In moderation, alcohol consumption isn’t problematic. However, some consume too much alcohol too quickly, which can result in alcohol poisoning. Without treatment, this condition can be fatal. In fact, the CDC estimates that approximately 2,200 people die from this condition each year. What causes alcohol poisoning, and what are the symptoms associated with this condition?
What is Alcohol Poisoning?
Alcohol poisoning occurs when individuals consume more alcohol than their bodies can process at one time. Excessive consumption allows the alcohol in their bloodstream to accumulate to dangerous levels.
The liver eventually filters and processes all alcohol consumption. However, the liver can only process one serving of alcohol per hour. A serving equates to smaller amounts of alcohol than one might think.
For example, experts consider 12 ounces of beer or five ounces of wine is considered one serving. When more than one serving is consumed within a short time frame, the liver cannot process all of it. This results in too much alcohol circulating through the bloodstream. If the individual continues to drink, they can begin to experience the outward signs of alcohol intoxication.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of acute alcohol poisoning can include:
- Severe confusion
- Labored or slow breathing
- Irregular breathing
- Blue or pale skin
- Low body temperature
- Loss of consciousness and eventual coma
An individual who is experiencing any of the above alcohol effects should seek medical help immediately. In fact, it’s far better to seek treatment before a loss of consciousness occurs. Once a person loses consciousness, the chances of fatal alcohol poisoning rise exponentially.
How You Can Help
The best thing you can do for a friend or loved one experiencing alcohol intoxication is the following:
- Call 911 immediately upon presentation of symptoms like those above
- Provide emergency personnel with relevant information such as the amount and type of alcohol consumed
- Never leave individuals unattended as they may need assistance clearing their airways
- Provide assistance during vomiting episodes by sitting individuals up or laying them on their side to prevent choking
Importance of Seeking Professional Treatment
The right drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs can get individuals on the right track to recovery. Such alcohol recovery programs can also provide continuing support to help the person restructure their life and prevent relapse. They can also address the unpleasant symptoms of alcohol withdrawal to make the process easier.
If you have a loved one that is experiencing signs of addiction, we are here to help. You or your loved one can break free from the heavy weight of addiction by seeking treatment from a reputable drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. Contact us at 866-379-4365 to find out how we can help you get started on the road to recovery.