Delirium Tremens

Delirium Tremens (DT’s) is a type of alcohol withdrawal consisting of sweating, nausea, anxiety, agitation and many others. Delirium Tremens is considered to be the most unpleasant type of alcohol withdrawal.

What differentiate delirium tremens from other alcohol withdrawals are the additional symptoms such as confusion, disorientation and hallucinations.

If untreated, there is a possibility that DTs can be lethal as the additional symptoms listed above could lead to other accidents. The progression of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder caused by a thiamine deficiency as well as epileptic fits could also lead to death.

DT’s are treated as any alcohol withdrawal syndrome and alcohol detoxification is usually used to manage it, however, psychosis and confusion might draw the need for additional medication such as haloperidol.

The history of Delirium Tremens dates back to the early 19th century when it was first described by Dr. Thomas Sutton. Delirium Tremens is triggered when individuals abruptly stop or significantly reduce their alcohol intake after a prolonged period of heavy drinking. It typically occurs within 48 to 96 hours after the last alcoholic drink.

Symptoms associated with Delirium Tremens are often intense and can become life-threatening if not addressed promptly. These symptoms may include confusion, disorientation, hallucinations (both visual and auditory), severe tremors, rapid heartbeat, high fever and even seizures. It is key to remember that not everyone experiencing alcohol withdrawal will develop Delirium Tremens but early identification and proper treatment are crucial.

In rehab centers and addiction treatment facilities, medical professionals are well-versed in managing the symptoms of Delirium Tremens. They closely monitor individuals going through alcohol withdrawal to ensure their safety and comfort during this challenging time. Medications such as benzodiazepines and anticonvulsants may be administered to minimise and control the seizures and tremors associated with Delirium Tremens. Additionally, healthcare providers focus on providing a safe and supportive environment that encourages the individual to heal and recover.

It’s essential to recognise that Delirium Tremens is a serious medical condition and is not to be taken lightly.

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