Is It Alcohol Poisoning: How to Recognize the Signs and the Symptoms

Like with any drug, drinking too much alcohol can cause adverse effects on the human brain and body. One adverse effect that can occur to someone that has been consuming too much alcohol is the development of alcohol poisoning. In fact, the symptoms of alcohol poisoning are often so severe that individuals that develop this illness must be rushed to see a doctor. Due to how intense alcohol poisoning is, one can only assume what the alcohol poisoning recovery time is. 

So that you’re aware if you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol poisoning, learn about the signs and symptoms of the illness. Also, learn how to treat and prevent alcohol poisoning.

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is when the level of alcohol in a person’s blood is so high that it’s causing that person’s brain to shut down. Essentially, alcohol poisoning is the same thing as an alcohol overdose. 

If alcohol poisoning is severe enough, it could lead to brain damage, or even death. In fact, according to the National Vital Statistics Reports (NVSR) that the CDC published in 2017, alcohol poisoning caused 75,354 deaths in America. Alcohol poisoning also caused 31% of the injuries that led to death. 

Due to the seriousness of the effects of alcohol poisoning, it’s important for people to not let themselves linger with the illness for too long without calling 911. To not do that though, you must first be aware that you or your loved one is even suffering from alcohol poisoning. 

That’s why it’s so important to know what causes alcohol poisoning. It’s also important to know the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning and the alcohol poisoning recovery time. 

Causes of Alcohol Poisoning

Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is the ingredient in alcoholic drinks that causes people to overdose. This is because this ingredient isn’t meant to be consumed in large portions. Unfortunately, many people choose to binge drink alcohol. 

Binge drinking is when a man consumes five or more drinks in less than two hours, or a woman consumes four or more drinks in less than two hours. Extreme binge drinking is when a man consumes 10 or more drinks in less than two hours or a woman consumes eight or more drinks in less than two hours. 

Due to how much ethanol people consume when they binge drink, binge drinking is a major cause of alcohol poisoning. There are other factors that can also influence whether or not a person that is drinking or binge drinking will develop alcohol poisoning. 

Factors That Influence the Likelihood of Someone Developing Alcohol Poisoning

There are many social and biological factors that impact the chance of a person developing alcohol poisoning. Some of them are described below.

Gender

For example, men are more likely to develop alcohol poisoning than women. This is because men tend to drink more than women.

Age

A person’s age can also impact the chance that he or she will develop alcohol poisoning. For example, middle-aged adults are more likely to develop alcohol poisoning than younger adults. This is because middle-aged adults are more likely to take prescription medications that, when mixed with alcohol, heightens the chance of a person overdosing. 

Height and Weight

Signs and the Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

A person’s size and weight can also impact the chance that that person will develop alcohol poisoning. This is because people that are taller and weigh more have more blood and water in their bodies that the alcohol can go to and be flushed out by. Thus, people that are taller and bigger must consume more alcohol to develop a high enough blood alcohol level to get alcohol poisoning. This means that smaller individuals tend to develop alcohol poisoning much more easily than their taller and heavier counterparts.

Overall Health

A person’s overall health can also impact the chances of that person developing alcohol poisoning. This is because illnesses such as alcohol poisoning can develop more easily in people whose bodies are already in poor condition. 

Alcohol Tolerance

A person’s general alcohol tolerance, along with how much that person eats and drinks can influence the chances of that person developing alcohol poisoning as well. This is because the bodies of individuals with greater alcohol tolerances have become accustomed to handling a certain amount of alcohol. Therefore, people with higher alcohol tolerances need to consume more alcohol to get alcohol poisoning. 

On the flip side, it takes less alcohol to get people with low alcohol tolerances to develop alcohol poisoning. This is especially true if those with low alcohol tolerances haven’t eaten much food recently to absorb some of the alcohol that they’ve consumed. 

Alcohol Poisoning Signs and Symptoms

There are numerous signs and symptoms that show if a person is developing alcohol poisoning or not.  Many of these signs and symptoms start off small but then grow to become extremely dangerous. Many of these signs and symptoms also slow down the body due to the fact that alcohol is a depressant. 

Some of the initial alcohol poisoning signs and symptoms include:

  • Smelling like alcohol
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Poor coordination
  • Damp or clammy skin

As alcohol poisoning progresses, symptoms will include:

  • Severe confusion
  • Trouble staying awake
  • Vomiting
  • Choking on one’s own vomit
  • Seizures
  • Slowed biological responses 
  • Low body temperature
  • Very slow heartbeat
  • Bluish or pale skin
  • Severe dehydration
  • Hypothermia
  • Brain damage
  • Coma 
  • Heart Attack 
  • Death

Alcohol Poisoning Recovery Time

Alcohol poisoning recovery time can vary depending on the individual and the situation. This is because factors like weight, height, the amount of alcohol and food that a person consumes, etc. all impact how long alcohol poisoning will last. 

How to Treat Alcohol Poisoning

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol poisoning, you need to immediately call 911. Also, make sure to stay by the side of the person that is suffering from alcohol poisoning. 

Also, keep the person with alcohol poisoning awake. In fact, if you can, also try to make the person with alcohol poisoning sit up and drink water as he or she waits for an ambulance to arrive. 

If the person with alcohol poisoning is cold, feel free to cover that person with a blanket. If the person with alcohol poisoning is passed out, try to get the person to lay on his or her side. That way the individual won’t choke on his or her own vomit when throwing up. 

Once the ambulance comes to take the person with alcohol poisoning to a hospital, make sure to inform the paramedic about every detail about his or her alcohol poisoning as you can. That way, the paramedic can relay the proper information to the emergency doctors. Doing all these things will ultimately help shorten the alcohol poisoning recovery time. 

Once in the emergency room, some people that suffer from alcohol poisoning must get their stomachs pumped. Getting a stomach pumped helps keep leftover alcohol from getting into the bloodstream. Some people also flush their stomachs and blood of toxins. 

People that are in treatment for alcohol poisoning can also receive IV fluids to help treat their conditions. Depending on how severe a person’s alcohol poisoning is, that person may also need to receive oxygen to breathe. 

How to Not Treat Alcohol Poisoning

Just like there are ways to treat alcohol poisoning, there are ways to not treat alcohol poisoning. For example, making a person with alcohol poisoning take a cold shower could actually harm the person. This is because individuals with alcohol poisoning are already struggling with extremely low body temperature. This is due to alcohol being a depressant that slows the body down.

To prevent the person with alcohol poisoning from starting to vomit, don’t give the person any more food. Also, don’t even try to have the person with the alcohol poisoning intentionally throw up as doing so can cause that person to choke.

Another thing that is a don’t when taking care of someone that is suffering from alcohol poisoning is making the individual walk. This is because walking while struggling with alcohol poisoning could cause someone to fall. Instead, just have the person with alcohol poisoning sit up as he or she waits for the ambulance.

How to Prevent Alcohol Poisoning

To avoid developing alcohol poisoning, always try to drink in moderation. Also, it’s important to drink water in-between drinking alcoholic beverages. 

To make sure that you have something in your body to help absorb some of the alcohol that you consume, eat before you drink. Plus, people that take prescription medications shouldn’t take them while drinking, as doing this could increase the chances of developing alcohol poisoning. 

Treat Your Alcohol and Drug Disorders Here at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

At Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center, our goal is to meet each member’s needs and figure out the best plan of action that fits each of them individually. That’s why we offer so many pathways to recovery. 

To further ensure that we meet the individual addiction recovery needs of all of our members, our physicians concentrate on addiction medicine and mental health. Thus, whether you need help getting sober from alcohol and healthy after receiving alcohol poisoning or you need help treating a co-occurring disorder, we can help you. 

To learn more about Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center and the various addiction treatment and mental health services that we offer, contact us today! Our compassionate, trained, and experienced staff members are able to connect with you 24/7.