Alcohol Overdose: Causes, Risk Factors, and Symptoms

Make sure you are drinking water in between alcoholic drinks and that you do not drink on an empty stomach. While alcohol poisoning is a major problem and can lead to alcohol overdose 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 alcohol overdoses become a regular occurrence, it is important to tackle the root problem and consider alcohol abuse treatment, like rehab. There are a number of factors that play a role in a person’s alcohol consumption limit such as gender, weight and tolerance level. Since every person is different, there is no way to determine how much a person can drink before they’re at risk of alcohol poisoning. One of the most common causes of alcohol poisoning is binge drinking. Consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in such a short timeframe significantly increases your chances of harmful consequences, like alcohol poisoning.

Center for Health Education & Wellness

Per the organization, the first six weeks of a student’s freshman year in college are a vulnerable period. Heavy drinking and alcohol-related incidents are more likely to occur during this time due to academic stress and social pressures. In general, however, drinking large amounts of alcohol is dangerous for anyone and can lead you to overdose on alcohol.

alcohol overdose

A person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even while he or she is passed out. As a result, breathing and heart beat can slow, become irregular, then stop; hypothermia (low body temperature) can lead to cardiac; and hypoglycemia (too little blood sugar) can lead to seizures. Even if you do not fatally overdose on alcohol, experiencing alcohol poisoning can still have catastrophic, potentially permanent effects that can cause serious future health problems. People with chronic alcohol problems can develop several chronic conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, and memory impairment. Chronic blackouts could signal brain damage after drinking alcohol at levels that are too high for the body to process.

How do you treat alcohol poisoning?

This process helps clear the stomach of toxins from the substance. If a patient’s kidneys are working properly, healthcare providers can start dialysis to filter out alcohol from the blood, Cleveland Clinic advises. For a person to be considered a drunk driver by law, their BAC level must be 0.08 percent or higher. However, alcohol can start to impair your coordination and memory between 0.10 to 0.12 percent. Anything higher than that will increase the harmful side effects such as blacking out, choking on vomit, seriously injuring yourself, suddenly passing out and extremely slowed breathing.

Other alcohol overdose treatment involves administering fluids intravenously (IV) so that you don’t become hydrated. You also may need vitamins and glucose so that you can avoid the most serious complications of alcohol overdose. If you are wondering how much alcohol does it take to overdose, the answer to that changes, depending upon the individual. This can be true for adolescents and young adults under age 21, who are legally too young to drink. Someone can overdose on an amount of alcohol that barely gets another person drunk.

Understanding the Dangers of Alcohol Overdose

Even though my son didn’t end up going to jail, there is a permanent record of his arrest. So, that means he can never apply or ever hope to work for any kind of government job – so his onetime plan to join the Coast Guard was not going to be a possibility. Then he thought he would go to school to learn how to become an EMT, but this was a no go too once they ran his background check.

About 6 people die from alcohol poisoning every day in the US.Genetic factors also play a role in a person’s potential for alcohol overdose. The only way you can go about “curing” alcohol poisoning, or treating it, rather, is receiving supportive medical treatment while the body rids itself of the alcohol, per Mayo Clinic. This means you should be carefully monitored in a healthcare facility where medical professionals can administer therapies you will need, such as oxygen therapy.

Symptoms and Signs of Alcohol Overdose

Minor symptoms of alcohol withdrawal tend to appear within six to twelve hours of the person’s last drink, sometimes when a person still has a measurable blood alcohol level. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome are broken down by the time they’re expected to appear. A person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even while passed out as alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream. The alcohol has already passed into their small intestine and they cannot vomit those contents. Other common myths about sobering up include drinking black coffee, taking a cold bath or shower, or walking it off. It’s important to know that none of these things will help a person sober up, and they have the potential to cause more harm than good.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome affects as many as 2 million people in the United States each year, with symptoms beginning as early as two hours after the last drink. If the symptoms of alcohol poisoning are ignored and left untreated, they can be detrimental to a person’s health. This is why it’s crucial to seek medical treatment immediately at any sign of alcohol poisoning. Not properly treating alcohol poisoning can lead to a number of short- and long-term side effects. In addition, you may be more likely to continue the dangerous pattern of excessive drinking, increasing the likelihood of over-consuming again. Alcohol poisoning is a serious — and sometimes deadly — result of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.

However, when peer pressure begins or drinking becomes more out of control, your health can be at risk. Statistics show men between the ages of 35 and 64 are typically the ones who die from it. The majority of people who die from alcohol poisoning are white. But the amount of alcohol in one drink may be much higher than those in the list above. For example, some craft beers may have four times the amount of alcohol that’s in a regular beer.

  • Alcohol poisoning is often a result of binge drinking over a few days or in a short period of time.
  • This process is what helps keep you calm, and when alcohol stimulates the brain’s GABA receptors into overproduction by mimicking GABA to activate them, it overwhelms your central nervous system with GABA.
  • But when blood alcohol levels are high, your overwhelmed liver can’t remove the toxins quickly enough.

If someone passes out from drinking too much, you can help by positioning them so they will not choke on their vomit. If you are worried about them, get medical attention, especially if you can’t awaken them to the point that they can talk to you. If a friend or loved one appears to have alcohol poisoning, call 911 right away. The sooner they get treatment, the more likely you can prevent severe damage. If you think that someone has alcohol poisoning, get medical attention right away. Successful detox from alcohol is often done in an inpatient rehab center to allow for the seamless transition from the detox state into the addiction recovery program.

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