Alcohol Poisoning Signs and Treatment for Alcohol Overdose

Alcohol use is a major problem in the United States. In fact, excessive alcohol use is responsible for 140,000 deaths each year. While two thirds of these deaths are attributable to long-term alcohol use, short-term health effects of consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time (like alcohol poisoning) play a big role in alcohol-related deaths as well.

How long does alcohol poisoning last?

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer. How long alcohol poisoning last will vary from person to person based on their body, if medications were involved, how often they drink, and their blood alcohol content.

Alcohol Poisoning Definition

Alcohol poisoning, or an alcohol overdose, is a serious health problem that can be deadly in some cases. It occurs when someone drinks too much alcohol too quickly. It can lead to a number of different health problems and those who are dealing with an alcohol overdose will likely need medical attention. Alcohol poisoning is often a result of binge drinking over a few days or in a short period of time.

What is alcohol poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning occurs when someone drinks so much in a short amount of time that basic body functions (like breathing, heartbeat, and temperature regulation) all begin to shut down. Alcohol poisoning can lead to permanent brain damage and death.

Alcohol Poisoning BAC (Blood Alcohol Content)

The exact amount of alcohol in your blood will have a direct correlation to the likelihood of alcohol poisoning. However, alcohol poisoning can set in at a variety of BACs based on numerous factors specific to each person, like: age, alcohol tolerance, gender, speed of drinking, medication use, food intake, and more.

Effects of BAC

0-0.05% (Mild Impairment) – You may begin to feel relaxed or sleepy and have mild speech and physical coordination issues.

0.06-0.15% (Increased Impairment) – You may become more aggressive at this point and will have significant driving impairments. You will likely also notice increased physical, speech, and memory issues.

0.16-0.30% (Severe Impairment) – You may begin vomiting or having black out episodes. Decision making and driving skills will become severely impaired. Balance, reaction time, and memory will also become significantly impaired.

0.31-0.45% (Life Threatening Impairment) – Alcohol may begin interacting with your brain and suppressing critical functions like breathing and keeping your heart beating. You may lose consciousness and risks of dying increase dramatically.

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Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol abuse, it is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning. Being able to identify the problem when it occurs may be the difference between life and death. If someone you know experiences blood alcohol poisoning it’s important to get medical attention immediately. If alcohol overdoses become a regular occurrence, it is important to tackle the root problem and consider alcohol abuse treatment, like rehab.

How to tell if you have alcohol poisoning:

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning are best remembered as CUPS:

    1. Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin
    2. Unconscious or unable to be roused
    3. Puking repeatedly or uncontrollably
    4. Slow or irregular breathing

Vomiting is also a symptom and may lead to death as people can choke on their own vomit if left alone while experiencing signs of alcohol poisoning.

Medications and Alcohol Poisoning

One of the largest factors increasing risk of alcohol poisoning is taking medication while drinking. Taking pain killers, anti-anxiety medications, and even over-the-counter antihistamines can cause increased risks. Common medications that are dangerous to mix with alcohol include: Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, Xanax, Adderall, Robitussin, Ambien, and more.

Prescribed and illegal opioid pain killers can be a deadly mistake as well.

Alcohol Poisoning Treatment

While alcohol poisoning is a major problem and can lead to life-threatening complications, there are things that can be done to help people overcome the issue. That said, this help will come in the form of medical attention. If you or someone you love is dealing with some type of problem that you believe to be alcohol poisoning, it is best to call emergency services and not leave their side until medical professionals arrive.

Doctors are likely to use IV fluids, a mixture of vitamins and glucose to prevent brain damage and other physical complications, supplemental oxygen, and anti-seizure medication.

Following this, if a person is struggling with alcohol abuse in general, it can be best for them to seek out the help of an alcohol addiction treatment center. There are numerous treatment centers throughout the country that can help clients overcome alcoholism. The Hope House is one luxury addiction treatment center that help people conquer alcohol addiction and work toward long-term sobriety.

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