Delirium Tremens (DTs): What is it, Signs, Timeline, Risk Factors & Treatment

Delirium Tremens

What is Delirium Tremens?

When a person becomes addicted to alcohol, a professional will diagnose an alcohol use disorder. One of the symptoms of an alcohol use disorder is the experience of withdrawal, or unpleasant side effects, when a person reduces alcohol consumption or stops drinking. Withdrawal occurs because the body becomes dependent upon alcohol and then does not function properly without it.

Sometimes alcohol withdrawal is mild and includes symptoms such as tremor, headache, and upset stomach, which pass within a few days, according to the Industrial Psychiatry Journal. On the other hand, severe cases of withdrawal can lead to a serious condition called delirium tremens. Experts report that only about 5 percent of people who suffer from alcohol withdrawal will experience delirium tremens, but those who do will require immediate medical treatment.

Alcohol Withdrawal Complications: What Can Happen

Alcohol Withdrawal Complications

While alcohol can be safe in moderation, alcohol abuse is dangerous and can lead to various problems, such motor vehicle crashes, health issues, and even alcohol addiction. The development of an alcohol addiction, which medical professionals refer to as an alcohol use disorder, is more likely when a person drinks heavily.

Heavy drinking, as described by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as women consuming more than three drinks in a day and men consuming more than four drinks on a given day, can lead a person to become dependent upon alcohol. This means that when a person stops drinking, he or she will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Undergoing alcohol withdrawal is one of the symptoms of an alcohol use disorder. While withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be mild and relatively harmless, there are cases when a person can experience complications from alcohol withdrawal.