Alcohol is a poison and can occasionally have very dire consequences. On average six people a day die from alcohol poisoning. The average adult is able to safely metabolize approximately one drink an hour. This means 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 8 ounces of beer, or 5 ounces of wine. The exact metabolic rate depends on other factors as well such as alcohol tolerance, weight, and how much food you have had to eat. Alcohol poisoning occurs when the liver no longer has the ability to metabolize the alcohol. The alcohol is then circulated around the rest of the body without first being broken down.
Due to the fact that alcohol must be absorbed by the stomach and processed through the liver before it hits the bloodstream, a person can succumb to alcohol poisoning even AFTER they have stopped drinking. Alcohol poisoning can lead to damage of the body’s organ system, including the brain, kidneys, and liver. Learning the symptoms of potential alcohol poisoning could very well save a life. Keep reading to learn five signs that indicate you or someone you love may be suffering from alcohol poisoning.
VOMITING AND GAGGING
Alcohol is upsetting to the delicate ecosystem inside your stomach. The body tries to induce vomiting in an attempt to purge the toxic substance. Alcohol also dulls the gag reflex making it difficult for the intoxicated person to expel the vomit. If a person aspirates their own vomit while unconscious, they could easily choke to death, making it imperative that those who are intoxicated always sleep on their side. Perhaps if an article like this had been around in 1980, Led Zeppelin would still be a thing.
DEPRESSED, IRREGULAR, SHALLOW, OR SLOW BREATHING
As a person’s alcohol consumption increases the brain begins to slow down bodily functions. One of these functions is the brain sending the message to your lungs to breathe normally. These messages can become sporadic and interrupted causing the body to lose oxygen. This reduction in, or loss of oxygen in turn causes the brain to shut down even further creating a potentially deadly catch 22. If you or someone you are with is going for more than 10 seconds in between breaths, you need to seek medical attention immediately.
CLAMMY, BLUE, OR PALE SKIN
Building off the breathing issues previously mentioned, an insufficient amount of oxygen in a person’s blood is quickly reflected in the appearance of their skin. A pale skin tone can indicate that there is not enough oxygen being carried by the blood and the heart and lungs may be beginning to shut down. Clammy skin is indicative of changes in blood pressure and body temperature. Extremities are the first to feel the effect of the body’s lack of oxygen and any bluish hue to them is an indicator of a lack of oxygen.
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Below a certain point, your body nervous system and various other organs can no longer function optimally. If hypothermia is left unchecked it can lead to heart failure, respiratory failure, and even death. When alcohol is involved, the body’s normal response to cold (shivering) is suppressed. People who are even mildly intoxicated can also increase their odds of becoming hypothermic in cold weather conditions because they are unable to properly judge their surrounding temperatures.
Passing out from being heavily intoxicated is not nearly the same thing as simply going to sleep. Once a person is rendered unconscious from the over-consumption of alcohol, they are at risk for their bodies natural alarm systems being weakened or even not working at all. Any of the issues discussed above can arise without the person’s knowledge and be left completely untreated leading to catastrophic and even fatal results. If you are unable to wake up someone who has been drinking by shaking them or speaking to them, you may have a case of alcohol poisoning on your hands. Roll them on their side and seek medical assistance. Do not leave the unconscious person unattended.
People who are battling alcoholism are at a substantially higher risk of getting alcohol poisoning, even despite their markedly higher tolerance. Isn’t it time to put these and the other risks to your health associated with alcoholism behind you? Our staff here at Asana Recovery is trained in both detox programs and residential treatment. Here you can rest and recover among medical professionals in a safe, caring environment. Please, don’t put yourself at risk any longer. Give us a call at 949-438-4504 or visit our website today and see all the different ways in which we can help you get your life back.