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Modernizing withdrawal management services, review

Withdrawal management remains one of the essential skills of addiction medicine specialists. This review describes the recent clinical advances and challenges for withdrawal from alcohol, opioids and stimulants.

What is the review about?

Patients presenting with withdrawal syndromes offer an important opportunity for healthcare providers to ally in deciding the most appropriate treatment setting, safely treating withdrawal symptoms, preventing potentially severe medical complications, and facilitating a transition to longer-term low-barrier substance use care.

This includes psychosocial interventions, evidence-based pharmacotherapies, and referrals for primary care-based or specialist-led services.

How was the review done?

This was a narrative review of withdrawal management literature. It describes recent advances and challenges in clinical care for patients in withdrawal from alcohol, opioids, and stimulants.

What did the review find?

Given that substance use disorders are chronic bio-psychosocial disorders commonly characterized by periods of relapse and remission, patients presenting in substance withdrawal deserve a long-term and holistic approach to management that cannot be simply achieved in short-term withdrawal management siloed and separate from a continuum of ongoing substance use care.

Why is modernizing withdrawal services important?

Alcohol, opioid, and stimulant withdrawal syndromes are serious clinical presentations, some of which can be life-threatening if untreated.

Source: Mocanu V, Cowan N, Klimas J, Ahamad K, Wood E (2021) Modernizing withdrawal management services. Canadian Journal of AddictionLink

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