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Alcohol Overdose vs Alcohol Poisoning

Did you know that it is possible to become extremely sick or even die from excessive alcohol consumption? Alcohol poisoning, which is also known as alcohol overdose, occurs when you drink more alcohol than what is possible for your body to process.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about alcohol overdose/poisoning and how to receive treatment if you have an alcohol addiction. 

What is an Alcohol Overdose vs Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol overdose is the same thing as alcohol poisoning. When you drink too much alcohol too quickly, the body has difficulty metabolizing it, which causes it to accumulate. With a moderate level of consumption, the small intestine and stomach will absorb the alcohol, and your liver will metabolize it. However, when the liver becomes overwhelmed, the alcohol has nowhere to go and therefore, has to move throughout the body. This results in symptoms of alcohol poisoning. 

Alcohol poisoning is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe sickness or even death. 

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol is a depressant to the central nervous system, and therefore the symptoms of alcohol poisoning can include: 

  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Feeling confused
  • Slowed breathing
  • Paleness
  • Clammy skin
  • Becoming unconscious
  • Slow heart rate
  • Unusually low body temperature

If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, you should immediately call 911. Many people with alcohol poisoning experience only a few of the above-mentioned symptoms. 

Is Alcohol Poisoning an Emergency?

Yes. Alcohol poisoning is extremely serious. If someone is experiencing alcohol poisoning or any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you will need to seek medical attention and call 911 or a local emergency number immediately. Even if you aren’t sure if the individual does have alcohol poisoning, you should always call for help to be safe. 

You should never leave a person alone, including an unconscious person. You will need to stay with them until medical help arrives. Alcohol poisoning can sometimes affect the gag reflex and cause vomiting, which can cause a person to choke as well as limit their breathing. If they do begin to vomit, you can help move them to their side to reduce their risk of choking. It can also sometimes cause seizures. Both of these reasons are why it’s important to stay with them. 

Risk Factors for Alcohol Poisoning

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

Body Size

Our body size can play a significant role in the rate at which our body metabolizes alcohol. For example, someone who is of a smaller height and weight might have difficulty metabolizing alcohol quickly, and therefore, their body cannot process as much alcohol as someone who is tall and of greater weight. 

Age

Young adults have a tendency to drink alcohol in higher amounts (and more frequently) than older people. 

Gender

Men on average tend to drink more than women. 

Binge Drinking

People who binge drink, which is consuming more than five alcoholic drinks within one hour, are at increased risk of developing alcohol poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking is when a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches .08g/dl or higher. 

How To Avoid Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is completely avoidable. If you do not drink, you will not experience alcohol poisoning. However, for those who do choose to drink, the best way to reduce the risk of alcohol overdose is by adhering to one drink per hour. 

One drink is considered to be either 12 ounces of 5% beer, 8 ounces of 7% malt liquor, 5 ounces of 12% wine, or 1.5 ounces of 40% spirits. 

How is Alcohol Poisoning Diagnosed?

Someone who is experiencing alcohol poisoning will need immediate medical attention. A doctor will perform a series of tests and conduct a thorough health history in order to diagnose alcohol poisoning. 

It is a serious condition that has the potential to severely impact the long-term health of a person.

Treatment for an Alcohol Overdose

An alcohol overdose will need to be treated in a medical facility, most likely an emergency room, and by hospital or emergency personnel. Treatment will vary depending on the exact symptoms but can include fluids, nutrients, oxygen, and potentially medication if the individual is seizing.

Alcohol Rehab

If you are someone who has experienced alcohol poisoning, you might need the help of an experienced alcohol rehab facility. At Gloria Rehab, our alcohol rehab services provide you with holistic treatment options and sober living to help you achieve sobriety and address your alcohol consumption. 

We offer a variety of treatment therapies and programs, including:

  • Effective 7-Day Detox
  • 30-Day Substance Abuse Recovery Programs
  • Evidence-based Therapies (including one-on-one and group therapies)
  • Opportunities For Fun (swimming, pool tables, and more)
  • Sponsor System to provide you with support from previous patients who have fully healed

Do Alcohol Rehab Programs Accept Insurance?

At Gloria Rehab, we accept major PPO insurance plans, in addition to some private health insurance plans. 

Get the Luxury Treatment You Deserve with Gloria Rehab

The right alcohol abuse treatment services are within your reach, and Gloria Rehab is here to help you take hold of your future. Our treatment providers are here to give you a unique and individualized approach to care for both alcohol addiction and substance abuse. 

Contact us today to begin the treatment process. Our team is also available to answer questions related to your health insurance coverage. 

Get Started

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

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