The abuse of alcohol is a serious problem that can lead to many different side effects. One of these possible effects is called alcohol poisoning and it can be deadly. There becomes a tipping point when alcohol use becomes toxic. In fact, alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances available. Alcohol poisoning is a constant risk for heavy drinkers, making it important to know how to help someone if they are experiencing it.
What Is Alcohol Poisoning?
Alcohol poisoning is a very serious condition that requires receiving medical attention immediately. Alcohol poisoning is a medical state that occurs when people drink far past the point of initial intoxication and continue to dangerous levels. This leads to a potentially deadly buildup of alcohol in the bloodstream. Even when a person has stopped consuming alcohol, their blood alcohol levels continue to rise.
When alcohol poisoning happens, serious medical conditions occur, such as oxygen deprivation. While the oxygenation goes down, blood glucose levels also reduce, which can potentially trigger a seizure. Repeated vomiting combined with a lack of hydration can lead to brain and organ damage.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
- Slurred speech
- Poor coordination or difficulty walking
- Trouble staying awake
- Damp or clammy skin, sometimes bluish in color
- Slow responses, such as gag reflex
- Low body temperature
- Slow heart rate
- Slow breathing
- Losing consciousness
What Factors Contribute to Alcohol Poisoning?
Anyone can develop alcohol poisoning, regardless of their history of drinking. Someone who consumes alcohol for the first time may not understand how quickly alcohol effects can take place and may drink to the point of it becoming dangerous. On the opposite spectrum, even someone with a reputation for being able to consume a lot of alcohol on a regular basis can cross the line into alcohol poisoning.
Things that contribute to a person developing the condition include their weight and overall health. How recently they ate food and how much factors in, as well as their tolerance for alcohol. How much alcohol is in each drink they consume, as well as how much they drink and how quickly contributes to the development of alcohol poisoning. If a person has also consumed drugs, whether over-the-counter, prescription or illegal, can factor in.
How to Help Someone With Alcohol Poisoning
If you witness someone you suspect is experiencing alcohol poisoning, acting immediately can save their lives. Call 911 first and make sure not to leave the person alone. If they are awake, try to keep them awake and sitting up. Cover them with a blanket or something else to keep them warm, and help them try to sip some water.
If the person has passed out, roll them onto their side in order to help prevent them from choking on vomit, should they need to throw up. When medical help arrives, describe their symptoms in full and be honest about how much the person drank, even if they are underage or you fear judgment for the situation. Provide any medical information you have about the person, such as allergies to medications, medications or drugs they take, or any pre-existing conditions.
Do not try to give the person food or make them throw up, as both of these things could lead to them choking. Don’t attempt to get them to walk, as it could lead to a fall. Do not give them a cold shower in an attempt to revive them, as it may lower their body temperature.
Knowing the Signs of Alcohol Abuse
Learning how to help someone with alcohol poisoning will be easier if you become familiar with the signs of alcohol abuse and can recognize them in a person. Signs that someone has become addicted to alcohol include:
- Poor coordination
- Impaired memory
- Difficulty thinking
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech
- Weight gain or loss
- Loss of interest in personal hygiene
- Unable to stop drinking
- Frequent hangovers
- Spending a large amount of money on alcohol
- Drinking alone and secretively
- Ignoring family, work, and other responsibilities in order to drink
- Engaging in risky behavior, such as drunk driving
- Denying they have a problem
Helpful Treatments for Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is one of the few drugs with a potentially lethal withdrawal. This makes it imperative that a person who decides to seek treatment for alcoholism gets it from a facility that provides help during the detox process. Side effects from alcohol withdrawal range from uncomfortable to potentially dangerous and even deadly, if not monitored by medical professionals.
Once initial detox or residential treatment ends, a person can choose from several kinds of outpatient treatment. These can include intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs, and those that offer alumni services for those who have completed treatment. The right kind of alcohol addiction treatment program uses a wide array of options in order to provide a well-rounded recovery process to its clients.
Individual and group counseling are paramount when it comes to helping someone understand their condition and how to keep from relapsing. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can uncover the types of thoughts that lead to problematic behaviors. These thoughts can be changed into more productive ways of thinking. Family therapy can help rebuild important relationships that have been damaged by substance abuse.
Finally, a carefully planned relapse prevention program can help set up a person for long-term success in the future. No matter where your biggest issues lie, a skilled rehab facility will design your complete rehabilitation program with your exact needs in mind every step of the way.
How to Help Someone With Alcohol Addiction
If you know someone who you believe may be addicted to alcohol, initiate a conversation with them when they are sober. Let them know you are worried about them and cite examples of their behavior and the negative consequences that came from it. Tell them you will help them get the treatment they need and support them while they work towards recovery.
If one conversation doesn’t produce results, don’t be afraid to have more. Organize an intervention, if need be, in order to help them realize that there is life beyond addiction to alcohol.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction in Asheville, NC
Crest View Recovery Center provides treatment for alcohol addiction in the Asheville, NC area. Our facility provides an innovative form of addiction therapy to effect real changes in people’s lives. Additionally, the peaceful setting allows for a full immersion in the recovery process.
You don’t need to let an addiction keep you down. You can learn how to help someone who has experienced alcohol poisoning today. Contact Crest View Recovery Center today at 866-986-1371 to learn how to begin your healing transition.