Why Do Alcoholics Get Delirium Tremens?

If you drink alcohol heavily for weeks, months, or years, you may have both mental and physical problems when you stop or seriously cut back on how much you drink. This is called alcohol withdrawal, and symptoms can range from mild to severe.

If you drink only once in a while, it’s unlikely that you’ll have withdrawal symptoms when you stop. But if you’ve gone through alcohol withdrawal once, you’re more likely to go through it again the next time you call it quits.

Delirium Tremens

What Effects Does Alcohol Have on Your Body?

Alcohol has what doctors call a depressive effect on your system. It slows down brain function and changes the way your nerves send messages back and forth. Excessive drinking excites and irritates the nervous system. If you drink daily, your body becomes dependent on alcohol over time. When this happens, your central nervous system can no longer adapt quickly to the lack of alcohol.

Alcohol can impact your brain’s neurotransmitters, and these are chemicals that act as your brain’s messengers to other parts of your brain and nervous system.

When you drink, alcohol suppresses certain neurotransmitters in your brain. This is what can cause you to feel relaxed when drinking.

When the neurotransmitters are no longer suppressed but are used to working harder to overcome the suppression, they go into a state of overexcitement. If you suddenly stop drinking or significantly reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, it can cause alcohol withdrawal.

Alcohol withdrawal refers to symptoms that may occur when a person who has been drinking too much alcohol regularly suddenly stops drinking alcohol. They can range from mild to severe. What yours depend on how much you drank and for how long.

What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

U.S. National Library of Medicine states: Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 8 hours after the last drink but can occur days later. Symptoms typically peak by 24 to 72 hours but may go on for weeks.

Common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Jumpiness or shakiness
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Not thinking clearly

Other symptoms may include:

  • Sweating, clammy skin
  • Enlarged (dilated) pupils
  • Headache
  • Insomnia (sleeping difficulty)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pallor
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tremor of the hands or other body parts

A severe form of alcohol withdrawal called delirium tremens can cause:

  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Seeing or feeling things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
  • Seizures
  • Severe confusion

Delirium tremens (DTs) are the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal. Observations show that clinical manifestations include agitation, confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, fever, hypertension, diaphoresis, and autonomic hyperactivity. Profound global confusion is the hallmark of delirium tremens. DTs are a medical emergency with a high mortality rate, making early recognition and treatment essential.

Why Do Alcoholics Get the DT’s?

According to the National Library of Medicine, delirium tremens can occur when you stop drinking alcohol after a period of heavy, long-term drinking, especially if you haven’t been eating enough food.

Delirium tremens may also be caused by head injury, infection, or illness in people with a history of heavy alcohol use.

It occurs most often in people who have a history of alcohol withdrawal. It is widespread in those who drink 4 to 5 pints (1.8 to 2.4 liters) of wine, 7 to 8 pints (3.3 to 3.8 liters) of beer, or 1 pint (1/2 liter) of “hard” alcohol every day for several months. Delirium tremens also commonly affects people who have used alcohol for more than ten years.

Treatments for DTs may include:

  • intravenous fluids
  • anticonvulsants to prevent or stop seizures
  • sedatives to calm agitation and treat anxiety
  • antipsychotic medications to prevent hallucinations
  • medication to reduce fever and body aches
  • treatment for other alcohol-related conditions
  • rehabilitation to help you stop drinking

Delirium Tremens can be fatal. Your doctor may suggest that you receive treatment in a hospital so your healthcare team can monitor your condition and manage any complications. It may take up to a week for you to feel better.

Rehabilitation is a long-term treatment plan intended to help treat alcohol addiction.

Allure Detox is The New Way To Start Your Life Again

Allure Detox is here to help men and women struggling with alcoholism. We are a comfortable and evidence-based drug and alcohol detox in West Palm Beach, Florida. We can free you or your loved one from the physical symptoms of addiction and start you on the path to recovery. We offer detox from drugs and alcohol on a medical basis so that you can safely resume the life you once lived, the life you thought was lost forever. Addicts emerge from Allure Detox healthy, sane, and prepared for a lifetime of recovery. Please contact us today if you or someone you love is suffering the pain of addiction.