Definitions for delirium tremensˈtri mənz, -mɛnz
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delirium tremens, DTs(noun)
acute delirium caused by alcohol poisoning
A psychosis of chronic alcoholism, usually due to alcohol withdrawal, which can be fatal. Symptoms include sweating, tremors, terrifying hallucinations, insomnia, restlessness, disorientation and anxiety.
Delirium tremens is an acute episode of delirium that is usually caused by withdrawal from alcohol, first described in 1813. Benzodiazepines are the treatment of choice for delirium tremens. Withdrawal from sedative-hypnotics other than alcohol, such as benzodiazepines, or barbiturates, can also cause seizures, delirium tremens, and death if not properly managed. Withdrawal from other drugs that are not sedative-hypnotics such as caffeine and cocaine do not have major medical complications, and are not life-threatening. Withdrawal reactions due to physical dependence on alcohol are the most dangerous and can be fatal. They often lead to physical effects including shivering, palpitations, sweating and in some cases, convulsions and death if not treated. When caused by alcohol, it occurs only in patients with a history of alcoholism. Occurrence of a similar syndrome due to benzodiazepines does not require as long a period of consistent intake of such drugs. In the U.S., less than 50% to 60% of alcoholics will develop any significant withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of alcohol intake, and of these, only 5% of cases of acute ethanol withdrawal progress to DT. Unlike the withdrawal syndrome associated with opiate dependence, DT can be fatal. Mortality was as high as 35% before the advent of intensive care and advanced pharmacotherapy; in the modern era of medicine, death rates range from 5 to 15%.
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"delirium tremens." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015. <http://www.definitions.net/definition/delirium tremens>.