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The Hunger Project Bolen Report
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Delirium, Delirium Tremens (DTs) Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Delirium is a sudden state of severe confusion and rapid changes in brain function sometimes associated with hallucinations and hyperactivity in which the patient is unable to interact with the surrounding environment. Symptoms include inability to concentrate and disorganized thinking evidenced by rambling, irrelevant, or incoherent speech with a reduced level of consciousness, sensory misperceptions and illusions, disturbances of sleep, drowsiness, disorientation to time, place, or person, and problems with memory. Delirium can be due to a number of conditions that derange brain metabolism, including:

  • infection
  • brain tumor
  • poisoning
  • drug toxicity
  • withdrawal
  • seizures
  • head trauma
  • metabolic disturbances (e.g. fluid, electrolyte, or acid-base imbalance, hypoxia, hypoglycemia, or hepatic or renal failure)

A special case of delirium is termed delirium tremens which is a neurological symptom of alcohol withdrawal seen in chronic alcoholism, with includes symptoms of psychosis. Abbreviated "DTs" (as in "He's got the DTs."). Symptoms usually include uncontrollable trembling, hallucinations, severe anxiety, sweating, and sudden feelings of terror. Delirium tremens can be both frightening and, in severe cases, fatal. Treatment includes observation, comfort care, and in some cases medication. Intramuscular or intravenous magnesium is a mainstay of treatment.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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