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The Dangers of Alcohol Poisoning
Posted by The Breathalyzer Team on 3/1/2012 to General Information
Alcohol PoisoningAs a brief overview, alcohol is metabolized by a healthy liver at a rate of approximately one ounce every hour and a half.  Abnormal livers suffering from pre-existing medical conditions or diseases will metabolize at a slower rate.  Livers can only process a limited amount of alcohol in a given period, approximately one unit per hour.  If we consume more alcohol than our livers can process, an excess of alcohol develops in our bloodstreams and our BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) rises.

Alcohol poisoning often results from binge drinking.  Some people are not aware of their limitations, and need to be made aware of the negative effects associated with binge drinking such as alcohol poisoning.  There are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to alcohol poisoning.  The dangers and harmful effects of excessive drinking are not taken seriously enough in today’s society.

It is imperative that binge drinking be taken seriously, regarded as a major health risk and treated as such.

Effects of Alcohol Poisoning On The Body

The more alcohol consumed, the more depressed the body’s nervous system becomes.  This results in little to no control over involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex, which prevents choking.  A fatal dose of alcohol, especially if consumed in a short period of time, can lead to death by asphyxiation.  Someone suffering from alcohol poisoning can very likely choke on his or her own vomit.  Their hearts and breathing can begin to become irregular or stop altogether.  As the body goes into shock, the sufferer can becomes highly susceptible to hypothermia (low body temperature), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, permanent brain damage and possible death.  Long-term binging can result in severe liver damage or renal failure, severe nausea, tremors, anxiety issues, memory blackouts and/or alcoholic psychoses such as idiosyncratic intoxication.

Idiosyncratic intoxication is a type of alcohol psychosis that occurs as a result of extreme, prolonged consumption or withdrawal symptoms.  Symptoms include hallucinations, illusions, delusions and extreme fatigue.  Symptoms can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

Important Things To Remember

  • Do not hesitate to assist a friend, loved one or even a stranger, should they appear to be extremely intoxicated.  Do not let them drive.  Use a breathalyzer if necessary to dissuade them from driving.  If you are concerned that they could be suffering from alcohol poisoning - watch out for the signs: intense confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow or irregular breathing and/or low body temperature. 
  • If the person appears to be in a comatose state and cannot be roused, always consider that they may have consumed a lethal dose of alcohol long before they became unconscious.
  • BACs can continue to rise even after the victim becomes unconscious.   Alcohol continues to be absorbed slowly into the body and bloodstream from the stomach long after the last drink is consumed.
  • Allowing him or her to “sleep it off” may not always be the best course of action.  If you recognize any of the symptoms listed above, place the victim in the fetal position so that his or her airway remains clear and call 911. 

    Wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?

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