Due to alcohol’s cultural prevalence and widespread acceptance, we tend to forget it is the world’s deadliest drug. It can damage multiple organs and systems, is a major carcinogen, and can also cause or worsen mental illnesses like depression.
If you have relied on alcohol for a long time and try to quit drinking cold turkey, you will likely experience an array of withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and insomnia. In severe cases, you may also develop a dangerous, potentially fatal condition called delirium tremens.
What Is Delirium Tremens?
Delirium tremens is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that occurs because the central nervous system has trouble adjusting to the lack of alcohol in your system. These symptoms manifest in people with a history of heavy drinking who suddenly stopped or tried to taper off their alcohol use.
Though only a fraction of people with alcohol use disorder will experience delirium tremens, the possibility of side effects such as hallucinations, delusions, seizures, and a rapid or irregular heart rate makes alcohol one of the riskiest substances to quit without medical supervision.
Delirium Tremens Symptoms and Duration
The best-known delirium tremens symptom is body tremors, which is why you may hear people call it “the shakes.” Other issues include:
- Disorientation, confusion, and difficulty concentrating
- Decreased attention span
- Deep sleep lasting longer than a day
- Mood swings
- Violent seizures
Delirium tremens duration varies based on how long and how much you drank before finally deciding to seek treatment.
Avoid Delirium Tremens With Withdrawal Management
If your previous attempts to quit drinking have been unsuccessful, or if you are worried about severe symptoms, you need clinical withdrawal management to clear your brain and body of all traces of alcohol.
Lakeside-Milam’s withdrawal management team consists of a full-time medical director, nurse practitioner, and 24-hour nursing staff. They will monitor your condition and provide medications, if necessary, that can help ease your symptoms and ensure you are as comfortable as possible. Once you are medically stable, you can progress into the next phase of your inpatient addiction treatment.
Proven Addiction Treatment Is Only a Phone Call Away
At Lakeside-Milam, we provide the tools for lifelong recovery at our seven continuing care locations throughout western Washington. You’ll learn how to set realistic goals and take charge of your well-being in a structured, supportive environment.
If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, we will put hope and healing within your reach with evidence-based treatment. Since 1983, Lakeside-Milam has helped thousands of people reclaim their lives. We believe talking about addiction is the first step to recovery. When you contact us, you’ll reach someone who understands the disease of addiction and can walk you through your treatment and insurance coverage options.