Delirium tremens is a dangerous symptom of alcohol withdrawal that requires immediate medical attention. It can lead to grand mal seizures and even death. If someone has been drinking continuously for years, their brain and the central nervous system adjusts to the presence of alcohol and becomes physically dependent on alcohol in order to function properly. When someone with severe alcoholism abruptly stops drinking, alcohol leaves the body very quickly, causing their nervous system and brain into a dangerous state. Here’s how to recognize delirium tremens symptoms before it’s too late.
Alcohol withdrawal has a few very distinct stages that you’ll want to be alert to. Most experts break the withdrawal process down into four stages, but there are others who might categorize it into more than four stages. Delirium tremens is a serious condition that about 3-5% of alcoholics will experience if they suddenly stop drinking. It’s not as common as other withdrawal symptoms, but it’s so serious that you should always be alert to its stages and signs.
Stages of Alcohol Withdrawal
Experts who break the withdrawal process into four stages define each stage by time since last drink. The withdrawal stages are:
- 6-12 hours since last drink
- 12-24 hours since last drink
- 24-48 hours since last drink
- 48-72 hours since last drink
Delirium Tremens is most likely to occur in stage four of the withdrawal process, approximately 48-72 hours after a person takes their final drink. Recognizing the symptoms of delirium tremens is crucial to getting medical help and possibly even saving someone’s life. Never ignore the symptoms of delirium tremens.
Symptoms of Delirium Tremens
When someone goes into delirium tremens, they frequently have a change in mental state that will be immediately noticeable to them. Their behavior may become noticeable to others around them as well, as they will be experiencing anxiety and signs of agitation. Body tremors will be extremely noticeable. Their hands and other limbs may shake uncontrollably, and they may have difficulty focusing on anything and become understandably out of control during this time.
Hallucinations are another hallmark of delirium tremens. When someone is going through alcohol withdrawal and begins to hallucinate, it’s time to seek medical attention immediately, as this is almost always a sign of DTs. Fear is a very common emotion for the alcoholic to experience when these symptoms are present during alcohol withdrawal. They may even scream or cry. Remember, this is a serious medical event and can be life threatening if left untreated. Anyone who is going through alcohol withdrawal who begins to experience these signs of delirium tremens should go to the emergency room or a doctor immediately.
A Sign to Get Help
Alcoholism is a serious medical condition, and withdrawal from alcohol is one of the most dangerous of all drug withdrawals. Because alcohol leaves the body so quickly, it can severely throw the brain and central nervous system out of whack, leaving the person vulnerable to a number of dangerous medical events. Delirium tremens is perhaps the most dangerous symptom of alcohol withdrawal, and it should always be treated with seriousness. If someone experiences DTs, it’s a sign of severe alcoholism. It’s also a sign that it’s time to get help in one of today’s alcohol treatment centers.
Medical detox is the wisest source of treatment for a condition like a delirium tremens. Anyone who is going to withdrawal from alcohol after a long period of use might experience this dangerous symptom of withdrawal, but if someone has already had a bout of DTs, it’s doubly imperative that they go through withdrawal in a medical setting where help is immediately available in the event of delirium tremens. Today’s detox centers are capable of helping you or a loved one cope with this distressing part of alcohol withdrawal. There are many treatment options that will ease the agitation, fear, and other unpleasant symptoms of delirium tremens. The comforting thing to remember is that you no longer have to go through this on your own. A compassionate treatment center staff can help you make it through and begin a full-fledged recovery.
If you’re seeking a treatment center that can treat you for delirium tremens, contact us at 800-737-0933. We’re fully capable of helping you during even the most serious symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, and we can help you during every single stage of recovery after that. You can get help today with a single phone call.