcohol use is discontinued there is a relative decrease in inhibiting (GABA) mechanisms and a relative increase in excitatory (NMDA) mecha nisms. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal then emerge and commonly include tremor, sweating, anxiety or agitation, elevated blood pressure, increased pulse, increased respiration, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and light and sound sensitivity. If the withdrawal is more severe, grand mal seizures (usually only one) may occur 24-48 hours after the last drink.

Alcohol withdrawal may be accompanied by perceptual disturbances and is coded accordingly if the perceptual disturbance occurs with intact reality testing (i.e., the person knows that the perceptions are caused by alcohol). The perceptual disturbances may be auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations or illusions. They are transitory and usually develop within 48 hours of cessation of drinking. "Alcohol hallucinosis" is a clinical term commonly applied to these perceptual disturbances.

Do Not Panic

Do Not Panic

This guide Don't Panic has tips and additional information on what you should do when you are experiencing an anxiety or panic attack. With so much going on in the world today with taking care of your family, working full time, dealing with office politics and other things, you could experience a serious meltdown. All of these things could at one point cause you to stress out and snap.

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