What is Delirium Tremens?
Delirium tremens or also referred to as alcohol withdrawal delirium (AWD) or DT’s is an extreme and severe withdrawal from alcohol that usually begins 2-3 days after someone who is dependent on alcohol stops drinking. It usually appears after you have had a long period of binge or heavy drinking.
The delirium tremens symptoms can last anywhere from 2-3 days to as long as a week, depending on the severity of alcohol use. A small percentage of about 5% of people will experience DT’s during an alcohol withdrawal, and it can be life-threatening, leading to stroke, heart attack, or death. This can affect the average age of death for an alcoholic. With the right addiction treatment and a team of professionals, you can get better from your alcohol addiction and properly recover from delirium tremens. The compassionate and highly trained clinicians at Inland Detox are here to help you or your loved one struggling with alcohol withdrawal and addiction.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is an addiction to drinking alcohol and the inability to stop due to the intense and overwhelming cravings that it causes. Drinking alcohol in an unhealthy way can put your life at risk and cause harmful side effects to occur, including life-threatening health risks.
It also includes “binge drinking” when you consume a significant amount of alcohol in a short period of time. For a man, that is considered five or more drinks within two hours and for a female, it is four or more drinks within a two-hour period. Binge drinking can cause serious health consequences and other safety risks to occur.
Signs of Alcoholism
Some of the signs and symptoms of alcoholism include the inability to cut back on your drinking despite the negative consequences, feeling a strong craving to drink, spending a lot of time drinking or thinking about it, giving up social activities or hobbies, withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking, drinking during unsafe situations (driving or swimming), and missing obligations at work, school or relationships.
Individuals who quit drinking alcohol will not all experience withdrawal symptoms. This depends on how often you were drinking, your medical history, and for how long you had been drinking. Some people will experience symptoms within a few hours of their last drink, while others don’t experience anything.
The most common serious symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include hallucinations, seizures, tremors or shakes, and delirium. Usually, alcohol withdrawal symptoms subside within a few days or up to five, but there are some patients who will experience symptoms for as long as several weeks.
If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from alcohol use, there is a good chance that there is another damage to your body or to other internal organs. It’s important to be aware of your drinking habits and get the help you need to treat your addiction properly.
Delirium Tremens Causes and Health Risks
When you drink an excessive amount of alcohol it slows down your brain and your central nervous system, because it is a depressant. When you suddenly stop drinking alcohol when you used to drink frequently, your body is not able to adjust quickly enough, resulting in your brain getting overstimulated.
When you suddenly stop drinking and suffer from alcohol use disorder, there is a spike in your amino acid called glutamate that can cause some similar symptoms to delirium tremens such as high blood pressure that is extreme, severe excitability, tremors, and seizures.
The most common people to suffer from delirium tremens include:
- Heavy and long-term drinkers
- Those who have gone through alcohol withdrawal before
- People with a history of seizures
- Adult men, especially white, younger, unmarried men
No matter what the circumstances are if you are having difficulty with excessive drinking and feel that you or a loved one has a problem, it’s important to reach out to a caring staff member at Inland Detox. Our drug and alcohol treatment and rehab center can help treat the symptoms associated with your addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Delirium Tremens
The reason why DT’s occur is due to the change in chemistry in the brain, and it is unable to handle the adjustment after alcohol cessation. This can lead to severe changes in your brain that cause problems with circulation, temperature control, and shifts in breathing. Dramatic changes in your blood pressure and heart rate can change rapidly, causing you to have reduced blood flow to your brain along with an increased chance of stroke, heart attack, or even death. DT’s can severely affect the life expectancy of an alcoholic.
- Severe confusion
- Nervous or angry behavior
- Extreme hyperactivity
- Global confusion
- Loss of consciousness
- Sleep disturbances
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Excessive sweating
Treatment for Delirium Tremens
Typically, treatment for delirium tremens is an emergency and will begin at a hospital. The most common emergency medicine used to treat DT’s and alcohol withdrawal is benzodiazepines. They work by calming down your central nervous system. You may also need fluids with minerals and vitamins to treat your dehydration. This helps to bring your electrolytes back and balance your body.
Other medications that can be used to treat delirium tremens include:
- Pain medication
- Drugs to regulate your heartbeat
- Antipsychotic drugs to help calm you down and prevent hallucinations
- Blood pressure medications
- Anticonvulsants to stop seizures
Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Inland Detox
Alcoholism is one of the most misused drugs in America and it can be one of the most dangerous substances to withdrawal from. At Inland Detox we treat alcohol withdrawal as a serious condition, which could potentially be life-threatening if not treated properly. Our clinicians and medically trained staff specialize in alcohol detox and withdrawal treatment and offer individualized care for all our clients during their recovery.
Our goal at our facility is to help our clients detox and withdrawal comfortably, limiting the unpleasant symptoms that can occur during the process. This can include alcohol detox medicine prescribed by a licensed medical doctor. Once the withdrawal symptoms are under control, we help our clients consider their next step in the process of alcohol rehabilitation.
If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol dependence and/or withdrawal, please call Inland Detox today at (888) 739-8296 to view our facility and program. Our alcohol detox program can get you through the withdrawal process safely and comfortably.
If you have questions about your insurance or eligibility with our program, you can be medically reviewed by our staff to determine the best fit for your treatment and the length of stay that is appropriate for your situation.