What is Alcohol Poisoning?
Dear Dr. Steve:
A friend of mine died recently. He and three other buddies had gone to our usual
stomping grounds after our weekly softball game. We had a contest to see who could drink
the most shots after 2 hours. He drank 24 shots in two hours. Later, we found him passed
out in the bathroom. When we couldnt awaken him, we called the paramedics. He was
pronounced dead in the emergency room an hour later. The doctor said that he died of
alcohol poisoning from drinking too much. They said his blood alcohol content was .44.
What is alcohol poisoning? I always figured if I drank too much, I would just pass out and
sleep it off.
drug, alcohol can be toxic to those who abuse it or consume more than their bodies can
safely handle. Alcohol poisoning can occur when large amounts are consumed in a short
period of time. There are a number of variables that influence how much alcohol in what
period of time can cause alcohol poisoning. Those variables are the size and weight of a
person, the tolerance that they have developed for alcohol, how quickly they consume their
drinks, the type of alcohol that they have consumed, the individuals level of stress
and fatigue, and how much and when, if any, had the individual eaten prior to drinking.
persons level of consumption of alcohol exceeds their bodys ability to ingest
such a level, that individual will pass out. This can be exceedingly dangerous because
excessive amounts of alcohol in an individuals blood system can interfere with the
brains ability to regulate breathing. People who experience alcohol poisoning are
vulnerable to slipping into a coma, choking to death on food or perhaps their vomit, and
suffocating by experiencing respiratory arrest. Alcohol poisoning should be taken
seriously and treated like any other medical emergency.
can you tell if someone that youre with is suffering from alcohol poisoning? How can
you differentiate between someone who has just had a little too much to drink and someone
whos suffering from alcohol poisoning? What if you are unsure whether someone has
had a little too much to drink or actually is suffering from alcohol poisoning? Look for
the following symptoms of an alcohol overdose:
1.) Does not respond to being talked to or
2.) Does not respond to being pinched, prodded or poked
3.) Cannot stand up
4.) Will not wake up
5.) Slow, labored or abnormal breathing fewer than eight breaths per minute, or 10 seconds
or more between breaths)
6.) Cold, pale, bluish or purplish skin color
7.) Skin feels clammy
8.) Rapid pulse rate
9.) Irregular heart rhythm
10.) Lowered blood pressure
11.) Vomiting while awake or asleep
12.) Semi-consciousness or unconsciousness
out from drinking should be treated like the medical emergency that it is. If you
cant awaken or get a response a person who has passed out from drinking, call for
medical assistance immediately.
leave the person alone while you await medical assistance. If the person vomits while
passed out, turn them over onto their side. Pay close attention to their breathing. If the
person stops breathing, apply mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
way to avoid alcohol poisoning is to control your drinking. The best way to avoid alcohol
poisoning is to control your drinking. Know your limits. Pace how much alcohol you consume
over the course of an evening or an event.
from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to
choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D.
Recovery book seriesFrom Insanity to Serenity.