Alcohol withdrawal is a health condition that is potentially life threatening. The condition occurs when an individual has been drinking heavily for weeks and then suddenly stops or reduces their intake of alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms arise due to activity of the brain neurons that have been previously repressed by heavy drinking.
Diazepam, which belongs to a group of drugs known as benzodiazepines is considered a good choice for the management of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Taking 10mg Diazepam can help to reduce the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal including seizures and delirium. Here we will take a closer look at the use of the medication in treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Overview of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: Causes and Effects
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, headache, mild anxiety, tremors, excessive sweating, and palpitations. These symptoms develop within 6 hours of abstinence from alcohol and persist for weeks. Individuals can also experience seizures and delirium within 12 to 48 eight hours of stopping drinking. The death rate from the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal ranges from 1% to 5%.
Heavy drinking disrupts GABA neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit signals from nerve cells to nerves, tissues, muscles, or organs. Alcohol intake initially enhances the effect of GABA neurotransmitters, which creates feelings of calmness and relaxation. However, heavy drinking suppresses GABA activity and an increased intake of alcohol is required to produce the same feelings.
When the individual suddenly stops drinking, the suppressed neurotransmitters become active again resulting in hyperactivity in the brain. Therefore, the effects associated with alcohol withdrawal – anxiety, delirium, seizures, agitation, irritability, etc. – are exactly the opposite of those associated with alcohol consumption. Since these symptoms worsen with time, it is important to seek immediate medical attention even if the symptoms are mild.
Managing Alcohol Withdrawal Using Diazepam
Diazepam is recommended for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms due to its efficacy profile, long half-life, and sedating effect. The medication effectively reduces the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Note that diazepam may be habit forming. Therefore, individuals should not use the medication for longer than 4 weeks without a break. Extended long term use of the medication can lead to tolerance that will make the recommended dosage less effective. In some cases, it can also worsen the condition, especially if it is abruptly stopped after long term use. This is why it is best to avoid using the medication as a long term treatment option.
On a final note, when using diazepam for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, you should follow the safety precautions relating to the medication. The drug should be used according to the instructions of a qualified physician. Your doctor can determine an adequate dosage after considering your average daily alcohol intake. In cases of mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms, doctors may prescribe 10mg Diazepam to be taken daily. In cases of severe symptoms that occur due to excessive drinking, the doctors can prescribe up to 60mg of Diazepam to treat the condition.
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