Alcoholic Delirium and Other Withdrawal Syndromes

  • Volker Schuchardt
  • Dennis L. Bourke
  • Michael N. Diringer


Alcoholism is a major public health problem causing various neurological diseases (Table 1), the most frequent and most important of them being delirium tremens (DT). In our experience, more than 20% of 1720 patients admitted to the neurological intensive care unit (ICU) during a 7-year period were alcohol dependent. Of these, 78 admissions (4.5%) were because of delirium tremens. Three distinct scenarios associated with alcoholism are frequently encountered in the neurological ICU:
  1. 1.

    A known alcoholic is admitted because of an illness not directly caused by alcohol; prophylactic treatment to avoid DT is required.

  2. 2.

    An alcoholic is admitted with clear signs of alcohol withdrawal (impending delirium tremens); development of full-blown delirium tremens must be prevented.

  3. 3.

    A patient is admitted specifically because of active delirium tremens or has developed DT while being treated for another disease.



Intensive Care Unit Withdrawal Syndrome Alcohol Withdrawal Opioid Withdrawal Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Volker Schuchardt
  • Dennis L. Bourke
  • Michael N. Diringer

There are no affiliations available

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