The DT's, or delirium tremens, is the name that doctors and patients suffering from alcoholism give to the disease. Most people who are addicted to alcohol just think that the DT's are the shakes and sweats you get when you are drying out from alcohol. However, the DT's are much more than that. In fact, there are more fallacies about the DT's than most people know, and there is definitely a wealth of facts to go along with those fallacies.
FACT: The DT's Include a Wide Variety of Symptoms
Yes, indeed they do. Patients in alcohol rehab treatment will do more than shake and sweat. They will hallucinate, shiver, feel extremely cold one minute and boiling hot the next, have seizures and irregular heartbeats, and are at an extreme risk of dying from any one or any combination of these symptoms. It is highly recommended, nay, urgent that if you have, or someone close to you has quit alcohol cold turkey after being a heavy drinker for a long time that you or he/she be in a hospital or treatment facility in case something goes very wrong.
FALLACY: If You Get Through the DT's, You Are Cured
No recovering alcoholic on the planet would ever agree with that statement. They know that while the DT's are some of the worst, scariest, and potentially most lethal times in recovery, you will never be "cured" of alcoholism. It is a lifelong disease into which you can easily backslide if you do not have the support of your family and your sponsor. Getting through the DT's just means you managed to survive long enough to start drying out.
FACT: DT's Accompany Other Addictions
The reason why alcohol is so dangerous is that it shares the DT's and the same physical withdrawal effects with barbiturates and benzodiazepines. All of these drugs adhere to specific receptors in the brain and destroy cells in the body when abused. If you are addicted to more than just alcohol, and the other addiction or addictions include these similar drugs, your doctor in the rehab facility will want you on 24-hour watch during the week-long drying out process.
FALLACY: If You Had the DT's Once, You Cannot Get Them Again
The DT's are not something you contract, like a cold or pneumonia. If you fall off the wagon after rehab and start spinning out of control, and then you check back into rehab, you will go through the DT's again. The first time through the DT's is usually enough to stop someone from taking a drink, but not always.