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Delirium Tremens (DTs) is a term to describe the sudden and severe changes in the mental status and nervous system of a person detoxing from alcohol. DTs can also occur when a person who has a history of heavy alcohol use experiences a head injury, illness or infection.
Drinking excessively over long periods of time can result in physical dependence and changes in the brain. These changes are key indicators of addiction and at that point, detox may be necessary to ease withdrawal symptoms should they choose to stop drinking.
When someone decides to stop drinking, a supervised detox is not always a consideration. However, detoxifying from alcohol at home can be dangerous, and in some cases, fatal. It is important to never attempt to detox from alcohol without medical supervision.
In most cases, the initial signs of alcohol withdrawal begin six to twelve hours after the last drink. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal have been combined and are commonly referred to by professionals as alcohol withdrawal syndrome, or AWS.
More intense withdrawal symptoms can begin to emerge twelve to 24 hours after a person last consumes alcohol. Seizures and hallucinations are indicative of intense withdrawal at this stage of the process.
Being continually monitored ensures that any changes that occur that need treatment will be addressed immediately, reducing the risk of severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
These alcohol withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of a hangover, and often manageable. The problem occurs when a person does not understand the severity of their alcohol addiction, and more complicated withdrawal symptoms arise. Many people do not know that the more serious symptoms arise the further they go into withdrawal.