UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Modernizing Withdrawal Management Services Mocanu, Victor; Cowan, Nicole; Klimas, Jan; Ahamad, Keith; Wood, Evan


Alcohol, opioid, and stimulant withdrawal syndromes are serious clinical presentations, some of which can be life-threatening if untreated. 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 including, where available, psychosocial interventions, evidence-based pharmacotherapies, and referrals for other community-based or specialist-led services. Given that substance use disorders are chronic biopsychosocial 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 care. This narrative review of withdrawal management literature describes recent advances in clinical care for patients in withdrawal from alcohol, opioids, and stimulants.

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