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Understanding Alcohol Poisoning

woman sitting in bed with a bad hangover with no understanding of alcohol poisoning and how it could affect her

The misuse of alcohol is a serious problem in the United States that can lead to devastating consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that excessive alcohol consumption leads to over 88,000 deaths each year and is the third leading preventable cause of death in the country. One of those consequences of excessive drinking is alcohol poisoning, which can be deadly if not treated promptly. While not all alcohol abuse leads to alcohol poisoning, if you or a friend have been hospitalized for excessive alcohol consumption, you should seek a professional alcohol rehab facility.

Insight Recovery Center in North Carolina offers comprehensive and compassionate outpatient treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. Call 828.826.1376 to learn more.

How Common Is Alcohol Poisoning in America?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), there are an estimated 2,200 deaths from alcohol poisoning each year in the United States. Young adults between 18-24 years old are at the highest risk of dying from alcohol poisoning, with nearly 75% of all cases occurring in this age group. Binge drinking—drinking four or more drinks per occasion for women and five or more drinks per occasion for men—is one of the most common causes of alcohol poisoning and is responsible for more than half of all hospitalizations due to excessive drinking among young adults aged 18-24 years old.

The most important thing to remember is that alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency and can be deadly without immediate treatment. If you or someone you know has had too much to drink and is showing signs of alcohol poisoning, call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency room immediately. With proper care from qualified professionals in an alcohol rehab program, recovery from alcohol abuse is possible. Insight Recovery Center in North Carolina offers evidence-based addiction treatment. Call 828.826.1376 to learn more.

What Causes Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning occurs when someone has consumed too much alcohol too quickly. When someone consumes large amounts of alcohol within a short period of time, their blood alcohol content (BAC) rises rapidly, leading to severe consequences, such as:

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing
  • Low body temperature
  • Pale skin color
  • Passing out

In the United States, if a person’s BAC is 0.08% or higher, they are considered impaired for the purposes of driving. At around 0.15% BAC, a person may experience an altered mood, nausea and vomiting, loss of balance, and some loss of muscle control. A 0.30% to 0.40% BAC is potentially life-threatening, and an individual is likely experiencing alcohol poisoning and may lose consciousness. Anything over 0.40% BAC is potentially fatal and can lead to coma or even death due to respiratory depression or aspiration pneumonia.

How Does Too Much Alcohol Affect Human Physiology?

Excessive drinking affects human physiology by altering chemical reactions in the brain that are necessary for normal functioning. Too much alcohol changes the balance of neurotransmitters—chemicals responsible for communication between cells—in the brain. When someone drinks too much alcohol, it can make them confused, sick, and sleepy. It can also cause problems with coordination and bad decisions like driving when you shouldn’t. Drinking too much alcohol over time can damage your liver, pancreas, and other organs. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption can cause dehydration as well as vitamin deficiencies due to malabsorption caused by irritation or damage to your intestines from alcohol abuse. This can also lead to additional long-term health problems.

Contact Insight Recovery Center Today

If you or a loved one have been hospitalized for excessive drinking, a professional treatment program can help. Alcohol poisoning is a sign of uncontrolled drinking and may indicate that professional help is necessary. Insight Recovery Center offers evidence-based substance use treatment programs so individuals struggling with alcoholism can get the help they need.

Call 828.826.1376 or contact us online to learn how we can help you understand alcohol poisoning and take the first steps toward recovery.