Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium

Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium

Alcohol withdrawal delirium (AWD), or delirium tremens (DTs), is a condition resulting from the abrupt discontinuation of alcohol consumption by an individual who has a physical dependence on alcohol. Symptoms usually appear several hours to a few days after a person has stopped drinking and typically include tactile, auditory, and visual hallucinations, agitation, confusion, rapid heart rate, fever, elevated blood pressure, and sometimes seizures or loss of consciousness. AWD is potentially fatal and requires urgent medical attention.

AWD is the most serious form of alcohol withdrawal and is characterized by hyperadrenergic activity which results in a state of delirium, disorientation, and altered mental status. Left untreated, it can result in severe cardiac arrhythmias and death.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium

The symptoms of AWD can range from mild to severe and vary depending on the individual. Common symptoms include:

  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Tremor
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe fatigue and sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety
  • Elevated heart and respiration rate
  • Seizures

Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium

The goal of treatment for AWD is to prevent further complications and reduce the risk of mortality. Treatment typically involves a combination of medications, supportive care, and monitoring. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary. Common medications used to treat AWD include benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and beta blockers.

It is important to note that AWD is a serious medical condition that can be life-threatening and requires urgent medical attention.