How to Help Someone With Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol abuse is a serious problem that affects many people and their loved ones.
Many people die every year because of binge drinking, which is defined by the consumption of more than 4 drinks in a single setting for women and 5 drinks for men.
Not only can heavy drinking lead to severe intoxication, but it can also lead to a more serious condition — alcohol poisoning.
Binge Drinking is a Big Issue
In 2006 alone, more than 1.2 million people visited emergency rooms in the U.S. because of binge drinking. By getting medical treatment, many of these people lived when they may have otherwise died due to high levels of intoxication.
Unfortunately, a person with alcohol poisoning is often unable to seek help for himself, instead relying on friends, family or bystanders to seek medical attention.
Know the Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol poisoning, or acute intoxication, causes some very specific symptoms. Lethal dosages of alcohol are approximately 300g of alcohol for an average 130-pounds. But unless you have monitored every drink that a person has consumed, you cannot assume he or she is within the safe limits of consumption.
The following symptoms of acute intoxication are what to watch for:
- mental confusion
- snoring or gasping for air
- throwing up
- erratic breathing (more than 10 seconds between breaths)
- loss of consciousness paleness/blueness
What to Do if a Friend Shows Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
The first step is to call 911, even if you worry it would anger your friend or family member. Never leave a person to ‘sleep off’ their condition or attempt to sober him or her up with coffee or a cold shower. These tactics have no affect on a person’s blood alcohol content and can actually cause more harm than good.
Wait for medical help to arrive, and frequently check for consciousness and responsiveness. Move the person onto his or her side to prevent vomit asphyxiation, and be ready to perform CPR at any time should breathing stop.
Physical Consequences of Alcohol Poisoning
If you fail to seek help for a person with alcohol poisoning, there could be severe physical consequences. A person who appears to be passed out or sleeping may never awaken, as high levels of alcohol can cause a person’s breathing and heart to completely stop. Acute intoxication can also lead to seizures — a common cause of brain damage and even death.
Get Help for Alcoholism
If you or someone you know has a history of binge drinking or has been diagnosed with acute intoxication in the past, it may be time to seek help. Alcohol abuse claims many lives every year and causes detriment to countless more. For more information about entering treatment for alcohol abuse and finding an addiction treatment program near you contact Intervention Services and Coaching today.