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Many people who stop or cut back on alcohol experience significant withdrawal complications; five to 10% of these may develop delirium tremens (DTs), which can be fatal without immediate medical intervention. The illness claims the lives of up to 4% of people hospitalized with the condition.

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1. Causes

Delirium tremens, also called alcohol withdrawal delirium, occurs because of brain chemistry imbalances following the cessation of long-term alcohol intake. It can also develop if a person couples alcohol cessation with consuming too few nutrients. The changes in the brain can induce life-threatening disruptions in circulation, breathing, and temperature regulation. Delirium tremens can also result from aninfection or head injury.

delirium tremens words stethoscope Sohel_Parvez_Haque / Getty Images
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