What causes severe headache and chest pain during alcohol withdrawal?

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Posted on Mon, 15 Jun 2015 in Smoking and Alcohol Addiction
Question: Hello: My husband is an alcoholic and has recently been drinking again. He is experiencing pain in his lower left back as well as hiccups for more then 48 hours that occur about every 5-10 seconds and then go away for a short period and come back. He is now experiencing bowel movements about every 15-20 minutes along with a severe headache. Insomnia is also an issue as well as chest pains. Could this all be a part of with
drawl since he has not had a drink in 3 days.
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Answered by Dr. Matt Wachsman 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
It's just difficult to say in his particular case

Detailed Answer:
and..... many things. First, withdrawal is characterized by CNS hyperstimulation. This usually has some lack of sleep, often with elevated blood pressure and pulse. It can cause seizures, even fatal seizures.

Bowel stimulation is more commonly directly caused by the alcohol acutely (during the drinking) rather than a withdrawal sign. It is a sign of narcotic withdrawal, not alcohol.

Severe headache, chest pains can be signs of other serious conditions that may or may not be associated with alcohol withdrawal.

Treatment would be other CNS depressants other than alcohol. Generally this is valium like drugs, generally this is in a hospital setting, and, sometimes quiet, dark low stress environments outside of hospital can be used if the withdrawal is mild (and not if it is severe or if there are other serious issues such as chest pain, unstable blood pressure, stroke like conditions, etc.).
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Matt Wachsman

Addiction Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1985

Answered : 3663 Questions

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