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Alcohol misuse 

Alcohol misuse
Chapter:
Alcohol misuse
Author(s):

Jonathan Wood

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0630
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date: 05 March 2021

Excessive intake of alcohol is common and increases the risk of developing many medical conditions, as well as leading to psychological and social harm. Medical conditions commonly associated with harmful use include upper gastrointestinal and liver disease, hypertension, and accidents. The psychological state of alcohol dependency makes it more difficult to reduce intake and physical dependency may lead to a withdrawal syndrome after admission to hospital. Withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe and will commonly require treatment to prevent complications of alcohol withdrawal such as seizures. Delirium tremens is a life-threatening consequence of alcohol withdrawal that requires immediate active management. The role of alcohol in the development of Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome means patients will also need prophylaxis or treatment for this in the acute medical setting.

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