Which conditions should be included in the differential diagnoses of delirium tremens (DTs)?

Updated: Nov 06, 2020
  • Author: Michael James Burns, MD, FACEP, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
  • Print

Conditions to consider in the differential diagnosis of alcohol withdrawal include the following:

  • Sepsis

  • Stroke

  • Intracranial hemorrhage

  • Meningitis

  • Hepatic encephalopathy

  • Hypoxia

  • Opioid abuse

  • Uremia

  • Wernicke encephalopathy

  • Anxiety

  • Epidural and subdural infections

  • Herpes simplex encephalitis

  • Hypocalcemia

  • Hypomagnesemia

  • Brain neoplasms

  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome

  • Pheochromocytoma

  • Status epilepticus

  • Amphetamine toxicity

  • Hallucinogen toxicity

  • Cocaine toxicity

  • Heroin toxicity

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitor toxicity

  • Phencyclidine toxicity

  • Sympathomimetic toxicity

  • Thyroid hormone toxicity

  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection

  • Cerebral embolism

  • Cerebral hemorrhage

  • Cerebral tumors

  • Encephalitis

  • Hypoxia

  • Raised intracranial pressure

  • Substance intoxication and withdrawal

  • Toxic ingestions or exposures (eg, methanol, salicylates, ethylene glycol, carbon monoxide, anticholinergics)

  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency

  • Thyrotoxicosis

  • Pellagrous encephalopathy - Niacin deficiency, causing pellagra; can be seen in persons who are homeless, are malnourished, have AIDS, or have chronic alcoholism; can present as an isolated acute delirium, without dermatitis or diarrhea, and has been mistaken for alcohol withdrawal

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!