It’s no secret that by drinking alcohol, a person takes on significant risk. But alcohol poisoning is a hazard of excessive drinking that should be taken seriously, as it is potentially life-threatening. The Center for Disease Control estimates that there are an average of 2,200 deaths from alcohol poisoning every year. Know the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning—it just may help you save a life in the future.
What is Alcohol Poisoning?
Alcohol poisoning is defined, simply, as when a person consumes too much alcohol too fast, to the point that the body cannot metabolize it fast enough. The result is that alcohol becomes highly concentrated in the bloodstream. It begins to negatively impact and slow down basic and essential functions of the body, like heart rate, body temperature, and breathing. The parts of the brain that direct these and other essential biological functions become totally overwrought and depressed by alcohol.
How much alcohol causes alcohol poisoning?
While every person and their tolerance for alcohol is different, alcohol poisoning is most often the result of binge drinking. Binge drinking is when a person has four or more alcoholic drinks within two hours. Essentially, you are at risk for alcohol poisoning if you drink too much in a short period of time. It should be noted that alcohol poisoning is far beyond merely “being drunk.” It is a dramatic impairment of basic biological functions necessary for survival by an excess of alcohol.
Symptoms and Signs
One should beware of the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning to protect themselves and to help others you may encounter get potentially life-saving medical treatment.
A person need not have all of the following symptoms or signs to indicate that they are beginning to suffer or are suffering from alcohol poisoning. Basic symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:
- Disorientation or feeling confused
- A slowed heart rate and shallow breaths
- Dramatic drop in body temperature
- Passing out/falling unconscious but still breathing
These symptoms are concerning, but others may present themselves as more serious or indicative that alcohol poisoning is more advanced, such as:
- A loss of color—turning pale, almost blue
- Heart attack
All of these symptoms, when coupled with excessive drinking in a short amount of time, are indicative of alcohol poisoning and should be taken seriously and given immediate medical attention.
Alcohol Poisoning is a Serious, Life Threatening Matter
As stated previously, alcohol poisoning is not just being drunk. It is the severe impairment of major and vital biological functions by too much alcohol consumed too quickly. Of course, it is the best choice to avoid binge drinking and excessive drinking altogether. This is the only sure way to protect yourself from the risk of alcohol poisoning.
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