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Risks of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning occurs when there is an excess concentration of alcohol in your blood and if it causes a change in behavior or mental function. It can potentially be fatal, especially if you are unaware of alcohol poisoning symptoms and overlook them. Some common signs include vomiting, mental confusion, low body temperature, and difficulty remaining conscious.

Learning about the causes, risks, treatments of alcohol poisoning, and how to help prevent it from occurring. 

What Causes Alcohol Poisoning?

In the United States, excessive alcohol consumption leads to over 95,000 deaths on an annual basis, or 261 deaths per day. Alcohol poisoning is typically caused by consuming too many alcoholic beverages within a short time frame. 

One major cause of alcohol poisoning is binge drinking, which is defined as the rapid consumption of five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours by males, or at least four drinks within two hours by females. 

Drinking too much alcohol within a short time span can be life-threatening. As you continue to drink, your blood alcohol content (BAC) level will keep climbing even as you fall unconscious. It may get to the point where you can no longer regulate your emotions or physically function at an optimum level. 

Alcohol Poisoning Signs And Symptoms

If you suspect that someone is showing signs of alcohol poisoning, you should call 911 for immediate medical attention. If left untreated, these can significantly worsen and cause severe damage. 

Some mild symptoms include: 

  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination and balance
  • Smelling like alcohol
  • Damp skin

More serious symptoms of alcohol poisoning include: 

  • Slow breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble remaining conscious
  • Severe disorientation 
  • Pale skin
  • Low body temperature

Extremely severe signs of alcohol poisoning and its consequences include: 

  • Choking on vomit or being unable to breathe because of it 
  • Seizures 
  • Brain damage
  • Hypothermia
  • Heart attack
  • Death
  • Coma
  • Severe dehydration

How To Treat Alcohol Poisoning At Home

If you see someone who has any symptoms of alcohol poisoning and you’re looking into how to treat alcohol poisoning at home, the first thing you should do is to call 911 for medication attention. You should also take the following measures: 

  • Keep the individual awake and encourage them to sit upright
  • Allow them to sip water if they are conscious
  • Cover them with a warm blanket
  • Don’t leave them alone
  • If they are unconscious, keep them on their side to prevent them from choking on their vomit
  • Note down how much alcohol they consumed and tell the paramedics what symptoms they have 

When To See A Doctor

Ideally, it is best not to wait for severe symptoms of alcohol poisoning to occur before contacting a doctor. The sooner it is treated, the more likely it is that you prevent any long-term damage from occurring. 

In addition, if you know someone who is displaying signs of alcoholism, you should seek help right away from a licensed professional. 

How To Prevent Alcohol Poisoning

To prevent alcohol poisoning from occurring in the first place, it is best to know your limits. Always keep track of how much you and your friends drink so you can intervene if needed. Moderation is key. Other methods of preventing alcohol poisoning include: 

  • Drinking no more than one alcoholic drink per hour
  • Avoiding drinking games that encourage binge drinking 
  • Not mixing alcohol and prescription medications
  • Not drinking alcohol on an empty stomach
  • Knowing your tolerance level 
  • Being aware of alcohol content and types in mixed drinks 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re still wondering about the risks and signs of alcohol poisoning, here are some of the most commonly asked questions about alcohol consumption. 

What are the risks of being an alcoholic?

There are plenty of risks associated with being diagnosed with alcoholism including alcohol poisoning from high blood alcohol levels, physical injury, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer, memory problems, and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

What is considered a drinking problem?

Generally, health care providers classify individuals as having an alcohol use disorder when they have 3 or more drinks in 1 day, many times a month, or many times a week. It is also more significant if alcohol consumption interferes with your daily life in areas of work, family, and/or physical and mental health. 

Does drinking every day make you an alcoholic?

Having a drink doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an alcohol use disorder, though it might potentially lead to health problems down the line. 

Ideally, drinking alcohol should be done responsibly and within limits in order to prevent alcohol poisoning from occurring in the first place. This means that healthy adults can consume up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. 

Learn more about the potential consequences of an alcohol use disorder at Reliable Certified today! 

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