Thursday, September 24, 2015

Is delirium tremens occur during acute alcohol intoxication ?

Delirium tremens is a severe withdrawal reaction to alcohol. Alcohol intoxication is a state that occurs following intake of alcohol. It usually occurs in individuals who is getting rapid increase in blood alcohol concentration.

This was a question asked from me.

Both Delirium tremens and Alcohol intoxication can become life threatening. Alcohol intoxication is life threatening due to large quantities of alcohol in the blood which depresses brain activity. Sometimes such depression of brain activity can result in inhibition of respiratory center. Usually normal people get vomiting before alcohol reach such dangerous levels.

Usually vomiting occurs before alcohol reach dangerous blood level

What happens in delirium tremens

But delirium tremens kills in a very different way. Delirium tremens occur in a person who is alcohol dependent and then stops taking alcohol suddenly. In an alcohol dependent person brain neurochemistry alters so he can tolerate alcohol. Once alcohol is withdrawn from the body, unopposed neurochemical changes become hyperactive and can become life threatening.

Symptoms of delirium tremens is characterized by gross tremors, seeing things that are not real and sudden changes in body temperature and sudden changes in blood pressure. These things can sometimes become so severe, it can kill the person.

It is claimed that people with delirium tremens see small pink elephants!!

It usually does not occur during an usual episode of acute alcohol withdrawal. It occurs only in a dependent alcoholic.

So when an Alcohol dependent person stops taking alcohol, he/she should consult a doctor before doing so. It is very important.

See this article to see medications and how doctors treat delirium tremens.  

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