delirium tremens

What You Should Know About Delirium Tremens and Alcohol Withdrawal

Withdrawing from any drug involves uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms, and that’s true of alcohol as well. Sometimes, among other symptoms like nausea, vomiting and insomnia, longtime users of alcohol can experience delirium tremens when they abruptly quit drinking.

What Is Delirium Tremens?

Delirium tremens is a form of alcohol withdrawal that involves severe and sudden changes to the mental or nervous systems. These symptoms most often manifest in people who drank excessively for more than 10 years and suddenly stopped or tried to taper off their alcohol use too quickly.

As the most serious symptom of alcohol withdrawal, delirium tremens exclusively affects people with a history of heavy drinking. People who develop an alcohol dependency suffer from delirium tremens because their central nervous system has difficulty coping with the lack of the substance in their system.

How Long Does Delirium Tremens Last?

People who want to quit drinking, but who are worried about withdrawal symptoms, often ask this question. The length of time people experience delirium tremens after ceasing their alcohol consumption varies, based on how long they have been drinking before entering alcohol detox treatment and how much they customarily drank.

Who Is at Risk of Delirium Tremens?

All heavy, long-term drinkers are at risk of alcohol withdrawal delirium, as are individuals with a history of:

  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Other health problems in addition to alcoholism
  • Seizures or other brain damage

Symptoms of Delirium Tremens

The best-known delirium tremens symptom is body tremors, which is why you may hear people refer to delirium tremens as “the shakes.” Other issues include:

  • Confusion
  • Decreased attention span
  • Deep sleep lasting longer than a day
  • Delirium
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue

In the most severe cases, violent seizures are a symptom of delirium tremens.

How to Treat Delirium Tremens

Stopping long-term alcohol use is not only dangerous, it can also be fatal. Medical research indicates up to 5 percent of people can die from delirium tremens. That’s why it is never a good idea to quit cold turkey or try a DIY detox at home.

To minimize the risk and severity of delirium tremens symptoms, people undergoing delirium tremens should enroll in a qualified detox program, where professional clinicians who are experienced in addiction medicine will be able to monitor their symptoms and offer comfort and remedies whenever necessary.

Begin Your Healing at Inland Detox

Inpatient detox involves undergoing the alcohol detoxification process in a setting that is as safe and comfortable as possible. The goal of medically supervised detox is for clients to complete a process called stabilization. After your body and mind are free of the alcohol, you can then move on to a treatment center where you can begin your rehabilitation. Inland Detox is the leading provider of drug and alcohol detoxification in Southern California. If you or a loved one is struggling with long-term alcohol misuse, contact our admissions specialists to start your customized alcohol detox program today.