Delirium Tremens From Alcohol Withdrawal

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At Rehab Clinics we want to make sure that nobody ever feels alone while going through such difficult times. As a result, we have put together this guide on Delirium Tremens, it’s symptoms, treatments and more.

If you or somebody you know is suffering from alcohol withdrawal or dependency, Rehab or detoxing are usually the most recommended action. For more information please call us as soon as you can on 0800 118 2892.

What is Delirium Tremens?

Person with Delirum Tremens

Delirium Tremens is the scientific name given to the symptoms of confusion that can be caused by extreme cases of alcohol withdrawal.

DT is quite rare even amongst those who suffer from alcohol withdrawal, and tends only to rear its ugly head in the most severe of alcoholism cases.

The condition is caused by prolonged periods of alcoholism or extreme cases of binge drinking, leading to the increased release of brain chemicals such as GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) and chloride.

When drinking then ceases or decreases, there is a sharp drop in these chemicals, which is believe to be the cause of DT.

Delirium Tremens Definition:

“A psychotic condition typical of withdrawal in chronic alcoholics, involving tremors, hallucinations, anxiety, and disorientation.”

Delirium Tremens Symptoms

Delirium Tremens usually takes place 2-3 days into the period of suffering from withdrawal symptoms and continues for 2-3 days beyond this time.

Symptoms include:

  • The shakes
  • Nightmares
  • High blood pressure
  • Constant sweating
  • Changes to heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Extremely high body temperature
  • Disorientation

In more extreme cases, these symptoms can even become:

  • Seizures
  • Death

Survivors often describe the delirium tremens hallucinations as involving insects crawling all over the body, hellish imagery and a constant sense of impending doom.

If you believe you or a loved one may be suffering from Delirium Tremens, it is important you get medical help as soon as possible, as the mortality rate for DT when medical assistance is received is 15%, but this jumps to 35% without medical assistance.

Delirium Tremens Treatment

Delirium Tremens treatment typically involves sedation with the use of benzodiazepines including diazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam etc. This helps to fight many of the symptoms from trembling and nightmares to agitation and seizures.

Other common treatments include the anti-psychotic drug haloperidol which helps to combat the hallucinations, as well as injections such as thiamine and glucose which help to fight the malnutrition and loss of vitamin stores that often occur from long term heavy drinking.

Accamprosate may also be used, both during the period of suffering from Delirium Tremens, and beyond in order to prevent relapse.

Delirium Tremens Treatment at Home

Unfortunately, while we provide full detox at home programmes, Delirium Tremens is simply too dangerous for this to be possible and DT treatment should be undertaken under 24/7 medical supervision.

Delirium tremens patients in the UK and beyond almost always require a hospital stay of 2-3 days at the least.

As such, we are only able to offer DT treatments for inpatients at this time.

We do, however have a full setup ready for Delirium Tremens suffering patients, including brightly lit and comfortable treatment rooms and friendly, experienced staff.

If you believe you may have a drinking problem, regardless of whether it’s Delirium Tremens related or just early-stage dependency, please get in touch with us now as we are ready to help and alcohol dependency is never something be ashamed of – just something to be rid of, and we can help better than anybody.

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