If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers of alcohol withdrawal. One of the most serious risks is delirium tremens, a condition that can occur when someone quits drinking after a long period of heavy drinking. Keep reading to learn more about delirium tremens and how to get help if you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction.
What is delirium tremens?
Delirium tremens (DTs) is a serious condition that can develop in people struggling with alcohol addiction. DTs is a type of delirium, which is a group of symptoms that include confusion and changes in mental function. DTs can cause death in some cases. When choosing a recovery program, be sure to look for a facility that offers treatment specifically for DTs alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
DTs may occur when someone suddenly stops drinking or experiences a significant decrease in alcohol intake after a prolonged period of heavy drinking. The exact cause of delirium tremens is unknown, but it is thought to be related to changes in brain chemistry that occur with alcohol withdrawal. These changes can result in cognitive impairment and have a negative impact on the nervous system.
What are the symptoms of delirium tremens?
Symptoms of DTs usually occur within 48 hours after the person stops drinking but can occur as many as five days after the last drink. Symptoms may include:
- Changes in alertness and cognition
- Racing heart rate
- Nausea and vomiting
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of DTs, it is imperative to seek medical help immediately.
What is the treatment for delirium tremens?
Delirium tremens can be diagnosed based on a person’s symptoms and history of alcohol use. A physical examination may also be performed to look for signs of alcoholism of the condition. The goals of DTs treatment are to manage symptoms, prevent further health complications, and promote recovery.
Treatment for DTs typically involves hospitalization and supportive care. Symptom control may include the use of medications such as sedatives, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants. Additionally, people with DTs may require intravenous fluids and nutrition support.
The prognosis for someone with DTs depends on the severity of the condition and how soon it is treated. In some cases, DTs can lead to coma or death.
Are there any long-term effects associated with delirium tremens?
Although DTs can be deadly, it’s important to note that the majority of people who experience it recover without any long-term problems. However, there are a few potential long-term effects associated with DTs. These include:
Cognitive problems: People who experience DTs may have trouble thinking clearly and remembering things for a while after they recover. This is called cognitive impairment and can last for months or even years.
Seizure disorder: Some people who experience DTs go on to develop seizure disorders. This means they may have seizures regularly even if they don’t drink alcohol anymore.
Psychosis: In rare cases, people who experience DTs may develop psychosis, which is a mental illness that causes them to see or hear things that aren’t real.
What can family and friends do to help someone with delirium tremens?
Family and friends can provide support to someone with delirium tremens by remaining calm and understanding. It is important to avoid any type of confrontation or stress, as this can aggravate the symptoms. Family and friends can also help by ensuring that the individual is comfortable and has everything they need, such as food, water, and bathroom access. If the person is experiencing hallucinations or delusions, try to rationalize with them respectfully. It is also helpful to keep communication open and positive.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important to be able to identify the symptoms of delirium tremens. DTs can be fatal and may lead to long-term health problems if not diagnosed and properly managed.