Delirium Tremens DTs

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Hi everyone,

A few people have posted about withdrawel symptoms and the effects that occur when going cold turkey. I don't think many know how bad it can be. I've said before that shaking the morning after is nothing compared to DTs (as bad as the shaking and other effects feel).

May I suggest that you google it on Wikipidia; it's too long to repeat here. I don't want to scare anyone but Alcohol is, apparently, the worst drug to withdraw from where DTs are concerned. Apart from all the other horrible affects, it can lead to seizure. My story is this:

My first experience led me to try to climb out of a fourth floor window to 'fight off' the men in white coats who were (in my hallucinations if you like) monsters dressed as doctors trying to get me. 

My bedroom was full of monsters and absolutely horrible creatures climbing about all over me, the walls, ceiling - everywhere; I remember not knowing where I was, I wasn't aware of being in a bedroom most of the time. I was in some sort of h*ll. I don't remember everthing but it was the most terrible ordeal I've ever faced in my life.

I became obsessed with sticking a pair of scissors into my eyes although I didn't. I was a danger to myself and to others - especially my partner. I should have been sectioned really and de-doxted there.

I still, believe it or not, didn't think of myself as an alcoholic (crazy). I asked my partner to hide all the scissors (I even had a particular pair in mind) and any other sharp objects (not an easy task and a peculiar one to ask of someone who didn't drink at all).

I tried not to sleep for three nights but did black out a few times. The DTs became milder after about three days and nights.

It's horrific.

A couple of years later and a couple of less scary experiences with DTs, I finally admitted to myself and doctor that I was an alcoholic (my girlfriend had had enough of me by then) so I was alone naturally.

The first steps to sobriety were a stumble indeed. I had a spell of sobriety and then rang the doc' to tell her I'd started drinking heavily again. She told me to carry on drinking but more moderately until I could get to the surgery.

We're all different; I was a very heavy drinker so it's hardly any wonder I had such bad DTs but please don't go cold turkey without medical guidance. 




0 likes, 8 replies

8 Replies

  • Posted

    Unfortunately only too many of us on here are aware of what it is like to do cold turkey, it is not a pleasant experience. However, DTs is another level and something that is only experienced in certain cases. Even drinking copious amounts of alcohol for 25 years daily did not lead to me getting DTs.
    • Posted

      I'm glad you didn't, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. We're all different.
    • Posted

      The scary thing never knows when they will experience DTS.  Anyone who drinks in excess for a long period of time is subject to this condition. 

      ​I know for sure I had DTs in January because the Drs told me I was having it.  But, there was one time before that in the hospital I felt like I was having DTS (because the feelings were practically unbearable). And I could have been having DTs....but it wasn't as clear as it was in January.

      ​I did have hallucinations but they were not as "shocking"...they were more I was seeing things when I woke the window...I thought was MY window in my house.  I kept hearing my boyfriends voice...I kept asking the Nurse to go get me stuff off my vanity.  I felt my cat laying down on my legs....I was very confused as to where I was.  My body muscles wouldn't work and had to be held up by 2 people to make it to a commode that was 6 inches away from my bed.  The twitching of my head and muscles...The IV with strong benzo added not working to calm me down with the fast breathing and heart rate. 

      ​A total nightmare.  I don't know how many times I have had DTs because I have had some very bad withdrawals...and DTs don't always involve hallucinations...but they can.  It was the Drs unwillingness to assure me that I would "live" and the hallucinations this time that convinced me I had DTs.

    • Posted

      yea..the Drs unwilingness to tell me I would live and the FREQUENT visits from the Dr. scared me because typically you only see the Dr one time a day in the hospital..morning rounds...I saw the Dr. at least 4 times a day, he would come by and check on me..for at least 2 days...and it was at least 3 days after I had already been there...and they say it can take 72 hours for DTs to arrive
  • Posted

    What a terrible experience, Colin.  You have come through a lot to achieve sobriety.  I think it is good to reflect on that and share with others, thank you.    

    I am in a bit of a quandary, today.  Yesterday, I felt dreadful after the gin binge.  No shakes or even nausea, just weak with a bit of a headache. Stayed in bed, drank water, wept at own folly.  Did not take Selincro(nalmefene) as I was not going to shop... so no alcohol. I took Diazepam last night and this morning.  I have stopped cold turkey, in the past... no bad effects... weird system.  I think it may be because I drink water, to flush my system, after every drinking session.  

    Today, I just don't feel that I want to drink alcohol, at all.  'Haven't taken tablet, not going to shop.  Staying in bed, again. This type of recovery has worked for me before.  I'll see how it goes, today. My daily amount was reduced re nalmefene, prior to the gin overdose.  I knew it would have been dangerous to try cold turkey from the high amount.  However, I just can't face a drink, at the moment. 

    It is hard to know what to do for the best.  I was 3 weeks on the" reducing tablet".  I have had Campral on previous attempts, but it did not work for me.

    So, for now, no sweats, no shakes, no nausea, nothing except feeling miserable.


    P.S. 'Don't even want a chocolate egg !  Happy Easter. 😝 😷 😴

    • Posted

      Hi Alona,

      No chocolate egg? Ha ha years since I've had one - used to love 'em.

      It says on Wikipedia that DTs are more common amongst people who've been drinking very heavily for a long time. I had. A tremendous amount for over six months; I was working in Lanzarote and told to leave. I can't be certain but at least a bottle of scotch everyday. I was put on a plane to Gatwick and ended up with my girlfriend in Essex. En route, the flight had to stop at Madrid where we were taken to a hotel. When I got the bar and mini bar bill it was 400 quid on the credit card. (inc'a couple of phone calls).

      I don't know how I managed to get to Essex. My girlfriend hated me drinking so that's how I came to the DTs.

      I would imagine that a short gin binge wouldn't bring you to that but would give you a bad hangover. The fact that you said you didn't want to drink today is good and you have your method; there are worse things than staying in bed and flushing out your system. Going cold turkey doesn't necessarily mean you'll get DTs if you haven't been drinking very heavily for a long time and stop suddenly but we're all different. I always call it cold turkey whatever the outcome. That's just me. 

      Only a guess but probably the gin was still in your system when you woke up and you might have felt worse as the day went on. But you have your own way of dealing with that. I stay on the bed when I'm tired; I did today....... too hot to get into bed. 

      You're taking medication so I know little of how that works - I've read that some people take it, then don't so I don't know if that's helping. that's 'expert' time. Did you take something before the gin?

      There's no law to say you're not allowed to feel miserable; I think you'll end up where you want to be however long it takes.

      I'll finish by saying that if you're on a medication based program, you should stick to it. 

      All the best and A Happy Easter to you.      


  • Posted

    I've had horrendous hallucinations on 2 occasions and mild on a few occasions. Most of you on here have heard me describe them so won't repeat but very similar to Colin. I never want to go through that again. I was with partner at home so he helped me through it. All so real whilst awake. Went on for 3 days. Other time was in hospital but had been in a coma for 2 days. Thankfully haven't had them since as I don't drink vodka, and I taper with beer. 

    The point of me writing this is, the worst time, 13 months ago, I'd been sober for several weeks and had a massive binge for 1 week. So it can happen after a binge.

    I truelly thought I was going to die and one of the worst experiences ever. 

    Anyway on the mend again now x

  • Posted

    The unfortuante thing is you never know when you can suffer DTS as I found out.  I have had many detoxes without DTs...but I read that the medical fact of DTs is that the more experience people have with withdrawal...(the number of times) more risk for having them during withdrawal.

    ​I also read that if you have experienced DTs during a previous becomes more likely that you will experience them during the next withdrawal...Very scary to me...since i definetly experienced them 10 years ago in my detox prior to obtaining 8 years....

    ​This year....I had them again....after 2 years of on and off drinking.  All the other times stopping within the 2 years....felt like Dts..but I really knew I had them this Jan...with the hallucinations were common everyday things...I was seeing my cat in my hospital room (really thinking I was HOME).  Hearing my b/f voice.  Asking the Nurses to go get me things from my dresser in my room.  It wasn't a constant hallucination...usually happened upon waking from a brief sleep from the medication.

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