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AN EVALUATION OF HYDROTHERAPY IN THE TREATMENT OF DELIRIUM TREMENS
Robert M. Bell; Perry C. Talkington
Am J Psychiatry 1938;95:161-166.
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Taunton, Mass.

Philadelphia, Pa.

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Abstract

In the literature mortality results in delirium tremens ranging from 37 per cent to 3.82 per cent are reported.The present study consists of 112 consecutive admissions diagnosed delirium tremens which were treated principally by hydrotherapy. The routine of treatment consisted of (I) complete withdrawal of alcohol,(2) saline cathartics,(3) cold wet sheet packs during the period of active hallucinosis and excitement,(4) neutral continuous baths from 93° to 96° F.,( 5) electric light bath for the promotion of elimination,(6) fan douche and needle spray for their tonic effects,(7) high caloric diet, and (8) occupational therapy.Under this régime the average duration of hallucinosis was 3.2 days with an average hospital stay of 27.3 days. The greatest number of cases occurring in any age group was found to be 39 patients between the ages of 30 and 39 years. The group between the ages of 50 and 59 years required the longest average hospital residence, namely 46 days. Death occurred in 5 or 4.46 per cent of these cases.This method of treatment requires special equipment and a highly trained personnel. However, since the results compare so favorably with other series reported it is felt that hydrotherapy is an excellent means of treating delirium tremens.

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