Alcohol is one of the most commonly used substances in America. Unfortunately, high-intensity drinking is a growing trend. About 14.5 million people have alcohol use disorder as a result.
Heavy drinking could cause you to experience delirium tremens (DTs). What is delirium tremens, exactly, and what symptoms might you expect? Keep reading to find out.
After reading this guide, you can explore the DT treatments available to you. Seeking help right away could help you avoid an alcohol-related death.
Otherwise, your health will only continue to deteriorate over time.
Read on to learn more about DTs today.
What Is Delirium Tremens?
First, let’s answer the question that likely brought you here: what is delirium tremens?
The DTs occur when a heavy drinker stops drinking for a period of time. You’re more likely to experience DTs if you haven’t eaten recently.
Sometimes, DTs can also occur due to infection, illness, or a head injury. It’s more common with people who have a history of heavy alcohol use. Your chances of DTs increases if you have a history of alcohol withdrawal, too.
As a depressant, alcohol can slow the body’s central nervous system. It can also impact how the brain works. For example, the brain’s natural messengers will start to function differently.
When you suddenly stop drinking, the brain will try to return to its previous state. You’ll experience DTs and alcohol withdrawal symptoms as a result.
Early Withdrawal Symptoms
During the first eight to 12 hours after your last drink, you’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include:
- Mood swings
- Clammy skin
- Lack of energy
These symptoms might last one to three days. It depends on the severity of your drinking.
Delirium Tremens Symptoms
About 48 to 96 hours after your last drink, you could experience delirium tremens symptoms. For some people, symptoms don’t occur until 7 to 10 days after their last drink. These symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Heart rate changes
- Deep sleep
- Rapid mood changes
- Fear or excitement
- Sensitivity to touch or sound
If you experience these symptoms, get medical attention right away.
Heroin withdrawal is a little different, though. You can learn more about heroin detox here.
Only 7.3% of adults with alcohol use disorder receive treatment.
It’s important to seek treatment at a licensed rehabilitation center. Treatment from medical professionals will ensure you detox safely.
First, your doctors will complete a series of medical tests, including:
- Metabolic panels
- Toxicology screens
- Blood magnesium and phosphate levels
They might use benzodiazepines to help reduce your alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Chlordiazepoxide and lorazepam are common medications used for treatment, too.
Your doctors might also treat any nutritional deficiencies you’ve developed.
It’s important to seek treatment right away. Otherwise, you could die as a result of respiration failure or cardiac arrhythmia.
Defining DTs: Your Guide to Delirium Tremens
To recap, what is delirium tremens? It’s a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that could cause intense symptoms. Seek help if you experience delirium tremens symptoms right away.
It could save your life.
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