What is alcohol poisoning? How dangerous is alcohol poisoning?


Consuming large amounts of alcohol is really not a bright idea! Ever heard of or had to go to the hospital alcohol poisoning? It can has very serious negative impact on your life. Medical News Today’s Christian Nordqvist writes bout the dangers of alcohol poisoning.

When a person has alcohol poisoning they have consumed a toxic amount of alcohol, usually over a short period. Their blood alcohol level is so high it is considered toxic (poisonous). The patient can become extremely confused, unresponsive, disoriented, have shallow breathing, and can even pass out or go into a coma. Alcohol poisoning can be life-threatening and usually requires urgent medical treatment.

alcohol poisoning

When somebody consumes an alcoholic drink, their liver has to filter out the alcohol, a toxin, from their blood. We absorb alcohol much more quickly than food – alcohol gets to our bloodstream much faster. However, the liver can only process a limited amount of alcohol; approximately one unit of alcohol every hour.

Rapid drinking can bring your BAC so high that your mental and physical functions become negatively affected. Your breathing, heartbeat and gag reflex – which are controlled by types of nerves – might not work properly. You become breathless, you may choke, and your heart rhythm might become irregular. If your BAC is high enough, these physical functions can stop working, the patient stops breathing and passes out (loses consciousness).

In the USA approximately 50,000 cases of alcohol poisoning are reported annually. About one patient dies each week in the USA from alcohol poisoning.

What are the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning?

The following signs and symptoms may indicate a progression from being drunk to alcohol poisoning:

  • Confusion
  • Hypothermia (the person’s body temperature drops)
  • Pale skin, sometimes it may take on a bluish tinge
  • The individual is unresponsive but conscious (stupor)
  • The individual passes out
  • Unusual breathing rhythm
  • Very slow breathing
  • Vomiting.

In really serious cases breathing might stop completely, a heart attack may occur, there is a risk of choking in their own vomit, vomit might be inhaled into the lungs causing life-threatening damage. Hypothermia may become dangerous. If the individual loses too much fluid (severe dehydration) there is a risk of brain damage. If blood glucose levels drop they might have fits (seizures).

If the alcohol poisoning is extreme the patient can go into a coma and eventually die.

alcohol poisoning

Treatment and helping somebody with alcohol poisoning

The National Health Service (NHS), UK, says that if you believe somebody is suffering from alcohol poisoning you should call for an ambulance, and provide the following assistance until it arrives:alcohol poisoning

  • Try to keep the individual awake
  • Try to keep them in a sitting position, not lying down
  • If they are able to take it, give them water
  • If the person is unconscious put them in the recovery position and check they are breathing
  • Don’t give them coffee, it will worsen their dehydration
  • Do not lie them on their back
  • Do not give them any more alcohol to drink
  • Do not make them walk.

In hospital, depending on the patient’s BAC level and severity of signs and symptoms, staff may just monitor them until their alcohol levels have dropped. A tube may be inserted into their windpipe to help with breathing, they may be given an intravenous drip to control hydration and blood glucose and vitamin levels, they may be fitted with a urinary catheter if they have become incontinent. In some cases the patient’s stomach may be pumped – fluids are flushed through a tube that goes down their mouth or nose.

alcohol poisoning

Read more here.

Alcohol poisoning can result in serious long-term damages to your body or even in death.Alcohol consuming your life? Please contact Bridgeway Behavioral Health to end your alcohol addiction by visiting www.bridgewaybh.com.

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