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Articles  |   September 1993
Delirium tremens: a review
Article Information
Articles   |   September 1993
Delirium tremens: a review
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 1993, Vol. 93, 924. doi:10.7556/jaoa.1993.93.9.924
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 1993, Vol. 93, 924. doi:10.7556/jaoa.1993.93.9.924
Abstract

Delirium tremens was first identified as being due to long-term excessive alcohol intake in 1813, but is now known to be associated with abrupt withdrawal of alcohol in chronically habituated persons. Recent publications quote an anticipated mortality rate of 15% to 20%. Our experience in the past 20 years has not confirmed that rate. This review reveals that the prevalence of fatal cases is extremely low, with the true mortality close to 0%. We believe that this decrement is due to the increasing use of benzodiazepines to detoxify alcoholic patients. It is postulated that the benzodiazepines act either to prevent delirium tremens or to reduce the neurotransmitter disruption in the central nervous system caused by excessive alcohol intake, or both.