Author: Charles Frank

Alcohol Poisoning: Symptoms, Causes, Complications, and Treatment

how to know if you have alcohol poisoning

One potential danger of alcohol overdose is choking on one’s own vomit. Alcohol at very high levels can hinder signals in the brain that control automatic responses, such as the gag reflex. With no gag reflex, a person who drinks to the point of passing out is in danger of choking on their vomit and dying from a lack of oxygen (i.e., asphyxiation). Even if the person survives, an alcohol overdose like this can lead to long-lasting brain damage.

You shouldn’t try to treat it at home or “sleep it off.” A major danger of alcohol poisoning is choking on your vomit, which can happen when you’re unconscious or sleeping. Teenagers and young adults who drink may be at particular risk for alcohol overdose. Research shows that teens and college-age young adults often engage in binge drinking and high-intensity drinking. Drinking such large quantities of alcohol can overwhelm the body’s ability to break down and clear alcohol from the bloodstream.

Alcohol poisoning can be life threatening and usually requires urgent medical treatment. Don’t assume you can sleep it off or that you’ll be OK in the morning. If you can’t sit up, lie on your side to prevent choking on your vomit. Alcohol poisoning is serious and potentially life-threatening.

We absorb alcohol much more quickly than food – alcohol gets to our bloodstream much faster. Whether someone is conscious or unconscious, first move them into the recovery position. People with alcohol poisoning are also more likely to experience injuries, which can be severe. If you think someone has alcohol poisoning, get them medical help as soon as possible. Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, affecting both appearance and function. It can lead to changes in mood, behaviour, and cognitive abilities.

Although young people are most likely to engage in binge drinking, deaths from alcohol poisoning usually involve men between the ages of 35 and 64, according to the CDC. And middle-aged people are more likely than younger ones to take prescription drugs, which can increase the severity of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol in the form of ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, is in alcoholic beverages. It’s also in mouthwash, some cooking extracts, some medicines and certain household products.

  1. It’s also in mouthwash, some cooking extracts, some medicines and certain household products.
  2. It can be hard to decide if you think someone is drunk enough to need medical help.
  3. As your body digests and absorbs alcohol, the alcohol enters your bloodstream.
  4. In the U.S., paramedics don’t charge for a visit unless the person needs to go to the hospital.
  5. Like alcohol, these drugs suppress areas in the brain that control vital functions such as breathing.
  6. But if you drink a lot in a short time, your liver may not be able to keep up.

But alcohol poisoning is so serious, that not calling 911 could result in death. In any case, it’s unlikely that the paramedics or hospital team will call the police. Alcohol poisoning happens when someone drinks too much alcohol in a short time.

Medical Professionals

Alcoholic drinks contain a form of alcohol known as ethyl alcohol or ethanol. This is also found in mouthwashes, some medicines, and household products. Poisoning happens when you drink too much ethyl alcohol in a short space of time. Other kinds of alcohol that you might have around the house, such as isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and methanol (wood alcohol), are toxic in a different way. Alcohol poisoning happens when there’s so much alcohol in your bloodstream that it starts shutting down life-supporting areas of your brain. These areas control your breathing, heart rate and temperature.

how to know if you have alcohol poisoning

Alcohol poisoning, on the other hand, can’t be treated with rest, food, coffee or other home remedies. Instead, treatments focus on keeping vital signs stable and staying hydrated. Alcohol use and taking opioids or sedative hypnotics, such as sleep and anti-anxiety medications, can increase your risk of an overdose. Examples of these medications include sleep aids, such as zolpidem and eszopiclone, and benzodiazepines, such as diazepam and alprazolam.

Emergency Action for Alcohol Poisoning

But when BAC levels are high, your liver can’t remove the toxins quickly enough. Even when someone stops drinking, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise for minutes, resulting in worsening symptoms. To prevent alcohol poisoning, limit your alcohol consumption. If you or a friend are drinking, pay attention to how much you consume and how quickly. If a friend appears to be drinking too much too fast, try to intervene and limit how much more they have. Drink no more than one alcohol-containing beverage an hour.

If you think someone has it, get them medical help as soon as possible. If you think you might have a problem with alcohol, call SAMHSA or talk to your healthcare provider. It can be hard to decide if you think someone is drunk enough to need medical help. But it’s best to take action right away rather than be sorry later. You may worry about what will happen to you or a friend or family member, especially if underage.

It is important to keep hydrated and avoid drinking any alcohol. Men ages are the most common demographic in alcohol poisoning-related fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths in the United States each year.

What Are the Effects of Alcohol Poisoning on Your Health?

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) highlights the seriousness of alcohol-related deaths. While most people recover from alcohol poisoning with proper care, it is crucial to recognise the potential risks and act swiftly if symptoms are severe. The threshold for alcohol poisoning varies based on factors such as body weight, metabolism, and tolerance. Generally, consuming a large quantity of alcohol rapidly can overwhelm the body’s ability to metabolise it, leading to alcohol poisoning.

What is alcohol poisoning?

Teens and college-age adults are most likely to engage in binge drinking. Other names for alcohol poisoning include alcohol overdose and ethanol toxicity. Alcohol poisoning typically happens when you consume a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time. It often happens from drinking excess alcohol-containing beverages, like beer, wine and/or liquor.

Someone with alcohol poisoning will be breathing slowly or irregularly, have cold skin, be vomiting a lot, and perhaps have a seizure or lose consciousness. In the U.S., paramedics don’t charge for a visit unless the person needs to go to the hospital. This is when a male rapidly consumes five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours or a female consumes at least four drinks within two hours.

Do not wait for the person to have all the symptoms, and be aware that a person who has passed out can die. Don’t play doctor—cold showers, hot coffee, and walking do not reverse the effects of alcohol overdose and could actually make things worse. Continuing to drink despite clear signs of significant impairments can result in an alcohol overdose. Remember, alcohol poisoning is a serious medical emergency. If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, call 999 immediately and follow the recommended steps while awaiting medical help.