Delirium Tremens (DTs), Could Stand For “Death Threat”, Dangerous Downside of Alcohol Detox

Delirium tremens, also known as the DTs, is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal. It’s a psychotic condition characterized by hallucinations, tremors, anxiety, and disorientation. While they can be a severe infection, illness, or head injury, it is most common in chronic alcoholics who, for one reason or another, have not had any alcohol for a certain period.

  • Symptoms can present themselves in as little as 2 hours from the last drink but typically manifest anywhere from 48 to 72 hours after the last alcohol intake.

Alcohol abuse is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Experts estimate that 7.2 percent or 17 million adults in the United States have an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Getting sober can be one of the most difficult challenges for anyone with dependency issues, especially given the relapsing nature of this condition. Heavy drinkers entering treatment or stopping cold turkey face a potentially fatal withdrawal from alcohol known as Delirium Tremens (DTs).

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal occur because alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant.

Withdrawal from alcohol can be physically painful, but anyone experiencing them is in the midst of a medical emergency. There is the danger of the cardiovascular system completely collapsing, which can result in death. Medical science has reduced the mortality rate from them over the past 50 years, yet anywhere from 1 to 15 percent of people who develop this condition will die.

  • Death may occur in up to 5 percent of patients with DT’s

DTs could stand for “death threat.”

Delirium Tremens is a severe medical condition. Because of the significant impact on the cardiovascular system and other vital areas of the body, it can be fatal.

According to the experts, it will cause death somewhere between 1 – 15% of the case even when there is adequate treatment. It will cause death in 15 – 40% of the cases when no treatment is available.

How many people get the DTs?

According to Wikipedia, 2% of all alcoholics will develop Delirium Tremens after they stop an episode of drinking.

Here are some of the signs to look for if someone who is an alcohol drinker stops. Symptoms can include some of the following:

  • Changes in mental functions
  • Confusion, agitation, irritability
  • Severe mood swings
  • Sensitivity to light, touch, and sound
  • Seizures
  • Excessive sleep and sleepiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety and depression

They can present themselves in as little as 2 hours from the last drink but typically begin to manifest anywhere from 48 to 72 hours after the last alcohol intake. The symptoms seem to spike around the 5th day of detox. With proper medical supervision, patients can begin to recover from the condition.

Those most at risk are chronic drinkers with a history of ten years or more of alcoholism. Heavy drinking is 4 to 5 pints of wine, 7 to 8 pints of beer, or one pint of liquor every day for several weeks.

Others who are at risk can include the following:

  • Alcoholics going in for surgery who do not disclose their drinking habits
  • Heavy drinkers who quit alcohol cold-turkey
  • Individuals who have developed the symptoms in the past
  • Drinkers that habitually eat very little and stop drinking for a short period
  • Most people who create it are older, but the condition can affect a person of any age who’s consistently been drinking heavily.

Responding to someone with the Delirium Tremens first focuses on saving the patient’s life. Once doctors have them stabilized, a person might need to be sedated for up to a week while monitored, and their symptoms manifest. Only after complete detoxification can long-term treatment for alcohol dependency and alcoholism begin.

Because of the risk of death and severe medical damage that Delirium Tremens can cause, a total and lifelong abstinence from alcohol. Alcohol rehabilitation, support groups, and counseling to help individuals genuinely recover and establish a foundation for a happy, healthy, and sober lifestyle.

* based on the data from Wikipedia, 50% of all alcoholics develop withdrawal symptoms when they are stopping drinking, and approximately 4% of them will develop Delirium Tremens.