The severity of alcohol withdrawal is not age dependent

Tilman Wetterling*, Martin Driessen, Rolf Dieter Kanitz, Klaus Junghanns

*Corresponding author for this work
23 Citations (Scopus)


Age has been considered to contribute to the severity of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS). To evaluate the relationship between age and the severity of the AWS, we examined 723 alcoholics [518 males, 205 females, mean age (± SD): 42.8 ± 10.5 years, mean duration of alcohol dependence: 11.0 ± 8.0 years] consecutively referred to a unit for detoxification of alcoholics in a general hospital. The severity of the AWS was assessed by the AWS scale of Wetterling et al. (1997; Alcohol and Alcoholism 32, 753-760). The history of alcohol abuse as well as drinking behaviour in the last 6 months was assessed by a semi-structured interview. There were 41 alcoholics aged ≥60 years; they were compared with younger patients. The average severity of AWS did not differ between age groups. Daily alcohol intake and frequency of drinking were higher in younger alcoholics, but even when adjustment was made for this, severity of AWS was equal in both age groups. A relationship between severity of AWS and age was not detected.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)75-78
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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