Sunday, October 13, 2013

Delirium Tremens

When people who regularly consume abruptly stop, they go through withdrawal symptoms. One of them is called 'delirium tremens'. Since most people don't know Latin, this doesn't really help you understand it. However, it is also known as 'the shakes', which is at least more approachable. 

If you really want to show a character suffering, depict them having these uncontrollable spasms. And if you want it to sound believable, refer to it as "the shakes". The only time the clinical term should be used is when the speaker is referring to it clinically. If a doctor is talking about it, that's fine. But otherwise, use the colloquialisms. On top of being more believable, it is also more descriptive, so you get a two-for-one there. 

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