Alcohol Poisoning – a Potentially Fatal Night of Drinking

Alcohol PoisoningAlcohol poisoning isn’t just a problem that afflicts college students and reckless youth- it can happen to anyone- even experienced drinkers. In fact, according to Consumer Information Depot, “Approximately 50,000 cases of alcohol poisoning are reported each year.” (1) These figures are especially troubling considering that many people suffer from alcohol poisoning and don’t know it or do not report it. In some cases, alcohol poisoning and the potential resulting coma is regarded by many as simply “sleeping it off.” However, alcohol poisoning is a serious medical emergency that can easily result in death if not treated in time.

The College Drinking Prevention website details the dangers of alcohol poisoning in an effort to educate college students about the risks:

“Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (which prevents choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions. It is common for someone who drank excessive alcohol to vomit since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach. There is then the danger of choking on vomit, which could cause death by asphyxiation in a person who is not conscious because of intoxication.” (2)

These symptoms can be severe but are often disregarded or ignored because many people who drink to excess often do so in the presence of other people who are also drinking to excess. This altered state of perception can lead one person to consume so much alcohol that their respiratory system begins to shut down and the people around them remain unaware of this life-threatening state. This is why education about alcohol poisoning is critical before a person ever drinks to excess.

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning is usually caused when a person consumes a large amount of alcohol in a relatively short period of time. Because the human body can only process a small amount of alcohol each hour, over-saturation can eventually lead to a BAC or Blood Alcohol Level that is so high that it begins to impair the brain and respiratory systems. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

“Confusion, stupor, vomiting, seizures, slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute), irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths), blue-tinged skin or pale skin, low body temperature (hypothermia), unconsciousness (“passing out”), and can’t be roused.” (3)

Alcohol Poising Is Life Threatening

Alcohol poisoning is a life threatening condition and should be treated as such. If you think someone has had too much to drink and their life may be in danger as a result, you should get help immediately. Furthermore, if you or someone you love has a history of alcohol poisoning incidents, you should be aware that alcoholism could be present. In this case, treatment is essential in order to fight this progressive, clinical disease. It doesn’t matter whether the person in question is a young college student or a grizzled veteran – alcohol poisoning and alcoholism can happen to anyone, and in nearly all cases they will not be able to help themselves. If this describes someone you know, pick up the phone and call us now. We are one of the country’s most successful alcohol addiction recovery centers, and we can provide you with guidance any time – day or night. What are you waiting for? Call us now for a free, confidential consultation.

(1) Consumer Information Depot Alcohol Poisoning Statistics
(2) College Drinking Prevention Facts About Alcohol Poisoning
(3) Mayo Clinic Alcohol Poisoning – Symptoms

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More