The alcohol withdrawal CIWA (Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment) is not only helpful but can also be lifesaving for a person who is getting help for alcoholism. Alcohol has many negative side effects; unfortunately, so does alcohol withdrawal. When a person who has been over-drinking for a period of time stops drinking alcohol, he or she will likely find that a range of negative symptoms sets in. This is common, as the body has gotten used to drinking alcohol on a regular basis and will need time to readjust and learn to do without it. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms range in severity and in some cases can be life threatening. A recovering alcoholic would do well to ask for an alcohol withdrawal CIWA if he or she starts to experience negative symptoms. Most general health practitioners can give a CIWA, although it is particularly used by emergency room staff and alcohol detoxification centers.
There are a number of common alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, vomiting, tremors and in severe cases, seizures and delirium tremens. However, the above-mentioned symptoms can also be caused by other health problems. It is important for a medical practitioner to know whether the above-mentioned symptoms are caused by alcohol withdrawal or not, as this will have a bearing on what medication is prescribed. This is where the CIWA comes in. A medical practitioner using the CIWA will take a patient’s blood pressure and note if the patient is vomiting and if so, how much and how often. The CIWA will also assess whether or not a person is experiencing tactile disturbances, hallucinations, sweating, anxiety, tremors or problems with hearing or seeing properly.
Those who are experiencing moderate or severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms will need medication. Benzodiazepines are particularly helpful, and there are other medicines as well that can help reduce or eliminate alcohol withdrawal symptoms. However, not all recovering alcoholics will need medications to deal with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Each person’s reaction to alcohol withdrawal is different, and many people do not have intense symptoms and are able to deal with alcohol withdrawal without medical help. Just the same, it is important to be aware that alcohol withdrawal symptoms can worsen rapidly and without much warning. A recovering alcoholic should keep in touch with a doctor and call for medical help if he or she starts to feel ill or experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
The alcohol withdrawal CIWA is a helpful tool for any medical practitioner. It can help to save lives by accurately diagnosing whether or not someone is experiencing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This assessment tool can also help a doctor to know what medicines should be given a patient who is recovering from alcoholism and which ones should be avoided. The Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment is easy to perform; in fact, it should only take a qualified doctor or nurse no more than ten minutes to give his or her patient an assessment.