A good number of folks who are placed in local jails have issues with alcohol and drug issues. Many folks think that drug withdrawal is dangerous, but the truth is that alcohol withdrawal is much deadlier and can lead to death.
Withdrawal from alcohol causes the nervous system to be hyper-excitable, which can lead to nausea, vomiting, sweating, shakiness, anxiety and agitation. The DTs or delirium tremens is deadly.
Hallucinations is one of the hallmarks signs that a person is developing DTs
People can also experience hypertension, increased heart rate, increased respiration (hyperventilation) and tremors.
Sometimes Jailers don't understand the way that alcohol withdrawal can play out. Typically, the inmate's symptoms will peak within the first two days. However, an inmate can go into the DTs after day two. Delirium Tremens is a medical emergency and if it is not timely treated, the person can die of cardiovascular collapse.
Hardcore drinkers that have withdrawn before, will tell Jailers that they are known to seize or experience withdrawal. Many times, Jailers are just hard headed and don't listen to person because they think the inmate is just trying to get one over on them.
The risk of alcohol withdrawal can be assessed by a clinical tool called the CIWA-AR Scale. It uses a numbering system to objectively determine the potential for withdrawal. Many experts recommend the high-risk inmate be assessed two times per day.
Are you having nausea or vomiting?
Are you anxious?
Are you sweating? Do you see the person sweating?
Have you experienced any itching, pins & needle sensation, burning, numbness or do you feel like their ants crawling under your skin?
Does the light feel too bright or are you sensitive to light?
Look for tremors when the person extends their arm
Is the person agitated?
Is the person oriented to location, day and person?
Are you experiencing any weird sounds?
Any problems with your head, does it feel different than it usually does?
The CIWA also looks at the Person's vital signs. If the person scores higher than 20, they are risk of severe withdrawal. 10-19 is mild to moderate withdrawal and under 10 is absent or minimal withdrawal.
If your loved one passed away or was severely injured because of alcohol withdrawal in an Indiana Jail, call our Indiana Jail Death Attorney at (219) 690-8997.