Occurrence of withdrawal symptoms during abstinence from alcohol is evidence of physical dependency on alcohol and helps to confirm a diagnosis of alcoholism. Withdrawal symptoms are variable, ranging from mild tremulousness to delirium tremens (DT). Early symptoms of withdrawal, such as tremulousness and even seizures, may develop while there is still alcohol within the bloodstream. Withdrawal seizures have been noted in individuals with blood alcohol levels as high as 100 mg/dL (0.1%). In the early stages of withdrawal, alcoholics may experience nausea, vomiting, diaphoresis, mild tachycardia, hallucinations, illusions, and mild disorientation, in addition to tremor. All of these symptoms are relieved by ingestion of alcohol. Avoidance of withdrawal symptoms may be one reason why some alcoholics continue to drink despite other adverse health consequences.
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