Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Delirium tremens

Table of Contents

Definition

Delirium tremens is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that involves sudden and severe mental or neurological changes.


Alternative Names

DT's; Alcohol withdrawal - delirium tremens


Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Delirium tremens can occur after a period of heavy alcohol drinking, especially when the person does not eat enough food.

It may also be triggered by head injury, infection, or illness in people with a history of heavy alcohol use.

It is most common in people who have a history of alcohol withdrawal. It is especially common in those who drink the equivalent of 4 - 5 pints of wine or 7 - 8 pints of beer (or 1 pint of "hard" alcohol) every day for several months. Delirium tremens also commonly affects those who have had a history of habitual alcohol use or alcoholism for more than 10 years.



Review Date: 03/03/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)