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delirium tremens

Delirium Tremens Explained

If you have a heavy drinking habit, you likely already know it can endanger your health and well-being in a host of ways. However, the Catch-22 for many alcohol abusers is that trying to quit can also be risky because the sudden absence of alcohol causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, potentially including a condition known as delirium tremens

Effects associated with DTs include mood swings, confusion, hallucinations, tremors, nausea and vomiting. In some cases, delirium tremens symptoms such as seizures can be severe and even fatal. For this reason, if you are physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol, attempting to quit drinking cold turkey can be dangerous.

Understanding Alcohol Withdrawal

Your brain is a fantastically plastic organ that readily adapts to change, which is typically beneficial. However, the brain’s ability to rewire itself also explains how addiction develops. Alcohol is literally mind-altering in the sense that it changes your innate reward and pleasure system to a point where you do not feel like yourself unless you are drinking. 

As your tolerance builds, you will need to drink more to achieve the desired effects, spending increasing amounts of time and money on alcohol. When you are sober, your brain will not naturally produce enough of the neurotransmitters you need to feel happy and well-balanced. Attempts to stop drinking will throw off your chemical equilibrium, resulting in withdrawal. 

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Alcohol?

The alcohol withdrawal timeline can differ depending on factors such as your age, overall health and how long you have been a heavy drinker. However, symptoms may begin as early as a few hours after your last drink and continue increasing in severity for a week or more. There is also the chance you will develop a longer-term condition known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome.

Though only a small fraction of people who rely on alcohol 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 most dangerous substances to quit without medical supervision.

Avoid Delirium Tremens With Clinically Managed Alcohol Detox

Have your previous attempts to quit drinking been unsuccessful? Or, have you relied on alcohol for several years and are worried about severe withdrawal symptoms like delirium tremens? Medical detox is the solution to both these concerns. Detoxification is a process that clears your brain and body of all traces of alcohol, and it is the first step in committing to a clean, sober life. 

Completing detox in a clinical setting gives you the best chance of succeeding with your future recovery goals by reducing your risk of relapsing. Here is what you can expect when you choose inpatient medical detox at Vista Taos:

  • A comfortable setting
  • 24/7 monitoring by experienced health professionals
  • Medication, as needed, to help relieve unpleasant symptoms
  • An immediate transition to our long-term residential treatment program as soon as you are medically stable enough to do so

Take the First Steps Toward Your Recovery

At Vista Taos, we provide nationally accredited holistic addiction services for men and women in the traditional spiritual center of Taos, New Mexico. Against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, you can declare your independence from alcohol and drugs and begin your journey to recovery. Contact us today when you are ready to learn more.

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