Delirium Tremens Treatment

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Overcoming addiction starts with a resolution which is the only thing a person must do on their own. At Archstone Behavioral Health center, clinicians and counselors make sure our clients never fight this battle alone. Trying to break the vicious circle at the core of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) alone by decreasing the use of alcohol can result in Delirium Tremens. Without adequate Delirium Tremens symptoms treatments, this most severe form of alcohol withdrawal can be fatal. This is why it becomes paramount to learn and recognize the early signs, contact us and begin ETOH (ethanol alcohol, drinking alcohol) detox at Lantana Florida treatment center before discontinuing alcohol use.

Peaceful Lantana beach in Florida at sunset helps in delirium tremens treatments.
A comfortable and relaxing setting at Archstone Behavioral Health center in Lantana, FL aids in the recovery process.

What is Delirium Tremens?

Alcohol withdrawal delirium demonstrating visual hallucinations, profound confusion, cardiovascular collapse, and autonomic hyperactivity is known as Delirium Tremens or DTs. This cluster of symptoms occurs due to abrupt alcohol withdrawal in chronic alcohol misusers. Most often it happens between 48 and 96 hours after the last drink and may last up to 5 days. However, it may show even after 7 to 10 days, depending on the risk factors.

The Symptoms of Delirium Tremens

The symptoms of DTs progress from earlier symptoms of alcohol withdrawal; they don’t just occur suddenly. They change quickly over the day, so it is vital to treat their appearance as a medical emergency. Early withdrawal symptoms appear 6 hours after the last drink and involve:

  • Headache
  • Palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms

If left untreated, these minor symptoms advance toward:

  • Visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations
  • Irritability, excitement, restlessness, agitation, fear, or aggression
  • Profound confusion
  • Trembling, tachycardia, hypertension
  • Sweating, on the face and palms
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Impaired consciousness
  • Body tremors or seizures (latter most common in the first 12 to 48 hours after the last drink).

Although there are various risk factors related to the development of Delirium Tremens, knowing the time since the last drink is critical to recognizing the severity of symptoms.

How Does Alcohol Abuse Cause Delirium Tremens?

As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol changes the balance between inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters. The use of alcohol enhances the activity of inhibitory neurotransmitters, the brain function slows down and the person experiences feelings of reduced anxiety and sedation. The continuous use of alcohol spurs the brain to compensate for its presence and the result is tolerance to alcohol.

Two men in a conversation
A personal, individualized approach to alcohol misuse treatment greatly benefits people in recovery.

This prolonged alcohol abuse develops a dependence. It is such, that once the use of alcohol is discontinued, the overproduction of excitatory neurotransmitters elicits a hyper-response in a person. This response is perceived as alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Who is a Candidate For the Delirium Tremens symptoms treatments in Lantana?

Learning about risk factors and recognizing the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal at an early stage is vital for the prevention of DTs. As abruptly discontinued alcohol misuse results in withdrawal symptoms that progress rapidly, it is advised to start ETOH addiction treatment at our inpatient drug detox center Florida before the use of alcohol is discontinued. The risk factors influencing the development and severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms involve:

  • Large quantities of alcohol consumed in the weeks before the withdrawal
  • History of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including withdrawal seizures or DTs
  • Concurrent illnesses, including liver or heart disease, or infection
  • Major injuries such as traumatic brain injury
  • Low potassium (hypokalemia)
  • Poor general health, especially the absence of a well-balanced diet
  • Use of other medications or supplements
  • Having a psychiatric disorder
  • Advanced age

The symptoms of Delirium Tremens more frequently occur in persons with a history of alcohol abuse longer than 10 years. Clinicians at Archstone Behavioral Health take into account the patient’s clinical presentation and history to evaluate the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms and decide on the appropriate treatment of Delirium Tremens symptoms.

Medications in Use

The goal of every alcohol withdrawal treatment is to put anxiety under control, lower the risk of seizures, and decrease morbidity and mortality. A validated and most commonly used medical treatment for alcohol withdrawal is a benzodiazepine, administered intravenously. If the benzodiazepine used, such as lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), or chlordiazepoxide (Librium), is determined insufficient to manage the symptoms, barbiturates (phenobarbital) are used to complement the treatment.

A group of people talking
Group sessions during alcohol rehab help patients learn from other’s experiences and develop a sense of belonging.

Immediate assistance in the case of DTs involves relieving the symptoms and preventing complications that ultimately can save a patient’s life. Medications used in the treatment serve to sedate the patient until the Delirium Tremens episode is finished, and treat tremors, seizures, anxiety and mental disorders if present. History of other medical problems including pancreatitis, pneumonia, as well as advanced age can lead to increased mortality from DTs. This is why medical supervision during the withdrawal process is vital and available at an inpatient detox center.

Medical Studies and Statistics

It is vital to note that a person’s risk for Alcohol Use Disorder depends on a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. For example, the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS) finds that 60% of Americans consumed more alcohol during COVID-19 lockdowns. Despite about 50-60% of vulnerability to Alcohol Use Disorder being genetic, other reported reasons for alcohol abuse include:

  • Heightened external stress (45.7%)
  • Increased alcohol availability (34.4%)
  • Boredom (30.1%)

NCDAS’s most concerning statistics refer to the age threshold of alcohol users, which is getting lower. They have determined that:

  • About 10% of Americans aged 12 years and older had Alcohol Use Disorder in 2020, of which 1.7% were 12- to 17-year-old children.
  • Girls between 12 and 17 years old are 61.5% more likely to have the disorder than boys of the same age.
  • Nearly 90% of 21st birthday celebrators consume alcohol.
  • Around 12% of children younger than 17 live with at least one parent with AUD, and among them, around 18% live in single-parent households.

Despite the alcohol abuse statistics were grave before the pandemic and remain so, education about the risks of alcohol abuse and overdose helps in the evasion of negative outcomes.

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Alcohol Overdose and DTs Prevention

Alcohol overdose prevention starts with learning about how much alcohol is too much. A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is considered an alcohol overdose. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has defined drinking levels that correspond to moderate drinking as well as levels that increase the risk of AUD according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Drinking in moderation refers to limiting daily consumption of alcohol for adults of legal age to 2 drinks or less for men and 1 drink or less for women.
  • Binge drinking for men is defined as consuming at least five alcoholic drinks, and for women at least four alcoholic drinks within a couple of hours on one or more days in the previous month.
  • Heavy drinking refers to drinking more than 4 alcoholic drinks daily, or more than 14 drinks weekly, for men, or drinking more than 3 alcoholic drinks daily, or more than 7 alcoholic drinks weekly for women.

In other words, heavy alcohol consumption defines as binge drinking on more than five days in the past month, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and their annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

A laptop screen showing a group online meeting discussing delirium tremens treatments
A support group is never too far to assist a person in recovery in their time of need.

Steps in the prevention of alcohol overdose

Preventing alcohol overdose implies:

  • Not drinking and if drinking, consuming moderate amounts of alcohol.
  • Drinking slowly. A large dose of alcohol consumed too quickly puts the person at risk of an alcohol overdose.
  • Avoiding drinking alcohol on empty stomach. Food won’t prevent the overdose but will slow down alcohol absorption.
  • Limiting alcohol availability. Keep alcohol out of reach of children and teens by childproofing your home. If your child has been treated for alcohol overdose, seek follow-up care.

Non-users understanding the symptoms of alcohol overdose as well as symptoms of late-stage alcohol withdrawal can help the afflicted greatly by immediately contacting the emergency number.

Preventing Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens symptom treatment falls under the group of alcohol addiction treatments, which by definition take time to bring lasting results. However, timely action is of utmost importance during the emergency as the symptoms of withdrawal progress quickly. Preventing the symptoms of DTs from recurring implies going through a period of “drying out” first. It is followed by lifelong abstinence, which can be ensured by attending support groups or counseling.

Effectiveness of Delirium Tremens Symptoms Treatments

Delirium Tremens is not a condition but an emergency, and as such, it is not permanent. The symptoms are treated immediately, after which the patient follows through a typical alcohol detox protocol. The effectiveness of the treatment depends greatly on the severity of symptoms, comorbidities, and age. As well, response to medical treatment, type, and intensity of symptoms are individual.

It is critical to note that drinking after the detox is completed greatly increases the chance of Delirium Tremens in the future. On a positive note, the mortality rate from DTs substantially decreases with the recognition of early symptoms and alcohol addiction treatment. According to a study from SUNY Upstate Medical University, early recognition of alcohol withdrawal symptoms reduces the mortality rate to less than 5%.

What Comes After?

A lasting recovery and prevention of relapse depend on a patient attending a support group regularly and continuously. The patient should be directed to alcoholic anonymous for long-term support. Patients who battle depression or have anxiety issues will benefit from visits to a psychiatrist. Also, some patients should attend cognitive behavior therapy to help prevent relapse.

As alcohol addiction often goes entwined with other types of opiate addictions it is vital to treat the complex condition competently. Our work at Archstone Behavioral Health opiate detox center Florida is centered around different types of detox and withdrawal treatments:

Combining experience and expertise, a supportive and comfortable environment during alcohol addiction treatment we help our patients work towards their long-time sobriety goals.

Kosher Recovery Programs

Apart from the standard programs aimed at helping our patients on the long road to recovery, we provide a Kosher Recovery Program which underlines the significance of spirituality and religious devotion and behavior during treatment. A kosher recovery program does not only help patients strengthen their link with God; it offers constant supervision and accountability required by men unable to stay sober on their own in the past.

An elderly couple hugging after delirium tremens treatments
A strong support network is vital during delirium tremens symptom treatments and is often strengthened during the recovery process.

The benefits of attending the program are many. Throughout treatment, a patient is offered an

  • An individualized treatment plan, that caters to their specific needs
  • Group therapy sessions, encourage the patient to share and learn from others
  • Life skills training, that assists the patient’s reintegration and provides healthy coping mechanisms
  • Relapse prevention planning, which provides additional support after the detox and before reintegration

To build structure in the patient’s life and aid in creating healthy life habits, the program provides access to diet planning services and exercise facilities. Family and friends are the patient’s most important support network. So, to positively boost patients’ relationships, the Kosher Recovery Program encourages Jewish traditions such as Shabbat dinners and holiday celebrations.

Contact Archstone Behavioral Health and Start Your Recovery Today

Dealing with an alcohol addiction either as a user or as a user’s family member is a serious, everyday challenge. That is why a solid approach to a resolution starts with contacting our therapy specialists at Archstone Behavioral Health for information on delirium tremens symptom treatments and alcohol rehab. Asking for assistance in treating the symptoms of DTs in our Lantana, FL facility is the best first step a patient can take. Our team of trained specialists will lead both the patient and their family through the remaining steps toward long-term recovery.


How much alcohol does it take to get DTs?

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms don’t happen suddenly which makes DTs different from acute alcohol poisoning. Delirium Tremens symptoms occur when a person stops drinking alcohol after several months of heavy use. On average, it takes about 2 liters of wine (4.5 pints), 3.5 liters of beer (7.5 pints), and about half a liter (1 pint) of hard liquor consumed daily over a span of several months to develop conditions leading to DTs.

How long am I at risk of Delirium Tremens?

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal most commonly show two days after a person stopped drinking alcohol, however, it may happen seven and even ten days after the moment of discontinued alcohol use. Usually, the symptoms last about five days.

How would I know I have DTs?

A person experiencing Delirium Tremens feels sleepy or tired, has difficulty thinking, and is in a state of reduced sensibility. Moreover, a person is agitated, hyperactive, and sensitive to light, touch, and sound stimulation. It is vital to learn to recognize both early and advanced symptoms.

Do I have to contact an emergency when I notice symptoms of Delirium Tremens?

Absolutely yes. The sooner the symptoms are noticed, the better the chance of successful Delirium Tremens symptom treatments. Early access to medical assistance greatly decreases the mortality rate in DTs patients.

Can I get DTs repeatedly?

Yes, symptoms of alcohol withdrawal will return in a more advanced form if a person starts drinking again after a detox. The fact puts a strong emphasis on alcohol addicition therapy and long-term sobriety.

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