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6 Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning, also known as an alcohol overdose, is extremely serious. It is the direct result of a person drinking too much alcohol and if it occurs, immediate medical attention is needed.

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

When you drink too much alcohol too quickly, the body will not be able to metabolize it. This results in alcohol building up in your system, which leads to the dangerous and potentially life-threatening symptoms of alcohol poisoning. 

Alcohol poisoning can happen to anyone who drinks alcohol, especially people who are binge drinking. The best way to avoid alcohol poisoning is to not drink alcohol. If you do drink, make sure you are aware of the key signs and symptoms of an alcohol overdose. 

Here are 6 Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

1. Pale Skin

Pale skin can be common with alcohol poisoning. The skin can also become very cold and even blue.

2. Clammy Skin

A person who is experiencing alcohol poison might develop wet, sweaty skin. 

3. Slowed Breathing

Breathing can become very slow, as a result of the nervous system and brain functioning in an altered state. This can cause severe complications. 

4. Confusion

The individual might become very confused and disoriented, and not understand where they are or what they are doing. They might also have difficulty walking or functioning. 

5. Becoming Unconscious

Similar to all symptoms of alcohol poisoning, losing consciousness is a very serious sign that the individual needs immediate medical attention. 

6. Vomiting

Vomiting can occur. If this is the case, the person should be placed on their side to reduce the risk of choking if they pass out. 

The symptoms of alcohol poisoning can include all of the above or just some of the above-mentioned signs. 

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) & Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol poisoning occurs when a person drinks too much alcohol at a rate that the body isn’t able to keep up with (and therefore metabolize). When the BAC in a person’s body increases, even in very small amounts, the symptoms of overdose can begin. 

If you do drink, consider only having one drink to reduce your chances of overdose. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) lists a standard drink being one 5 fl oz of wine, one 12 fl oz of regular beer, 8 to 9 fl oz of malt liquor, or a 1.5 fl oz shot of distilled spirits.

Is Alcohol Poisoning an Emergency?

Yes, alcohol poisoning symptoms are a serious medical emergency. When it occurs, you need to seek medical attention immediately for the individual by calling 911. Even if you aren’t sure if the individual does have alcohol poisoning, you should always call for help to be safe. 

Never leave the individual alone if you suspect they are overdosing. Instead, you should stay with them until medical help arrives. As mentioned above, if the person begins vomiting, they need to be turned on their side to prevent choking.

Risk Factors for Alcohol Poisoning

Some people are at higher risk of alcohol poisoning than others. These factors include:

Binge Drinking

People who binge drink are at a higher risk of alcohol poisoning. Binge drinking is consuming more than five alcoholic drinks within one hour and is when a person’s blood alcohol levels reach .08g/dl or higher. 

Body Size

Body size can play a significant role in the rate at which our body metabolizes alcohol. People with a greater height and weight might be able to metabolize alcohol at a faster rate than a smaller person. 

Age

Young adults have a tendency to drink alcohol in higher amounts than older people. 

Gender

Men tend to drink more than women on average, putting them at higher risk.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

If you have experienced alcohol poisoning even once, or are someone who binge drinks, you might have an alcohol addiction and need professional rehab treatment to get sober for the long term. Alcohol detox and an inpatient rehab program with Gloria Rehab can provide you with:

Get Addiction Treatment for Alcohol Abuse Today

Our team at Gloria Rehab is here to help you get your life back from alcohol use disorder and substance abuse. Our detox and inpatient rehab program offers effective evidence-based therapies for patients with a unique and individualized approach to care.

Contact us today to begin your treatment process. 

Review by: Hasmik Karapetyan, PMHNP, MSN, RN​

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