What is Alcohol Poisoning?

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While most people drink alcohol in moderation, others do not. Binge drinking is most common among teens, young adults and those struggling with alcohol addiction. The body can only process a certain amount of alcohol at a time, when too much alcohol is consumed it can lead the body to shut down. What is alcohol poisoning?

Binge Drinking and Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning occurs when the body is unable to process the amount of alcohol an individual has consumed. The average body can only process one drink per hour. When the number of drinks consumed increases, the body must work harder to process the alcohol. As an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) increases so does impairment. The body’s reaction to alcohol consumed depends on a variety of factors: age, gender, drinking tolerance, ethnicity and the amount of food eaten prior to drinking. Alcohol poisoning occurs when there is so much alcohol in the individual’s bloodstream that the areas of the brain that control basic life-support functions begin to shutdown. The areas of functioning that can shut down are; breathing, heart rate and regulation of body temperature. The result can range in severity from vomiting, seizures, coma, brain damage and death.

Individuals who are at the greatest risk of alcohol poisoning are teens, young adults and those struggling with alcohol addiction. Underage drinkers often consume many drinks at one time. This is considered binge drinking. By not allowing the body adequate time to process the alcohol, the drinker is at risk for alcohol poisoning. As BAC increases so do the effects of alcohol. This can lead to impaired judgment, dangerous behaviors, injury, violence, risky sexual choices and in cases of alcohol poisoning – possible death. Once individuals begin experiencing significant impairment, it is imperative that they stop drinking. This is not always the case. Individuals who are struggling with alcohol addiction often find themselves unable to stop drinking. They are at great risk of harming themselves and others. They are also at a high risk for alcohol poisoning. As inhibitions decrease, alcohol consumption often increases. This can lead to death.

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol consumption can escalate from fun to dangerous very quickly. While most cases of alcohol poisoning are related to binge drinking, this is not always the case. Alcohol poisoning can occur individuals who may have had more to drink than they normally consume. This all depends on their age, gender, ethnicity, amount of food consumed and their tolerance for alcohol. Once someone has become dangerously intoxicated it is crucial that those around him or her seek help immediately. They will be unable to help themselves at this point of intoxication. It is important to be able to detect symptoms of alcohol poisoning and understanding the severity of the symptoms. Here are some symptoms of alcohol poisoning.

  • confusion
  • slurred speech
  • loss of coordination
  • vomiting
  • agitation or aggression
  • noisy breathing
  • dilated pupils
  • clammy skin
  • seizures
  • irregular or slow breathing
  • blue tinged or pale skin
  • low body temperature
  • conscious but unresponsive
  • unconsciousness

Alcohol Poisoning Treatment

What is alcohol poisoning treatment? Treatment for alcohol poisoning depends upon the severity of the symptoms. At a minimum the individual will be monitored in a hospital until the symptoms have resolved. Some individuals with alcohol poisoning require oxygen therapy if they have a low respiratory rate. Intravenous fluids may be required if the patient suffered from excessive vomiting and fluid loss. In severe cases, pumping the stomach to remove alcohol that hasn’t been absorbed in the bloodstream may be necessary. For individuals who are unconscious they may need to be intubated to avoid asphyxiation, Asphyxiation occurs when contents of the stomach enter the lungs.

Concerned About Yourself or a Loved One?

Drinking alcohol in excess, binge drinking and alcohol addiction are all serious issues. The body can only process a small amount of alcohol effectively in a given time. Individuals who drink in excess are in danger of serious health risks including alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning can result in coma, brain damage and death. If you are struggling with alcohol addiction or you are concerned about a loved one, it is imperative that you seek help immediately. If you or someone you know needs help from alcohol addiction, do not hesitate to contact us at (888)357-7577.



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