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Alcohol DTs

If you are a heavy drinker who is trying to quit, alcohol DTs treatment can be a good first step. DTs or delirium tremens is a serious medical issue that can affect heavy drinkers and can be fatal if not managed. The condition is experienced by around 5% of people going through alcohol withdrawal. DTs can start as early as 48 hours after your last alcohol use but may begin as long as 10 days after you quit. 

What are alcohol DTs?

Delirium tremens is the result of your body becoming reliant on a steady supply of alcohol. This is sometimes called alcohol dependence. Your central nervous system is slowed down because of alcohols depressant qualities and your brain actually adjusts, changing things like how it sends chemical messages. When someone suddenly stops providing alcohol to a body that is used to having it all the time, this throws all those systems into disarray. That begins the process of alcohol withdrawal.

What alcohol DTs treatment is available?

Alcohol DTs treatment usually starts with a variety of testing to see how your body is coping with the sudden loss of alcohol. Doctors may recommend tests like an ECG, Blood Magnesium levels, metabolic panels, toxicology screens and blood phosphate levels. The reason for all this testing is to identify any serious or life-threatening issues. Once your doctor knows how you are affected by delirium tremens, they can start to take action. 

After the initial tests are finished, more alcohol delirium tremens treatment can begin. This can include benzodiazepines which reduce the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. These medications lower anxiety levels which can spike during withdrawal. Doctors are also likely to recommend a number of vitamin and mineral supplements as heavy drinking can lead to deficiencies. This may include thiamine, zinc, phosphate, magnesium and folate. Correcting these deficiencies can help your body recover more quickly and minimise withdrawal symptoms. 

Along with active treatments, it is important for delirium tremens patients to be under a doctors supervision. Delirium tremens patients are at higher risk for fatal conditions including cardiac arrhythmias and respiratory failure. If these issues should occur, having medical staff on hand significantly increases your likelihood of survival. 

What are the symptoms of alcohol DTs?

Delirium tremens can have a variety of symptoms but the most common include:

  • Changes in your heart rate
  • Mood swings
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Deep sleep
  • Becoming delirious
  • Feelings of disorientation
  • Experiencing seizures
  • Shaking or tremors

If you are experiencing these symptoms after you have stopped using alcohol, you should contact your doctor immediately. Left untreated, DTs can be fatal for up to 35% of sufferers. It is impossible to know how your body will react when you stop using alcohol so we strongly recommend informing your doctor about your decision before you quit. This will help them advise you. 

If you are trying to quit you should also consider getting help beyond alcohol DTs treatment. Heavy alcohol users often have a number of issues that caused them to drink in the first place. If you do not address the reasons behind your drinking you are unlikely to have long term success and may fall back into old habits. At Help Me Stop we provide both in-person and online alcohol abuse treatment. This will help you understand why you drink and develop healthy alternatives to alcohol use. Contact us today to learn more.

If you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, or know someone who does, contact us for free, confidential advice:

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