Alcoholism is dangerous by certain conditions that are dangerous for both the patient and the people around him. One of them is alcoholic delirium ( delirium , lat., Insanity, insanity) or, more simply, delirium tremens. This acute alcoholic psychosis is characterized by a disorder of consciousness, unexpectedly manifested by terrible auditory and visual hallucinations, loss of orientation in the area and in time, aggression, and agitation. A similar condition manifests itself in most cases 2-4 days after the end of the binge, but it can also occur during the binge. The first attack occurs after a long binge, and further attacks can occur after short periods of binge.
There are signs by which you can determine the early onset of alcoholic delirium. Before delirium, alcoholics are not characterized by the usual attraction to alcohol, sometimes even aversion to it is observed. Then there are sudden changes in mood: carelessness and joy are replaced by depression, melancholy and fear. The patient cannot sit still, is extremely agitated, is prone to talkativeness, the limbs are constantly trembling. Sleep before alcoholic delirium is usually restless, with nightmares and subsequent insomnia. Then the patient hears voices, frightening visual images appear. This state can last for several hours or several days.
An attack of alcoholic delirium occurs in the dark and is progressive. Hallucinations can be completely different, but there is a tendency to the appearance of images in the form of small animals, amphibians and insects: mice, rats, spiders, snakes. Sometimes there are hallucinations in the form of weaves of cobwebs, threads, ropes, from which the alcoholic cannot escape. Plots from horror films can also arise, chaos and destruction are going on around the alcoholic. Sometimes such pictures and frames are not three-dimensional and resemble watching a movie. Auditory hallucinations are directly related to visual hallucinations: the patient hears the rustle of creeping animals, screams, threats, screams of horror, etc.
The facial expressions of an alcoholic during an attack of alcoholic delirium correspond to the hallucinations that are haunting him at the moment. His face is distorted by a grimace of horror, fear or confusion. The patient shakes imaginary insects off his clothes, pushes someone away from himself, waves his arms, hides, etc. In this case, the patient feels like someone is crawling on him, biting him, hitting him – all this speaks of tactile hallucinations. At the same time, the patient’s speech becomes staccato and indistinct, often it is the cries of individual remarks. The patient talks to his hallucinations.
An alcoholic can unexpectedly run, jump out of the window, rush to the aid of the victim, causing real, real harm to the people around him. While in a state of alcoholic delirium, a person can commit suicide by trying to get rid of overly intrusive hallucinations or obeying a voice that directs actions.
Being in a state of alcoholic delirium, a person loses orientation in space, not realizing where he is and where to go. At the same time, he can easily give his name and other information about himself, which indicates the preservation of orientation in the personality. In the daytime, such hallucinations become weaker, increasing in the evening and at night. There are periods, the so-called lucid intervals, during which hallucinations cease to haunt a person, and he can even talk about them.
There are also more severe forms of alcoholic delirium. Occupational delirium is characterized by behavior that mimics the work of a person. The alcoholic is fully confident that he is at his workplace. He moves his arms and makes sounds consistent with those that occur at the place of work. Muttering, or exaggerating , delirium is a rather complex case of the development of alcoholic psychosis. The alcoholic lies in bed and constantly mutters something. At the same time, it reproduces the movements characteristic of rubbing, feeling and smoothing. This behavior can lead to possible death.
The physical condition of an alcoholic during delirium tremens also changes for the worse, and with a tendency to progress. The body temperature can rise to 40 degrees and higher, the body becomes dehydrated, blood pressure rises, the heart rate is disturbed, motor ability is absent, chills occur, followed by sweating, the whites of the eyes turn yellow, and the skin turns pale (with rare exceptions it turns red). An attack of alcoholic delirium implies urgent hospitalization in a drug treatment clinic or psychiatric hospital, where drug treatment is carried out. In the absence of qualified assistance, death can occur. The alcoholic is removed from the state of delirium tremens quickly. The main thing is to maintain a sleep schedule, which should be deep and prolonged.