There are many layers to alcohol addiction—or any other type of substance abuse, for that matter. One that we will take a look at here is the signs of alcohol poisoning. What it is, what are the signs, and what are the effects. Our primary goal is to help those seeking alcohol rehab in California; but we also hope to help anyone looking to break the chains of alcohol use disorder, regardless of location.
What is Alcohol Poisoning?
Many people know what it means to be recreationally drunk, or what it feels like when they’ve had “a few too many.” But, alcohol poisoning is a very menacing threat and should be taken seriously. According to a report from the Mayo Clinic, alcohol poisoning is the consequence of drinking unreasonably large quantities of alcohol in a relatively short amount of time. One of the main culprits behind alcohol poisoning is binge drinking, which occurs when a person consumes more than five drinks in two hours. Children can also suffer from alcohol poisoning, though it is not commonly discussed. But, if a child ingests household products that contain any form of alcohol at all, they are in danger of suffering from alcohol poisoning and should be treated as such.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
The signs of alcohol poisoning kick in once the blood alcohol level reaches toxic levels. The biggest symptoms are:
- Clammy skin
- Pale and/or bluish coloring of the skin
- Slowed or irregular breathing
- Drop-in body temperature
- Losing consciousness/can’t be awakened
Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol is processed through the liver, which is typically able to process one alcoholic drink per hour. There is a little slack on this number depending on several variables: weight, gender, how much or how little food is in the system. Because of these variables, the effects of alcohol differ from person to person. It is important to note, however, that the blood alcohol level continues to rise even after a person stops drinking. So, ceasing to consume alcohol is not going to reverse the effects of alcohol poisoning. This is why it is so important to remain vigilant about spotting the symptoms.
Consequences of Alcohol Poisoning
According to data from the Center for Disease Control, there are approximately six deaths from alcohol poisoning every day in the United States. This is why it’s essential to know the dangers of alcohol poisoning. If symptoms of alcohol poisoning arise but are left untreated, they can lead to:
- Slowed heart rate
- Irregular heartbeat
- Lowered body temperature
- Impaired gag reflex
- Vomiting and choking hazard
- Lowered blood sugar
- Brain Damage
Any combination of these symptoms can easily lead to a coma and ultimately death if action is not taken.
Seeking Help for Alcohol Poisoning
It is important to note that it is not necessary to suffer from all of the symptoms before calling for help. Just a few signs are enough to merit a medical emergency. Once the signs are observed, it is imperative to call a doctor or even 911 and get help for the afflicted person as soon as possible. While waiting for help to arrive, there are key tips to keep in mind in order to prevent further harm:
Never leave an unconscious person alone. There is a good chance that they can choke on their own vomit, and this can lead to further complications if they are not closely monitored.
Help a vomiting person. Assist them during vomiting. Key elements in this scenario are to keep them sitting up to prevent any choking. If they are still awake at this time, it is suggested to do whatever necessary to keep them awake. They may think they need to sleep, but sleep can slide into unconsciousness, and that is very dangerous with cases of alcohol poisoning.
Options for Alcohol Rehab in California
The symptoms and tips laid out here are meant to help anyone battling an alcohol addiction. However, they are not a complete substitute for seeking guided treatment in a professional setting. If you or someone you know has a problem and seeks alcohol rehab in California, we would be happy to assist in any way we can. Please reach out to Ocean Hills Recovery. We have many options depending on your needs and will gladly work toward putting you on a healthier path.
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About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.