ICD-9 Diagnosis Code 291.0

Delirium tremens

Diagnosis Code 291.0

ICD-9: 291.0
Short Description: Delirium tremens
Long Description: Alcohol withdrawal delirium
This is the 2014 version of the ICD-9-CM diagnosis code 291.0

Code Classification
  • Mental disorders (290–319)
    • Organic psychotic conditions (290-294)
      • 291 Alcoholic psychoses

Information for Medical Professionals

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Index of Diseases and Injuries
References found for the code 291.0 in the Index of Diseases and Injuries:

Information for Patients

Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

Also called: Alcohol dependence

For most adults, moderate alcohol use is probably not harmful. However, about 18 million adult Americans have an alcohol use disorder. This means that their drinking causes distress and harm. It includes alcoholism and alcohol abuse.

Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, is a disease that causes

  • Craving - a strong need to drink
  • Loss of control - not being able to stop drinking once you've started
  • Physical dependence - withdrawal symptoms
  • Tolerance - the need to drink more alcohol to feel the same effect

With alcohol abuse, you are not physically dependent, but you still have a serious problem. The drinking may cause problems at home, work, or school. It may cause you to put yourself in dangerous situations, or lead to legal or social problems.

Another common problem is binge drinking. It is drinking about five or more drinks in two hours for men. For women, it is about four or more drinks in two hours.

Too much alcohol is dangerous. Heavy drinking can increase the risk of certain cancers. It can cause damage to the liver, brain, and other organs. Drinking during pregnancy can harm your baby. Alcohol also increases the risk of death from car crashes, injuries, homicide, and suicide.

If you want to stop drinking, there is help. Start by talking to your health care provider. Treatment may include medicines, counseling, and support groups.

NIH: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Alcoholic ketoacidosis
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Alcoholic neuropathy
  • Deciding to quit drinking alcohol
  • Health risks of alcohol use
  • Helping a loved one with a drinking problem
  • How to stop drinking
  • Myths about drinking alcohol
  • When you are drinking too much - tips for cutting back



Delirium is a condition that features rapidly changing mental states. It causes confusion and changes in behavior. Besides falling in and out of consciousness, there may be problems with

  • Attention and awareness
  • Thinking and memory
  • Emotion
  • Muscle control
  • Sleeping and waking

Causes of delirium include medications, poisoning, serious illnesses or infections, and severe pain. It can also be part of some mental illnesses or dementia.

Delirium and dementia have similar symptoms, so it can be hard to tell them apart. They can also occur together. Delirium starts suddenly and can cause hallucinations. The symptoms may get better or worse, and can last for hours or weeks. On the other hand, dementia develops slowly and does not cause hallucinations. The symptoms are stable, and may last for months or years.

Delirium tremens is a serious type of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. It usually happens to people who stop drinking after years of alcohol abuse.

People with delirium often, though not always, make a full recovery after their underlying illness is treated.

  • Delirium
  • Delirium tremens

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