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What is the diagnosis for Alcohol Withdrawal?

A diagnosis of “alcohol withdrawal” is based on a person stopping or reducing heavy or prolonged alcohol with two or more of the following symptoms:

  • Hyperactivity of the nervous system, such as sweating or a pulse rate greater than 100 beats per minute
  • Increased hand tremor
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Transient visual, tactile, or auditory hallucinations or illusions
  • Psychomotor agitation, (e.g., fidgeting, tapping toes)
  • Anxiety
  • Generalized tonic-clonic seizures (involving muscle convulsions, stiffness, loss of consciousness)

The symptoms cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupation, or other important areas of functioning. In addition, they are not attributable to another medical condition or mental disorder, including intoxication or withdrawal from another substance.

Mental Health Library Sources:

Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.


Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.

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