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What is delirium tremens?

Delirium tremens (DT) is a life threatening condition characterized by tremulousness (or shakiness), insomnia, confusion, agitation, and hallucinations (visual, auditory and tactile).  Patients can also develop tachycardia ("racing heart"), high blood pressure, profuse sweating and fever.  DTs occur in chronic alcoholics who suddenly stop drinking alcohol; they begin within 6-8 hours of stopping and peak at 24-48 hours after cessation.    
Delirium tremens is a serious condition of alcohol withdrawal. It is accompanied by mental and neurological changes. Delirium tremens is usually brought on 48-72 hours after alcohol intake is stopped and at the end stages of the withdrawal process. Delirium tremens presents with physical and mental changes that, if left untreated, can be deadly.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.