Alcohol Poisoning Treatment
A person doesn’t need to be an alcoholic or have an addiction to suffer from alcohol poisoning. This is a situation that happens more often than people think. Sometimes it is slight enough that people can manage without immediate medical intervention. However, it is an issue that is unfortunately on the rise, and people need to be aware of it, both for their sake and for the sake of their friends and family.
What Is Alcohol Poisoning?
Alcohol poisoning can happen to anyone, and someone may merely not be paying attention to how much they are drinking until it’s too late. It’s important to remember this because if you were asked to picture someone who suffers from alcohol poisoning, what do you think you would imagine? Someone in a business suit, drinking over lunch? A homeless person drinking away their pain in an alleyway? A college student trying to study for exams? In reality, all of them could suffer from alcohol poisoning, but you probably only pictured the homeless person, simply because that is the image you have learned from your culture. Anyone can drink until they suffer from alcohol poisoning, and you need to know the signs and what to do if you see it happening.
So anyone is at risk for alcohol poisoning. There are some things to think about when it comes to risk factors that change how likely it is someone will drink to the point of suffering from alcohol poisoning.
How Do You Know If You Have Alcohol Poisoning
First, if someone already has a problem with alcohol, whether it’s binge drinking all the way up to addiction, they are at higher risk to have alcohol poisoning. This one seems more obvious. They are at higher risk because they are drinking more and have less control over their drinking, needing more and more before they can stop.
College students are also at risk. It is seen as more socially acceptable for those at university to drink large amounts. For some, it may be a challenge or a contest, like passing fraternity initiation. Others it could just be a stress relief of being on their own for the first time and struggling to keep up.
Besides the college-age crowd, those in middle age, late thirties to early fifties, are also at a higher risk of developing alcohol poisoning. This is likely due to changes in their metabolism and having a slightly higher risk of using alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Finally, having a mental illness, like depression or anxiety, means that a person is more likely to drink or use drugs. This also, unfortunately, puts them in a higher risk category for having to recover from alcohol poisoning. While they may have a need to drink, they have more purpose in their drinking, to escape how they are feeling or what they are thinking about. Drinking more and more is a way to numb whatever it is they are experiencing.
How Do You Get Alcohol Poisoning?
Drinking too much, or drinking to excess doesn’t always lead to alcohol poisoning. Let’s look at some factors that lead to alcohol poisoning and how much one usually has to drink before they get it.
Generally, binge drinking is the main ways of getting alcohol poisoning. Binging involves drinking five or more drinks in two hours if you are male and four or more drinks in two hours if you are female.
Here’s how a drink is defined. The standard sizes and alcohol content are:
- 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol)
- 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol)
- 5 ounces of 80-proof liquor
The body is remarkably efficient at filtering toxins from the bloodstream. Alcohol is recognised as a toxin by the body, and it wants the alcohol out. It is, however, slower at it than one would expect. It can metabolise, or remove, 0.25 ounces of alcohol from the bloodstream in an hour. That means it can take almost a day to metabolise a night of binge drinking.
This is what leads to alcohol poisoning most often. The person is just drinking much more than the body can process. It is, in essence, an alcohol overdose.
Who Is At Risk?
There are some mitigating factors when it comes to alcohol consumption that can help or hinder alcohol poisoning from developing. First, a person’s body weight plays a role in this. The more a person weighs and the more fat they have to absorb the alcohol, the more it will take for them to develop alcohol poisoning. Next, their tolerance level plays a role, too. If they drink regularly or even have a problem with alcohol, their tolerance has built up, and they need more than the average person to feel the effects of it. Overall health and wellness play a final factor. People with liver disease, for example, will be more susceptible to alcohol poisoning.
If you have any questions about how much you can drink, always drink less. It is very easy to start to lose track of how much you have had to drink and overdose. Help can come, but is it really worth risking your health and your life just to drink that last drink?
It is true that alcohol poisoning puts a person’s health and life at risk. If you see someone that could be experiencing the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, get medical help right away. This could be a matter of life and death.
Alcohol Poisoning Signs
Some of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:
- Slow breathing or irregular breathing. They may have as few as eight breaths a minute.
- Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
- Low body temperature/hypothermia
- Passing out. They may not be able to be woken up.
- Irregular heartbeat.
These could ultimately lead to long-term damage to the brain and other vital functions of the body. In severe cases, untreated alcohol poisoning could lead to:
- Heart attack
- Brain damage
- Seizure disorders
A person’s breathing could easily stop while unconscious from alcohol poisoning. Other times, a person vomits while unconscious and ends up choking to death on it. These are horrific, but even if a person lives, they could suffer from brain damage, cognitive impairment, seizures and emotional instability for the rest of their lives. This is a terrible outcome for a night of hard-drinking.
How to Help Someone With Alcohol Poisoning
There is no easy cure for someone who is experiencing alcohol poisoning. If you are with someone and they are showing symptoms of it, the best course of action is to seek medical help immediately. Do not wait.
There are some things that you can do to help make a person suffering from this to be safer and lower their risk of having a tragic outcome. First, do not leave them alone. They need to be watched closely for the next few hours. Also, keep them away. Slipping into unconsciousness is very risky for someone who drank too much. If they are unconscious, seek help immediately, and keep checking to make sure they are still breathing until help arrives.
Help them to stay upright as much as possible. If that can’t happen, let them lay on their side with their head laying on the ground, so if they do vomit, it doesn’t get caught in their throat. If they are able, keep them hydrated. Start with water and try to keep that going in them as much as they can tolerate.
Although many people still think caffeine, like giving them coffee, is a way to sober someone up, this is not true. Do not give someone with alcohol poisoning coffee. It only serves to dehydrate them more. Also, do not give them more alcohol. The “hair of the dog that bit you” remedy is still popular, but it will only make matters worse here. Do not let them lay down on their back, only on their side. Let them stay still, don’t make them walk around; this only increases the chances of an accident and has no real value in helping them process the alcohol.
If something does not seem right, if they are not showing signs of improvement after a few hours, or if you cannot wake them if they are unconscious, get help for them right away. Really the best way you can help a friend or loved one with alcohol poisoning is to get them to a doctor or hospital as soon as possible.
Over drinking is an everyday occurrence in Scotland and in the rest of the world. Some people will drink a lot, more than they should. When someone binges this puts them at risk for serious health problems from alcohol poisoning, this could lead to long-term issues like brain damage or seizures, but it could put your loved one in a coma, or worse, dead. You can help them if you see the warning signs for overdosing on alcohol. If you have any concerns about your drinking or a loved one, please call for assistance, treatment can stop this before it gets any worse.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a drinking problem, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We can answer any questions you may have about the recovery and treatment process.
Call Rehab Guide Now on 02072052845