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Trying to break a long-term alcohol addiction can be scary, risky, and can even be fatal! Acute withdrawal symptoms can occur within hours of someone’s last drink, causing significant discomfort and potentially life-threatening health repercussions. Delirium tremens (DTs) is an uncommon but potentially life-threatening disease that can occur after an alcoholic who is battling alcoholism stops consuming alcoholic beverages. Maintaining control over delirium tremens and alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be challenging if you don’t have professional assistance.

Many people are concerned about whether or not Delirium tremens can be fatal. This post goes through every detail, including the diagnosis, symptoms, causes, hazards, and therapy of delirium tremens. Continue reading to find out more!

What are Delirium Tremens?

Delirium tremens are one of the most severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal (DTs). It frequently occurs after a period of heavy drinking and in people who have a history of chronic alcohol consumption or who have previously had severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It’s a rare, potentially fatal condition that doesn’t afflict everyone who quits drinking. 

Only a few people who abuse alcohol will experience withdrawal symptoms, and only a few (at most 5%) may experience delirium tremens. Delirium tremens symptoms differ from alcohol withdrawal and occur at different times. The most typical symptoms are irritability, confusion, tremors, nausea, vomiting, and seizures.

How Much Alcohol Do I Have to Drink to Develop Delirium Tremens?

Excessive drinking over an extended period causes delirium tremens. DTs is a condition induced by heavy drinking that occurs over several days and over a lengthy period, as opposed to a binge drinking event which entails ingesting large amounts of alcohol (5 or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women) in 2 hours. Delirium Tremens is more likely in people who drink heavily regularly over an extended period (at least several months). The longer you drink alcoholic beverages daily, the more significant your risk of having delirium tremens.

Who gets Delirium Tremens?

Alcohol use alters the nervous system’s excitatory and inhibitory activity pathways, resulting in a slowed brain function that manifests as drowsiness and reduced anxiety. The brain compensates for the persistent presence of alcohol by modifying the interplay of these two systems with continued alcohol use. As a result, the person will have to drink more alcohol. Tolerance is the term for this adaptation.

As a person continues to drink, their brain adapts over time. When a person develops an addiction to alcohol, the brain continues to produce excitatory impulses to compensate for the inhibitory effects of the substance. Because of this overcompensation, excitatory impulses are given more weight.

Although the specific etiology of DTs is unknown, there are some risk factors to consider:

  • More than 65 years old
  • Previous DT exposure or other withdrawal symptoms
  • Taking numerous medications at once
  • High tolerance for alcohol
  • Head traumas, seizures, or strokes in the past
  • Long-term alcohol consumption
  • Going ‘cold turkey’ instead of gradually weaning yourself off alcohol
  • Seizures from alcohol withdrawal
  • Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
  • Cirrhosis of the liver or severe liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Coronary artery disease and other serious cardiac concerns

If you have some of the risk factors for DTs and want to stop drinking, it’s vital to get professional help with alcohol withdrawal. Failure to seek assistance could be fatal.

Symptoms of Delirium Tremens

Symptoms usually appear 2 to 4 days after your last drink. However, some symptoms may not appear for up to 10 days after you stop drinking.

They may include:

  • Passing out
  • Problems with eye muscle and movement
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Tremors or shaking hands and feet
  • Chest pain
  • Nightmares
  • Other tremors, including muscle tremors
  • Pale skin
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and touch
  • Confusion
  • Deep sleep that lasts for a day or longer
  • Dehydration
  • Excitability or anger
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Severe hyperactivity
  • Sleepiness, stupor, or fatigue
  • Fever
  • Getting startled more easily
  • Hallucinations
  • Heavy sweating
  • High blood pressure

Delirium tremens can cause rapid changes in body temperature, respiration, and blood circulation. This may result in life-threatening conditions such as sepsis.

Are Delirium Tremens Reversible?

Delirium tremens is a temporary disorder that has the potential to be fatal. This condition lasts 3-4 days on average, although it can last up to 8 days. Individuals’ DT intensity and duration, on the other hand, will differ. Despite needing medical treatment while experiencing symptoms, symptoms may worsen and become increasingly severe once they have emerged. It’s worth noting that if you keep drinking after you’ve finished detoxifying, you’ll be more prone to developing DTs. Prompt medical intervention for alcohol withdrawal symptoms can help prevent DTs from developing.

Delirium Tremens Prevention

The easiest method to avoid delirium tremens is to avoid drinking alcohol or, if you must, consume it in proportions that are consistent with American dietary guidelines. According to current dietary guidelines, men should not have more than two drinks per day, and women should not have more than one drink per day.

Alcoholism must be treated quickly and adequately. Suppose you consume larger amounts of alcohol and are concerned about experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, especially if you have one or more risk factors for severe withdrawal (such as seizures or DTs). In that case, you should seek medical advice and seek treatment at a treatment center before stopping or drastically reducing your alcohol consumption.

Alcohol Detox in Southern California

Delirium tremens should always be handled as a medical emergency because it can be fatal if left untreated. Inability to efficiently control body temperature, irregular cardiac rhythms, worsening seizures due to alcohol withdrawal, or exacerbation of underlying medical disorders are all common causes of death. Because persons who are older or have other physical health problems are more likely to develop delirium tremens, it is critical to seek medical help if you have these risk factors and desire to stop drinking heavily and for a long time.

Severe alcohol withdrawal may necessitate hospitalization. These problems can make delirium tremens symptoms harsher, more unpredictable, difficult to control, and potentially dangerous to your health and safety. You can contact Covenant Hills Treatment today by calling 844-268-8412 to inquire about alcohol detox and withdrawal treatment.