Even though worldwide it’s widely available and socially acceptable to drink, alcohol is still responsible for thousands of deaths and countless injuries every year. Moreover, despite the fact that it’s addictive and dangerous, people continue to normalize alcohol consumption in a way that would never be tolerated with other drugs. In fact, alcoholic beverages are advertised on all major media, and alcohol is available in anywhere from the supermarket to your favorite restaurants to the arena where you go to watch sports games.
According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.3 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 70.0 percent reported that they drank in the past year; 55.3 percent reported that they drank in the past month.
In 2018, 26.45 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month; 6.6 percent reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month.
Regular Events with Drinking Can Lead to Alcohol Poisoning
Many people commonly relax and hang out with friends by celebrating at parties, cheering a favorite sports team, and enjoying get-togethers after work. For some, these occasions may also include drinking—even binge or extreme binge drinking, which is drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time. And when that happens, the results can be deadly.
Drinking too much and too quickly can lead to significant impairments to your mind and body such as motor coordination, decision-making, impulse control, and other functions, increasing the risk of harm. Continuing to drink despite clear signs of significant impairments can result in alcohol poisoning.
How Deadly Can Alcohol Abuse Be?
Alcohol poisoning is a serious, and sometimes deadly, the consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and gag reflex and potentially lead to a coma and death. Alcohol poisoning can also occur when adults or children accidentally or intentionally drink household products that contain alcohol.
We often witness an intoxicated person and just think they need to sleep it off. It is dangerous to assume a person will be fine by sleeping it off. One potential danger of alcohol poisoning is choking on one’s own vomit. Alcohol at very high levels can hinder signals in the brain that control automatic responses such as the gag reflex. With no gag reflex, a person who drinks to the point of passing out is in danger of choking on his or her vomit and dying from a lack of oxygen. Even if the person survives, alcohol poisoning like this can lead to long-lasting brain damage.
The following signs and symptoms may indicate a progression from being drunk to alcohol poisoning:
- hypothermia (the person’s body temperature drops)
- pale skin, sometimes it may take on a bluish tinge
- the individual is unresponsive but conscious (stupor)
- the individual passes out
- abnormal breathing – sometimes up to 10 seconds between breaths
- very slow breathing
- vomiting – potential to choke on vomit when confused
In some serious cases:
- breathing might stop completely
- a heart attack may occur
- there is a risk of choking on their own vomit – vomit might be inhaled into the lungs causing a serious infection
- if the individual loses too much fluid (severe dehydration), there is a risk of brain damage
- if blood glucose levels drop (hypoglycemia), they might develop seizures
- If alcohol poisoning is extreme, the patient can go into a coma and potentially die.
We at Allure Detox are Here to Help
Our treatment specialists encourage you to know the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning. If you notice any signs, get help and don’t wait; the person doesn’t have to have all of the signs or symptoms.
If you or a family member has a drinking problem, please contact Allure Detox today. We can help put the problem drinker on the road to a richer and more rewarding life.