Delirium Tremens

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Ben Sanderson

People from all classes can live a normal life, with no one being the wiser, despite the DT's which seems to be daily routine for Ben Sanderson here.

Delirium Tremens (also known as "Delirium Tremendous", "Delirium the Great", "Ben Sanderson's Syndrome", the "DT's" or "shaking like a 5 year old boy watching The Exorcist") is one of the nastiest possible experiences in life which mostly occurs to people who really drink a lot. It can also happen to what seems like the majority of long-term benzodiazepine abusers (correction, actually just users) and sometimes to barbiturate users. In short, it is the crappiest type of drug withdrawal available on planet Earth. The actually funny thing about it is that it seems to be achievable with legal drugs only. I would recommend never going for it but if you're an extreme hobbyist, why not give it a shot?

edit Causes

Drinking like a champion for years on end and quitting cold turkey. Also, taking the recommended dosage of Xanax every day for a couple of weeks should do it. Recommended, hah! Gets me every time.

edit Common Psychological Symptoms

Delirium (well duh, obviously), formication (not to be confused with fornication), global confusion, disorientation, agitation, anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares, paranoia, delusions, suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, indecipherable speech, seeing mouses that bursted out of your belly, seeing the devil and hearing all sorts of annoying things he's saying to you.

edit Common Physical Symptoms

Tachycardia, fever, hypertension, hyperthermia, hyperreflexia, diarrhea, vomiting, diaphoresis (wtf is that, oh, sweating), feeling those mouses which bursted out of your belly, feeling that rotten bastard of a devil taking a hold of your neck when he starts whispering, cardiac arrhythmia, heart attack, shaking or twitching body parts, muscle spasms, grand mal seizures, stroke, coma yada yada yada and imminent death for instance.

edit Types of Delirium Tremens

Alcohol delirium is relatively short and the most vicious bastard of the lot. To prevent staff's and patient's mortality, set a red carpet to the psych ward's floor right before he steps in. This person might think that he is the king of Finland and is entitled to such treatment (they actually have a president, but it's possible he still thinks that). If the treatment he seeks is not matched, he may threaten to have everyone beheaded. At first play along with him, then quickly stick a strong tranquilizer up his buttocks and relieve the king from his duties.

Benzodiazepine delirium can last even up to 2 months but is easier to manage if tapered off properly (they'll give you nothing and deny benzo withdrawal even exists). You'll be bordering between life and death and the worst part of it is that you'll actually live to fight another day. After this is phase over, you'll get to enjoy other very pleasant withdrawal symptoms possibly for months, years or indefinitely. Wait a minute, this stuff is legal right?

Barbiturate delirium can be pretty much as severe as benzo delirium but not as prolonged.

GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid) delirium is nasty but not as severe as the ones listed above. It's a pussy withdrawal so you should man up and try doing it cold turkey (okay don't).

edit Prevention

Delirium is, has been and always will be. Eventually, all walls come crashing down just as predicted. That is the nature of Delirium Tremens. Just be sure to tell your drunken friends about this godawful culmination of all known unfairness, so at least it can be delayed.

edit Treatment

Some Drunken Hero

Before detox, the patient appears to be "speaking in tongues". What little sense is left in him, he says he used to be an airplane with hundreds of passengers and snakes. He must have recently watched that movie called Snakes on a Plane.

Some Drunken Hero

After detox, the patient is now speaking in complete sentences. He may compliment the physician on his white raincoat and express surprise that they come in cotton. Other improvements are duly noted such as him not thinking that he used to be an airplane, but an actual passenger in one.

Dial 911 or whatever your emergency number is. If you can't remember what your emergency number is or if by accident you called a Pizza Hut in Norway, then go to the street and start shouting about naked aliens coming to abduct you from planet Aerius 12. I'm not really advising you to do so, as it should happen pretty automatically anyhow. If you don't think you need a pretty much boring and unnecessary visit to E.R, then you can always:

  • Drink more if your stomach can keep it in (if you can separate your beer from a bottle of mouthwash)
  • Eat more benzos (if you can separate your Valium medicine strip from a razor blade)
  • Use more barbiturates (if you can separate a pill of Seconal from the eye of your dead grandmother which appeared as if from nowhere)

edit History

First mentioned in the early 1800's when local drunkards reported seeing fancy pink elephants that simply weren't there. Delirium Tremens had a mortality rate speculated even as high as 35% before the invention of benzodiazepines (which can also cause Delirium, how perfect is that?). Writer Jean-Louis "Jack" Kérouac vividly described his experience with Delirium Tremens in his novel Big Sur but luckily he didn't die from it. It was just internal bleeding later caused by his drinking *sigh*. Poor bastard!

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