Delirium Tremens Changed Views On 19th Century Alcoholism

Jul 9, 2014

Imagine watching a group of men mutilate the body of your mother.  This is what poet Edgar Allan Poe experienced as a hallucination brought on by alcohol-induced delirium tremens, DT’s.  On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with historian Matthew Osborn to discover how this condition, first described in 1813, was the catalyst for changing how the medical profession diagnosed and treated the problems of alcohol abuse.


  • Mathew Warner Osborn is an assistant professor of history at UMKC and the author of Rum Maniacs: Alcoholic Insanity in the Early American Republic.