Delirium tremens is the Latin phrase meaning “shaking frenzy” – a condition of acutely disturbed state of mind that usually occurs during withdrawal from sedative-hypnotic substances, primarily alcohol. Other sedative-hypnotics such as barbiturates or benzodiazepines can also cause delirium tremens. In rare cases, infection-induced intoxication of brain damage due to head trauma may be the underlying cause.
Most commonly, however, delirium tremens is associated with alcohol abuse. Lengthy drinking binges are likely to lead to this condition in 70% of cases. Of all substances, alcohol is considered the most severe to withdraw from, and alcoholics have a hard time subliming their addiction since there is no appropriate substitute. Minor symptoms of delirium tremens include depression, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, fever, tremors, sweats, nightmares and mood swings. Descriptive signs are hallucinations, vomiting, seizure attacks, heart palpitations and vomiting. This is a life-threatening condition, and one should turn to medical attention as soon as possible.
Proper medical care is crucial at the early stages of delirium tremens. Risk of permanent damage to the brain, heart and nervous system, or even lethal outcome, increases with every minute the patient experiences acute symptoms. If alcohol induction is certain, light doses of alcohol are advisable, but only to calm the patient – taking too much can worsen the condition. Evidence from recreational marijuana users and clinical research suggests that medical marijuana may be used to alleviate visible mental signs of delirium tremens. Being the alternate calming medication approved for treatment of aggressive conditions, cannabis can mend the mind and provide a healthy sleep, much needed by the patient.
Medical marijuana can also help cope with severe headaches associated with delirium tremens. There is clinical evidence that migrane and cluster – headaches that typically accompany the ‘shaking frenzy’ – respond very well to marijuana treatment. Pain relieving properties of cannabis are beyond doubt, and combination of pain and sedative treatment in one natural remedy may be what is needed to help wear off the effects of delirium tremens.