Can You Overdose on Alcohol?
Many people question whether or not you can overdose on alcohol. The fact is, drinking excessively can definitely be a serious hazard to one’s health. The dangers of alcohol poisoning leads many to end up seeking professional help for a friend or loved one, but sadly enough, too often the help comes too late. Alcohol overdose or alcohol poisoning can lead to death. You may have heard common myths about sobering up such as drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, sleeping it off, etc. These methods really are just myths and they do not work when alcohol poisoning is taking effect. The fact is that time is the only thing that can reverse the effects of alcohol and in tragic cases, there may not be enough time when too much alcohol has been consumed. Many different factors will affect the level of intoxication in a given person, so it’s not easy to tell just how much alcohol is too much.
What Happens When You Overdose on Alcohol?
Drinking alcohol will depress a person’s nerves which are linked to involuntary actions – like breathing and the natural gag reflex that prevents choking. In the case of an alcohol overdose, the over consumption of alcohol eventually stops these involuntary functions altogether. It is not uncommon for a person who consumed too much alcohol to vomit due to the fact that alcohol is known to irritate the stomach. Another danger of excessive alcohol intake is actually choking on vomit, which has caused many deaths by asphyxiation in people who were not conscious due to intoxication.
What some people may not know is that a person who is intoxicated may continue to experience a rise in his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) – even after he or she is passed out. The alcohol in the stomach and intestine will continue to go through the system and enter the person’s bloodstream throughout the body. You should never assume that a person will be fine by sleeping off the intoxication.
Take into account these critical signs and symptoms of alcohol overdose:
• Confusion, or passed out to the point of a coma where a person cannot be roused at all
• Vomiting excessively
• Seizures due to the amount of alcohol consumed
• Very slow breathing – less than 8 breaths per minute
• Irregular breathing which can be defined as going ten seconds or more between breaths
• Hypothermia – a lowered body temperature which may result in a bluish skin color or unnatural paleness
If you feel that a family member or friend may be in danger of an alcohol overdose, it is important to seek help immediately.
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