Types of Medication for Alcohol Withdrawal

medication for alcohol withdrawal in woman's handWhen you or a loved one has a problem with drinking, stopping may cause withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, these symptoms can be stressful and uncomfortable. In others, withdrawal from alcohol can be life-threatening and possibly fatal. A major part of a medically supervised detox is relief through medication for alcohol withdrawal.

Let’s review how alcohol dependency is treated, medication for alcohol withdrawal and where you can find the help needed to safely stop drinking.

Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal

Individuals who show mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms may be treated in an outpatient detox program. Outpatient alcohol detox can be safe and effective when family and friends are there for support. It also costs less than inpatient treatment.

An inpatient detoxification at a hospital or other facility is recommended when people display moderate to severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, have a history of seizures, have undergone more than one detox before or have co-occurring mental health illnesses. While inpatient detox costs more than outpatient, those recovering from serious addictions need it for health and safety reasons.

A medical detox has three goals:

  • Decreasing the pain and distress of immediate withdrawal symptoms
  • Preventing any health and psychological complications
  • Providing a stepping stone to the start of rehab

Medication for Alcohol Withdrawal


Commonly used benzodiazepines such as Valium, Librium, Ativan and Serax can help alleviate alcohol withdrawal symptoms including the shakes, anxiety and confusion. Benzodiazepines also aid in the prevention of seizures and delirium tremens (DTs).


Tegretol is a recognized and effective choice to replace benzodiazepines. This drug treats mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms. Since benzodiazepines also cause sedation, they have a higher potential for abuse than anticonvulsants. As a result, physicians may choose Tegretol instead to eliminate the potential for abuse.

Other Drugs

A physician may add other drugs to the detox plan to help relieve or prevent alcohol withdrawal syndrome including:

  • Antipsychotic drugs to relieve agitation and hallucinations
  • Beta-blockers to decrease rapid heart rate and high blood pressure
  • Catapres to relieve high blood pressure
  • Dilantin, an anticonvulsant given to people who already have an underlying seizure disorder
  • Topiramate, an FDA approved drug for the treatment of epilepsy and migraines

Call Pinnacle Peak Recovery to Take the First Step to Sobriety

Pinnacle Peak Recovery has a partnership with a local detox facility. If you or a loved one has an alcohol dependency, our staff will refer you to that facility. There, you’ll go through a physical recovery, in a safe and sanitary environment. During this time, you’ll prepare for the next step of addiction treatment. Since detox by itself with no further rehab typically leads to an immediate relapse, addiction specialists strongly recommend to attend alcoholism rehab after detox. You’ll continue the journey at Pinnacle Peak Recovery to a sober and rewarding life.

Our programs offer both inpatient treatment as well as outpatient services. If you’re ready to experience a sober, healthy life, call Pinnacle Peak Recovery at 866-377-4761 today.


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