Patients should be investigated appropriately in the ED using blood tests and imaging as available. ED doctors should act on abnormal blood results and seek help from specialists. Appropriate patients should then be referred to GI for ongoing management. Patients displaying evidence of advanced or acute disease should be admitted under the gastrointestinal (GI) physicians for specific management.

Most patients who are withdrawing from alcohol can be managed at home with no drugs or small doses of benzodiazepines for withdrawal. Patients at high risk of complicated withdrawal may benefit from a short inpatient stay to monitor them and adjust their drug doses as appropriate.

Observational studies have shown a strong correlation between involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous and long-term abstinence [6]. If patients present to the ED requesting detoxification they should be advised to make an appointment with their GP and be given contact information for community support organisations.