What are the Signs of Alcohol Poisoning?

Calender Posted on: May 17, 2021clock Time to read: 2 minutes

Alcohol poisoning is a serious and life-threatening condition. Unfortunately, many people do not know the signs of alcohol poisoning. As a result, there are many unnecessary alcohol poisoning deaths in America every year.

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning is a medical condition in which a person consumes too much alcohol, resulting in various levels of harm to the body. Alcohol poisoning can impact heart rate, body temperature, gag reflex, and breathing. If a person experiences severe alcohol poisoning, he or she can enter a coma and die. A person usually experiences symptoms of alcohol poisoning at around .25 BAC. The risk of entering an alcohol poisoning-induced coma significantly increases after a blood alcohol level of .35 is reached. 

factors that contribute to BAC

BAC, or Blood Alcohol Content, is determined by factors like: 

  • Birth gender
  • Weight
  • The amount of alcohol consumed
  • The period of time over which it was consumed
  • The percentage of alcohol in the drinks (ex. beer has a lower percentage of alcohol than wine)

In addition to these factors, a person’s tolerance to alcohol, whether or not the person was drinking on a full or empty stomach, and overall health can affect how severe the alcohol poisoning is. These factors include body weight, amount of alcohol consumed, the period of time over which it was consumed, 

 

The Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

According to the Mayo Clinic, the top signs of alcohol poisoning are:

  • Passing out/unconsciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Slow breathing (less than ten breaths a minutes)
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Irregular breathing (a gap of more than ten seconds between breaths)
  • Blue-tinged or pale skin

A person with any of these signs or a combination of them should seek medical attention right away.

 

The Effects of Alcohol Poisoning

Roughly 6 people die every single day in the United States as a result of alcohol poisoning. Unfortunately, many of these people are college students who do not fully understand the dangers of drinking alcohol. Some of the other effects of alcohol poisoning besides death include:

  • Choking on vomit
  • Dehydration
  • Bodily injury
  • Brain damage
  • Temporary loss of memory
  • Irregular heartbeat

Some people who experience alcohol poisoning are fine the next day and have no long-term negative health effects. However, many others are not so lucky and can experience negative effects such as brain damage. 

Anyone who consumes too much alcohol can experience alcohol poisoning and its negative health effects. People who have alcohol poisoning commonly die from choking on vomit or from the inhibition of parts of their brain that control functions like breathing being damaged and ceasing to work.

 

How to Quit Drinking Alcohol

The best protection against alcohol poisoning is to quit drinking alcohol. According to Harvard Medical School, here are some of the best things that you can do to help you to quit drinking alcohol:

  • Write out a list of reasons to cut back your drinking  
  • Don’t keep any alcohol in your house
    • Temptation to drink is easier to resist if the alcohol is farther away from you.
  • Drink slowly
    • You can alternate alcoholic drinks with water, or juice – this can help you to taper down over time.
  • Have set alcohol-free days every week
  • Avoid  high peer pressure situations
    • These can include pledging season for fraternities and sororities, certain parties, certain bars, etc.
  • Replace drinking with healthier hobbies and activities
    • These can include playing sports, hanging out with non-drinking friends, musical instruments, painting, knitting, etc.
  • Get support
    • This support can come from friends, therapists, family members, etc.
  • Don’t give up
    • Oftentimes it takes several tries to quit drinking altogether.

In addition to using these strategies to quit drinking alcohol, going to an alcohol treatment center for medically supervised detox and treatment can also be extremely helpful. Many people are also able to maintain sobriety and avoid drinking alcohol by becoming a member of alcoholics anonymous. There are regular AA meetings in most cities and in many towns in America.

 

Prevent Alcohol Poisoning

At 3rd Millennium Classrooms, we have several alcohol training courses that are used by secondary schools, colleges, courts, and agencies throughout the nation. These courses can help to educate about the dangers of alcohol poisoning and how to make good decisions regarding alcohol.

Alcohol-Wise

This online alcohol class is designed for incoming first-year or transfer students as an alcohol prevention education program. It can be used at the college or secondary level. Studies have found that students who take Alcohol-Wise are less likely to engage in high-risk drinking, less likely to drop out, and have higher GPAs. Findings were positive for college freshmen and sophomores alike, showing a statistically significant change in drinking behavior and attitudes among both groups. Alcohol-Wise provides normative drinking information, harm reduction strategies, and alcohol education.
 

Under the Influence

An intervention course for alcohol violations, this course can be used with for student or non-student offenders. Under the Influence is individualized and integrates feedback through interaction. Those who take Under the Influence identify goals that will help them make a positive change in their personal alcohol use. The course also includes a 30-day follow-up to measure changes in attitudes and behavior.
 

Contact us to review a course or learn more today!

 

References:
  1. “Blood Alcohol Level Deaths: What You Need to Know.” Drive Safely. https://www.idrivesafely.com/defensive-driving/trending/blood-alcohol-level-deaths-what-you-need-know
  2. “Blood Alcohol Concentration.” University of Notre Dame. https://mcwell.nd.edu/your-well-being/financial/
  3. “Alcohol Poisoning.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354386
  4. “Alcohol Related Death.” Alcohol Rehab Guide.  https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/resources/medical-conditions/alcohol-related-death/
  5. “11 Ways to Curb Your Drinking.” Harvard Medical School. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/11-ways-to-curb-your-drinking