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Is Delirium Tremens Fatal?

A serious medical condition that occurs due to complications from alcohol withdrawals, delirium tremens can be fatal. Addiction to alcohol can lead to some consequences that can affect a person’s health and overall quality of life. When it comes to alcohol withdrawal, the symptoms can be severe and lead to severe complications. This is why it is highly suggested to be monitored medically while going through this process. 

What is Delirium Tremens?

When someone has been drinking heavily for extended periods of time, as they begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, they may start feeling anxious, restless, or agitated. As time passes they could begin to experience more severe symptoms such as paranoia, confusion, and even seizures. When this occurs, they may have signs of delirium tremens (or DTs) which is a dangerous condition and needs to be addressed and treated properly and quickly.

DTs usually begin occurring within 48 hours of a person’s last drink. However, the symptoms may begin as long as two weeks after a person ends alcohol consumption. Some of the other symptoms of delirium tremens include passing out, rapid heartbeat, tremors, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, and becoming easily startled among others. Some symptoms can be life-threatening, so when deciding to stop consuming alcohol, it is highly recommended and suggested that an individual seek professional monitoring and guidance.

How Does Delirium Tremens Affect Someone?

Delirium tremens affect a person by altering their state of mind. When removing alcohol from the body and going through withdrawal symptoms, it is already an uncomfortable experience. When someone begins experiencing delirium tremens, they begin experiencing an altered state of mind. Seeing things that aren’t there, becoming paranoid, and having nightmares can all affect the general well-being of someone, especially when undergoing alcohol withdrawal. DTs can lead to seizures, causing the brain to be affected long-term. Thus, it is crucial to seek medical attention if experiencing symptoms of delirium tremens. 

DT Timeline

Alcohol withdrawal and delirium tremens occur when someone suddenly ends alcohol abuse and consumption once the body has become accustomed to the level of drinking. Alcohol withdrawal can begin shortly after the last drink and can include symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, irritability, and tremors or shakiness.

Delirium tremens are a more severe form of alcohol withdrawal and the symptoms can become fatal if left untreated. The symptoms a person may experience can include confusion, disorientation, agitation, hallucinations, and seizures. These symptoms usually begin 48 hours after alcohol cessation and progressively worsen as time goes on. Receiving proper care is crucial to preventing long-term and fatal results from delirium tremens. 

Can Delirium Tremens Be Fatal?

Although rare, delirium tremens can be fatal. Because DTs cause some severe symptoms, if left untreated, these symptoms can lead to fatal results. People who are treated quickly and properly generally tend to recover quickly, with no long-lasting effects from delirium tremens. It is crucial to seek proper medical care when trying to recover from alcohol addiction and delirium tremens. When left untreated, DT symptoms can become increasingly more severe and potentially cause death. 

There are medical professionals who can treat the symptoms of delirium tremens, help to prevent the worsening of these symptoms, and allow for a positive outcome when a person is choosing to end alcohol abuse. 

Treatment for Delirium Tremens

The good news is delirium tremens can be treated. When proper medical care is received as promptly as possible, those who are undergoing alcohol withdrawal or delirium tremens can make a full recovery with minimal impact on daily life. If a loved one has delirium tremens, encouraging them to seek support can help them get through the symptoms comfortably and safely. 

Delirium tremens can be fatal, and this is why it is important to have them treated properly. Proper treatment for DTs includes: 

  • Fluids: Vitamins, electrolytes, and water can help to treat dehydration that is caused by alcohol withdrawal and also contributes to DTs.
  • Oxygen therapy: This can help someone maintain regular and proper breathing patterns.
  • Mental health: Addressing underlying mental health conditions can help prevent symptoms from worsening.
  • Monitoring: Heart rate and other vital sign monitoring can help to address things like blood pressure and fever as time passes.
  • Therapies: Participating in therapies that can be conducive to recovery from alcohol addiction can help to prevent returning to the patterns that led to alcohol abuse. Maintaining recovery is crucial to being able to overcome the addiction to alcohol.
  • Medication-assisted treatment: Medications can help to ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings during detox.

Begin Healing in Nashville, TN

Delirium tremens can be extremely dangerous to those who experience them. The health effects can be long-lasting and harmful. Struggling with alcohol is just as dangerous. However, there is help available. Brentwood Springs Detox in Nashville, Tennessee, can help to avoid the dangerous effects of delirium tremens and make the process of detox more comfortable. If someone you know is struggling, reach out for help. Contact us and begin healing today.

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