When someone binge drinks too much alcohol in a short period of time their blood alcohol level becomes so high that it’s toxic. When not taken care of immediately alcohol poisoning can be fatal. Alcohol poisoning can also be an indicator of alcoholism, or having a problem with drinking.
Below we highlight the effects that alcohol has on your body, the most common signs of alcohol poisoning, at what point you should get medical help, and what you need to avoid doing.
What Alcohol Does To Your Body
Alcohol is a poison to your body. Since your body can only process one unit of alcohol per hour it becomes incredibly dangerous when a person ingests a lot of alcohol in a short period of time. Keep reading for some of the most common damages that alcohol can wreak on your body.
- Dehydrates your body and mind, which can lead to brain damage
- Decreases your blood sugar levels, potentially causing seizures
- Can damage your nerves, leading to heart problems
- Can slow brain functioning, leading to poor decision making
The Warning Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
Often, the signs of acute alcohol poisoning can be hard to detect. One second it seems like a guest at your party is simply drunk and the next they are suffering from alcohol poisoning. It’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of alcohol overdose, as the person suffering won’t be able to help or diagnose themselves.
Some of the most common symptoms are as follows:
- Pale skin
- Going unconscious
- Slow breathing, or strange breathing patterns
- Lowered body temperature
Unfortunately, some of these symptoms can be mistaken as someone being incredibly intoxicated. If you believe that a person only has one or two of the above symptoms make sure you get them professional medical help.
When someone is that close to suffering from alcohol poisoning it’s better to err on the side of caution. Every single day six people die in the US from acute alcohol poisoning. It’s important to leave the decision making in the hands of professional medical staff who have seen hundreds of these cases.
What To Avoid
Things like drinking black coffee, sleeping it off, or taking a cold shower don’t work. Sometimes, doing this will actually do more harm than good. The longer you wait the more the alcohol they’ve ingested will be metabolized by the body, and the higher their blood alcohol content (BAC) will rise. This means they could even become more impaired as they sleep.
Coffee will only lead to further dehydration. While, cold showers will only further lower their body temperature. Letting the person sleep it off will only cause their BAC to increase, and they also run the risk of choking on their own vomit.
The only way to truly help your friend who is suffering from alcohol poisoning is to take them to the hospital. If you believe that a friend of loved one might have had too much to drink, act fast, and call an ambulance.
“Alcohol Poisoning Deaths” CDC. Web. 6 Jan 2016. 28 Jan 2016.
“Alcohol Overdose What Should You Do?” The University of Texas at Austin. Web. 28 Jan 2016.
“Alcohol Poisoning: How Much Alcohol Does it Take?” University of Washington. Web. 28 Jan 2016.