People in West Virginia who usually drink four to five pints of wine, seven to eight pints of beer or one pint of hard alcohol daily for about 10 years may develop delirium tremens when they quit drinking. This life-threatening condition is more common if the person has not eaten enough food.
When does delirium tremens occur?
Delirium tremens can occur within 12 hours of the person taking their last drink. It can also develop up to 10 days later. Therefore, a person arrested for DUI may experience delirium tremens during the booking process.
Symptoms of delirium tremens
There can be many signs of delirium tremens, including:
- Angry outbursts
- Increased tremors
- Changed cognitive abilities
- Increased sleep, often lasting over 24 hours
- Seeing or hearing hallucinations
- Frequent bursts of energy
- Increased restlessness
- Increased sensitivity to light, sounds or smells
What makes delirium tremens life-threatening?
A person suffering from delirium tremens can experience generalized tonic-clonic seizures. They often occur within the first two days of the person taking their last drink. During the episode, the person may lose control of their body and fall or have a car accident. In some cases, these seizures can result in strokes as electrical impulses do not travel through the body correctly.
Treatment for delirium tremens
Medical intervention during delirium tremens can be required to save the person’s life. This often requires balancing the body’s electrolytes and ensuring that they stay hydrated. Then, doctors usually recommend that the person avoid alcohol for the rest of their lives and get counseling to help them stop drinking.
Delirium tremens is not the only condition that can result from alcohol withdrawal. Therefore, consider how much you drink regularly, and if you’re planning to stop, talk to your doctor.