Alcoholism/Drug Abuse

Using videotape to treat alcoholics with delirium tremens

Alcoholics who watch themselves after a bout of delirium tremens (DTs; a potentially fatal form of alcohol withdrawal), have less severe relapses and consume less alcohol.

Here are the details.

  • 60 patients with at least 3 years of severe alcohol dependence were videotaped during the acute phase of DTs.
  • Both groups received the same treatment.
  • Later, some got to watch themselves on tape with a narration by a psychiatrist, while others did not.

And the results.

  • Patients who watched themselves on videotape had significantly lower relapse rates during the following 3 months.
  • They also drank less alcohol.

During my residency at the Kansas City General Hospital and later at the Truman Medical Center, I participated in the treatment of lots of alcoholics with DTs. It’s pretty gross, and I guess when given a chance, the patients agree it is not their finest moment.

4/19/07 17:12 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.