Drinking or using drugs can change your body. Suddenly stopping the substance abuse can have serious consequences. Delirium tremens, or the DTs, is a life threatening condition that can occur when a person starts to go through drug detox. Not everyone will experience the DTs. You should understand how long a person must have been abusing a substance before the DTs become a critical danger of drug detox.
Length of Time
The length of time a person has been drinking or abusing a substance can increase the risk of delirium tremens during drug detox. The exact amount of time is different for each person. The risk becomes very high if you have been drinking or using drugs consistently for a year or more. This means drinking every day so that your body becomes physically dependent. The amount of time that you have to be abusing a substance can be as little as a month or two if you are drinking or using drugs heavily on a daily basis.
Amount of Substance Consumed
Another factor that can make the DTs a critical danger during drug detox is the amount of the substance that is consumed. People who drink just a very small amount are at less of a risk of delirium tremens. An individual who is consuming alcohol or drugs constantly every day in large quantities is at a much higher risk even after just a few weeks. Drinking eight pints of beer or a single pint of hard liquor each day will make developing the DTs a very real risk during detox. Building the dependence that causes the chain of chemical events leading to the DTs is accelerated by drinking large qualities of alcohol.
Personal History and Biology
Your personal history of substance abuse can make the DTs a very real threat during drug detox. Individuals who have been abusing alcohol or other drugs for 10 years or more are at a higher risk of encountering delirium tremens while detoxing. This is true even if the substance abuse was intermittent over that period of time. This is because the chemicals in the brain have been altered significantly. An additional issue is personal biology. Some individuals are far more vulnerable to the DTs because of issues within the brain and body. No tests are currently available that can tell whether a person will experience the DTs while detoxing.
When Delirium Tremens Can Start
Delirium tremens occur when a person stops drinking or doing certain drugs suddenly. The DTs can occur very quickly once the substance being abused is no longer present in high concentrations in the body. It is possible to start experiencing delirium tremens in as little as 12 to 24 hours after stopping. Most people will experience the DTs anywhere from one to three days after stopping the drinking or drug use. The DTs can last for one to three days.
The Dangers of Delirium Tremens
One person out of every 20 will experience delirium tremens after stopping substance abuse. Delirium tremens can be extremely dangerous. The DTs can result in death if not treated correctly. Anyone going through the DTs could experience heart problems, hallucinations and confusion. Some individuals have convulsions and other physical problems that require medical attention. This can be a very frightening period of time although it is necessary in order to recover. The safest way to avoid many of the risks associated with delirium tremens is to go through supervised medical detox at a rehabilitation center.
It is never safe to go through drug detox alone. The problems that you might experience while detoxing can cause permanent damage to your body. This is why you should detox through a professional rehab center where doctors are available if you encounter issues. If you want to get clean in a safe and supportive environment, then you should call a treatment center today.