Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium

Among the list of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, delirium is one of the potentially fatal one. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal delirium can pose a serious threat to your life. However, many times people are not aware of what delirium is and how it can be fatal for an alcoholic. To understand what it is, first one should know about withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear when a person after becoming dependent on alcohol stops drinking it abruptly or significantly reduces the amount. These sudden changes make the body respond in a way of developing various symptoms. Please also read Addiction VS Physical Dependence.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium?

Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium (AWD) also called Delirium Tremens (DTs) is one of the withdrawal symptoms and it’s quite severe and problematic for alcoholics.It occurs in heavy drinkers after sudden changes in their drinking habits with reduction. The symptoms appear after two or three days and their severity depends on the individual’s drinking pattern.

The symptoms of AWD vary from common withdrawal symptoms. Also, among people who show withdrawal symptoms, AWD is observed only in three to five percent of them. 

What Causes AWD?

AWD as said earlier occurs in heavy drinkers who have been drinking for a long term. The risk factors of AWD are abrupt and frequent reduction in drinking, poor diet, and history of withdrawal symptoms.

Long-term drinking makes your brain adaptive to the inhibitory effects of alcohol. When you suddenly stop drinking alcohol, your brain can’t quickly adapt to it and as a result, over-excitation happens to result in delirium. 

Symptoms of AWD

Here is the list of symptoms you may experience in alcohol withdrawal delirium:

  • Excitability or anger
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Delusions (irrationally believing things that are untrue)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
  • Increased heart rate or breathing rate
  • Increased startle reflex (an exaggerated reaction to unexpected stimuli)
  • Involuntary muscle contractions
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Nightmares
  • Fatigue
  • Fear
  • Tremors or shaking hands and feet
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and touch
  • Delirium (an extremely disturbed state of mind)
  • Tremors or shaking hands and feet
  • Dehydration
  • High blood pressure
  • Problems with eye muscle and movement
  • Pale skin
  • Passing out

How AWD Is Diagnosed?

All hail to the advancements in medical science, we have several tests to perform to test how much alcohol is present in your body, the extent of damage, and determine your dependency.

The primary step by a physician will be a physical test where he’ll look for her symptoms and ask for your medical history. After that he may ask you for the following tests for a detailed report:

  • Toxicology screen
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel
  • Blood magnesium level
  • Blood phosphate level
  • EEG
  • ECG

Treatment of AWD

Delirium can be fatal therefore, most professional’s advice getting treatment via the inpatient method. The most important medication given is Benzodiazepines because they’re known to manage withdrawal symptoms. 

Other medications given to treat associated conditions include:

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Analgesics (Pain medications)
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Intravenous fluids for vitamins and minerals

How to Prevent AWD?

As the expertssay the only best way to prevent AWD is to avoid drinking alcohol excessively. For men, two drinks a day and for women, one drink per day is considered safe. But, if you are doing binge drinking you must need to consult a professional to help you cut down on your drinking. If your symptoms are severe enough to interferewith your routine activity, you may consider taking rehabilitation services. 

Final Words

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal delirium shouldn’t be neglected as they may lead to a life-threatening condition. If you experience the symptoms mentioned above, consult your physician immediately to get timely professional help or visit Iboga clinic.

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