Alcohol poisoning is a very serious condition that happens when an individual consumes too much alcohol in a short period of time. While the majority of alcohol poisonings lead to extreme sickness, it can lead to death if the blood alcohol content gets too high, and thus it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms in yourself and in others. Alcohol poisoning symptoms and also alcohol overdose signs are easy to notice. They include the following: confusion, irregular (10 seconds between breaths) and/or slow breathing (less than 8 breaths per minute), low body temperature, blue-tinged or pale skin. More serious symptoms include vomiting, passing out and seizures. Not all of the symptoms are seen happening at the same time, but rather progress, therefore it is important to seek medical help early in the progression.
If the person passes out and cannot be awakened, it is important to get help as soon as possible, as they are at a risk of dying. Call for medical help even if you do not see the classic symptoms but still suspect that the person has ingested enough alcohol to produce alcohol poisoning.
If you or someone you are with displays alcohol overdose/alcohol poisoning symptoms this is what you need to do. First call 911. Do not make the assumption that the person can simply sleep it off. Second, be ready to give out information, particularly about what alcohol the person was drinking, what they were drinking and how quickly they consumed. This can help them treat the person. Thirdly, do not leave the person alone, especially if they are unconscious. Alcohol poisoning affects the gag reflex so if the person is unconscious and starts vomiting, the person can easily start choking. Fourthly, if the person does start vomiting, help them. Keep them sitting up. If the person cannot stay upright, make sure that the person’s head is off to one side. This way, if they start vomiting, this will help prevent the person from choking. As much as possible, try to keep the person awake so they do not slip into unconsciousness.
Alcohol poisoning is a serious concern, as is the disease of alcoholism; if you or someone you know is drinking large enough amounts of alcohol to induce alcohol poisoning, they may be at risk for alcohol abuse or even alcohol addiction. Individuals suspecting alcoholism or alcohol addiction should seek addiction treatment immediately, as alcohol addiction can be just as deadly as alcohol poisonings.