Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms
Due to ubiquitous marketing campaigns and widespread cultural acceptance, many people mistakenly see drinking as the best way to celebrate, relax and have fun. Unfortunately, some of us tend to forget that alcohol is a drug that can significantly impair coordination, decision-making abilities and impulse control.
Drinking too much within a short period puts you in danger of doing irresponsible things like driving under the influence and having unprotected sex. In extreme cases, it can also lead to alcohol poisoning.
What Is Alcohol Poisoning?
An overdose occurs when there is so much of a substance in your body that it causes your brain to start shutting down essential life-support functions. Alcohol poisoning can lead to death or permanent brain damage.
Intoxication might be life-threatening depending on many factors, including your age, weight, alcohol tolerance and the amount of food you’ve eaten. Alcohol poisoning symptoms include:
- Slow heart rate
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Clammy skin
- Dangerously low body temperature
Alcohol and Other Drugs Are a Dangerous Combination
People can significantly increase their risk of an alcohol overdose by drinking while taking drugs like opioids, anti-anxiety medications and sleep aids. Like alcohol, these drugs suppress activity in the brain regions responsible for controlling vital functions such as breathing.
If you rely on these medications, remember that drinking even a small amount of alcohol with drugs in your system intensifies each substance’s individual effects and could quickly lead to an overdose.
Reacting to an Alcohol Overdose
If you and your friends routinely binge drink, knowing the signs of alcohol poisoning and how to respond can help save lives. Assessing whether someone is in danger of passing out, choking or going into respiratory arrest can be challenging if you are also impaired, but you shouldn’t wait for a potential alcohol overdose victim to display every alcohol poisoning symptom before calling 911.
It’s dangerous to let a person remain unconscious after having too much to drink. That’s because their blood alcohol concentration can continue increasing after they pass out, elevating the danger. Because alcohol can suppress the brain signals that control automatic responses such as the gag reflex, one potential danger of alcohol overdose is choking on vomit and asphyxiating. Even if the alcohol overdose victim survives asphyxiation, they can have permanent brain damage from a lack of oxygen.
Don’t play doctor – home remedies like cold showers, coffee and walking cannot reverse the effects of an alcohol overdose and could make matters worse. Instead, try to keep the victim upright and conscious to prevent them from choking on vomit while you wait for first responders to arrive.
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