Delirium tremens (also called DTs) is the name for the uncomfortable physical and mental changes that happen when a person who has a physical dependence on alcohol suddenly stops using alcohol (withdrawal). DTs happen only if a person has had long-term heavy use of alcohol.
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal usually begin 4 to 12 hours after the person cuts down or stops drinking and can last for several days. Symptoms of DTs include:
Nausea or vomiting.
Irritability or anxiety.
Confusion or hallucinations (delirium).
Doctors treat delirium tremens with prescription medicines. In some cases, hospitalization is needed. If left untreated, delirium tremens can lead to death.