Alcohol withdrawal pathophysiology

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aditya Govindavarjhulla, M.B.B.S. [2]

Pathophysiology

  • Prolonged exposure to alcohol results in inhibition of the inhibitory GABA A-type and NMDA-type glutamate receptors located in the CNS. Without the alcohol, greater CNS excitability results, due to lack of inhibition on the CNS inhibitory receptors by alcohol.
  • Elevated norepinephrine has been found in the CSF patients in acute alcohol withdrawal. It is postulated that there is a decreased amount of alpha 2-receptors, resulting in less inhibition of presynaptic norepinephrine release.

References


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