What Are DTS? Get the Facts

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DTS or delirium tremens are also referred to as alcohol withdrawal deliriums. People who have suffered from heavy alcohol abuse may be at risk for DTS if they decide to stop cold turkey rather than undergoing a supervised alcohol withdrawal process.

A longstanding history of alcohol abuse creates a built-up tolerance to alcohol use. This means the body has adapted to functioning with alcohol addiction and any sudden changes can cause extreme side effects. While a person can be functional while suffering from alcohol addiction, over time, heavy drinking causes irreversible damage to the liver, brain, and other organs. They eventually will fail to work.

DTS often begin within 48 hours after your last drink. The strain on the body and accompanying side effects can be harmful to your body, especially if you are experiencing symptoms without monitoring. It’s highly advisable for you to seek treatment in a safe, secure environment. Going through detox alone can result in relapse or uncontrollable side effects that can put you at a higher risk.

An alcohol addiction treatment facility provides the kind of medical attention and care that will help you through withdrawal symptoms in the safest and most comfortable way possible. Additionally, facility staff provides emotional support, encouragement to complete the withdrawal period, and motivation to see your treatment through to the end.

Many who have tried to quit alcohol addiction in the past have found it difficult to go through the experience alone. It’s a process that benefits from the help of others. Find out how a supervised detox process can help both your physical and mental health.

How Long Do DTS Last?

DTS vary in length depending on your history with alcohol use. The average length of time is 7 to 10 days. The first few days are when symptoms are at their most intense. Your body is trying to adapt to a harsh change and continues to crave alcohol. It can be easy to relapse during this period because the cravings are too strong and alcohol still may be easily accessible.

In a detox center setting, there are certain medications that can help ease cravings. They can help you to continue through the detox stage without relapse. The length of time and level of pain or discomfort you experience has to do with several factors including:

  • Your current health;
  • Your age, weight, and body size;
  • How long you’ve been addicted to alcohol; and
  • How much you drink per day.

Additionally, if you have experienced substance abuse with other drugs, this can also impact how long DTS will last.

Though the detox process can seem frustrating and painful, it is temporary. As the days pass, your symptoms will become less and less severe. Your body will begin to better adapt to its new state sans alcohol. Detox is the first step in any treatment program, which means the time to complete it is important and necessary.

Not everyone will move at the same pace. Your detox and recovery journey is based on how your body reacts and your individual progress. However, when you receive treatment under the supervision of others, you get the medical attention you need to become stronger and healthier every day.

DTS Side Effects and Symptoms

You may wonder what kind of DTS side effects and symptoms you will experience during the detox period. While DTS affects everyone differently, these are a few of the most common ones people have experienced:

  • Hallucinations
  • Severe shaking
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Mood swings, anxiety, and irritability
  • Increased sensitivity to sounds and lights
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irregular heartbeat or seizures

You may experience a number of these symptoms or even others not listed. The way your body will respond to alcohol withdrawal is unpredictable. Detoxification can change the way you think, feel, and react. Certain symptoms can trigger other reactions in the body which you may not be able to fully handle. When your body experiences such a major transition, it’s best to be in the care of others.

Do You Suffer from Alcohol Addiction?

DTS are extreme alcohol withdrawal symptoms. They occur when a person has been suffering from addiction for years. However, there are identifiable signs in the early stages of addiction that can be treated under supervised care.

If you are concerned with the drinking habits of yourself or a loved one, see if you can honestly answer yes to any of these questions.

Do you drink more and for longer periods of time than your friends or colleagues?
Have you blacked out because of how much you’ve drank?
Have you continued drinking even though it’s made you become anxious or depressed?
Has your drinking led to trouble at work, with the law, or in your relationships?
Do you experience withdrawal symptoms (headaches, shaking, restlessness, etc.) when you stop drinking?
Has someone shared concern about your drinking habits with you?

This is a short list of questions that may identify alcohol abuse or addiction. There is help available even if you don’t believe your situation is as severe as those who experience DTS. Some people identify as functioning alcoholics. For the most part, they may be able to lead regular, day-to-day lives at work, in school, or at home.

However, alcohol has ongoing, negative physical and mental effects. While changes in your physical appearance, behavior, or attitude may not be obvious to you, they may be apparent to those who know you well. The sooner you seek treatment, the more it will help your body to recover.

Speak with a treatment specialist today.
(888) 325-1995

Relapse Prevention and DTS Treatment

Relapse is not uncommon when DTS are involved. When the body has become accustomed to a certain level of functioning, the abrupt change can be overwhelming and simply, hard to overcome. However, relapse is only a temporary setback, and it can be prevented with the help of others.

The risk of relapse can occur at any stage of the treatment program. In many cases, it occurs right at the beginning of treatment during the detox phase. It’s also often seen once a person has been discharged from treatment. One of the steps of recovery is to understand what triggers your alcohol abuse. The better you can start to understand your addiction, the more you can take more control over your behavior.

The important part to know about alcohol addiction recovery is that it’s not a quick fix. It takes weeks, sometimes months to go through the full process and regain strength to reenter the real world sober. What may started a “drinking habit” changes completely when addiction takes over the body. This transition can happen without the person realizing what’s happening.

Addiction also doesn’t look the same for everyone. If alcohol is affecting your life and health in a negative way, it’s best to seek treatment. Each person is set up on their own treatment plan and own time. Detox is always the first step. By going through a supervised detox process, you’ll be better prepared to enter a successful care plan and help to prevent relapse from occurring.

Once you’ve completed this phase of care, it’s time to decide if you want to seek inpatient or outpatient treatment. Speak with your care team and decide which option will benefit you most. Both have benefits and have helped people reach a better level of health. Ask yourself: how will each contribute to your sobriety?

Inpatient or Outpatient Care: Which Is Right for Me?

Both inpatient and outpatient care follow similar health plans. One big difference is that inpatient care allows you to fully focus on your sobriety by becoming a temporary resident of the treatment facility. These facilities are often set among beautiful backdrops to create a feeling of peace and serenity. It’s common for them to be near the ocean, mountains, or other natural environment. This is conducive to the kind of care you will receive and helps physically remove your body from external chaos.

Our treatment facility is situated in idyllic Lake Arrowhead, CA. The seclusion and serenity of our space allows our clients to immerse themselves in nature and enjoy the peace and privacy that comes with it. Our intention is to create a place where people feel comfortable and focused on their health and treatment plan. There is also a gym, walking paths, and additional areas to incorporate exercise and positive activities into your day.

An inpatient rehab program typically lasts for 30 days or longer depending on what your treatment entails. You will continue to have access to medical care as well as counseling and other supportive help. Inpatient care gives you the opportunity to remove yourself from a potentially toxic environment and lingering temptations. An inpatient stay is an intensive program where your sobriety is the top priority. It also provides structure that might be currently missing from your everyday life.

Structure gives you the chance to create a new routine for how to spend your days; a routine that doesn’t involve alcohol. You also have the chance to hear from other people who have experienced similar struggles as your own. Group counseling sessions, in addition to one-on-one rehabilitative treatment are also part of inpatient care.

Education makes up a significant part of the rehab process. It’s important to acknowledge your addiction but also to understand it. Do you know where your addiction is rooted? Do you know what triggers you to drink? Are there other challenges or problems you face that are contributing to your addiction? These kind of questions are explored so you may find solutions to help to recognize them in the future.

Outpatient care usually comes after inpatient care but in certain circumstances, you may opt for it as an alternative. It also provides time spent one-on-one with a counselor and in a group setting. Outpatient care is an option for someone who may want or need to be closer to home. Both types of care also focus on providing resources and support to help you transition back to your normal life.

Although you have decided to battle alcohol addiction, it doesn’t necessarily mean those in your life accept or follow that choice. By learning tips and tricks for how to handle challenging situations in the future will be helpful to your ongoing sobriety. If you relapse after post-rehab, you must begin again in the detox phase to receive care.

In treatment, you will explore your relationship and history with alcohol in depth. This will help you face what may be the cause of your addiction. When choosing your treatment facility, consider what you require from care and what will help you most reach healthy, sober living.

Planning for the Future

Alcohol addiction treatment doesn’t end after you’ve gone through an inpatient program. Recovery is about new experiences and beginnings. We are focused on your long-term sobriety. Part of your treatment plan will include a stage that will be the bridge between your old life battling addiction and your new life sober.

Life skills and support you’ll receive during this planning phase include: preparation for job interviews, creating personal budgets, tips for how to handle stress, and other important daily situations that may arise. In a sense, you’ll be starting over. You’ll receive a fresh perspective about your life and all the good things the future holds for you.

Take the First Step Toward Your Sobriety

Detox is a challenge. The uncertainty can make anyone feel anxious. Going through detox is also achievable and will be the starting point that leads you to sobriety. Accepting the help of a detox facility can help make your experience more bearable and hopeful. Once you begin on your path, each step will bring you closer to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Millions of people suffer from alcohol abuse every year. Millions of people also seek treatment and find what they need to become sober. Find the right place and plan for you. There are places and people ready to help you whenever you are ready to get started. Are you ready to take the first step?

Find hope. Find recovery. Begin a commitment to lifelong recovery today – for yourself, your friend, or for your loved one.
(888) 325-1995


WebMD. Date-Rape Drugs (GHB, rohypnol). Accessed March 25, 2016.

WebMD. What Is Alcohol Withdrawal? Accessed March 25, 2016.

WebMD. What Is Nicotine Withdrawal? Accessed March 27, 2016.  

Above It All. What Are DTS? Get The Facts. Accessed March 26, 2016.

Medline Plus. Delirium Tremens. Accessed March 27, 2016.

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