Symptom profile and outcome of delirium associated with alcohol withdrawal syndrome: A study from India.

The American journal on addictions / American Academy of Psychiatrists in Alcoholism and Addictions

PubMedID: 23952898

Grover S, Sharma A, Kate N, Mattoo SK, Basu D, Chakrabarti S, Malhotra S, Avasthi A. Symptom profile and outcome of delirium associated with alcohol withdrawal syndrome: A study from India. Am J Addict. 2013;22(5):503-9.
AIM
To study the profile of delirium associated with alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) in a developing country in terms of symptomatology, associated risk factors/physical complications, and outcome.

METHODOLOGY
Using a prospective design, 112 patients in whom delirium could be attributed to AWS as either the sole or a contributory cause were assessed by Delirium Rating Scale-Revised-98 and the associated etiological factors were assessed by using delirium etiology checklist.

FINDINGS
In all patients, delirium was acute in onset and all patients had disturbance of sleep-wake cycle and inattention. Other common symptoms were: disorientation (99.1%), fluctuation in symptoms (97.3%), motor agitation (94.6%), and short-term memory disturbance (92.9%). In terms of delirium etiology checklist etiological categories, besides alcohol withdrawal, the most common factors were metabolic/endocrine abnormalities (76%), followed by organ insufficiency and infection (37% and 35%, respectively). Most patients (67%) improved or recovered completely from delirium during the short stay of 4 days. During the short stay of mean duration of 4 days 13.4% of the patients died during the hospital stay.

CONCLUSION
Delirium associated with alcohol withdrawal is characterized by an acute onset of symptoms with high prevalence of disturbance of sleep-wake cycle, inattention, disorientation, fluctuation in symptoms, motor agitation, and disturbance in short-term memory. There are certain differences in the symptom profile of delirium associated with alcohol withdrawal and that associated with medical-surgical causes. About one-sixth of the patients developing delirium due to alcohol withdrawal die during the short hospital stay of 4 days. (Am J Addict 2013;22:503-509).