Robert, who was in the emergency room a week ago, looked disoriented, his speech was slurring, he was wandering unsteadily, holistically bereft of judgment, and losing sense of the external world. Robert was under the influence of alcohol which has invariably beclouded his sense of judgment. He was in quagmire. It is, apparently, as a result of acute alcohol poisoning. His blood alcohol level was more than 5mg/dl. He was continuously given intravenous fluids along with multivitamins to enable him get back to normal health.
The two scenarios above are examples of what alcohol can do to a person.
According to the new CDC report that was released in January 2015, on an average, about 6 people die of alcohol poisoning everyday in the US. 76% of deaths are as a result of alcohol poisoning among adults between the age of 35 and 64.
About 76% of those who die from alcohol poisoning are men.
Alcohol is consumed in various forms and quantities across the world. The toxic dose of alcohol in the human body is 5mg/dl, above which a person can start to exhibit symptoms of alcohol intoxication or poisoning.
When does alcohol poisoning occur?
Alcohol poisoning often occurs when a person intakes large quantity of alcohol within a short period of time. This is called ‘Alcohol Binge’. Even though most cases of alcohol poisoning occur, often, among the middle-aged adults and men, it can also occur in anybody including children.
It is a coincidence that most patients with alcohol poisoning also show intoxication symptoms of other illegal drugs and substance abuse.
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What does alcohol poisoning do to a person?
When a person goes on an alcohol binge or consumes excessive alcohol, the high level of alcohol in the blood shuts down the most sensitive parts of the brain that control breathing and respiration. Hence, the person can stop breathing all of a sudden. The mental status of the person becomes abnormal.
Alcohol causes mental inefficiency in the judgment of a person. This invariably leads to a high chance of assault, injury and eventual death in subsequent time.
It causes water and electrolyte imbalance within the body. An osmolal gap is created. The person becomes dehydrated. He or she also becomes very likely to lose important electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which can lead to further damage at the cellular level.
The person experiences increased heart rate, sometimes disturbed or irregular heartbeats or arrhythmia which can be a threat to the person’s life as well.
Excess intake of alcohol can also take a negative effect on the liver and its metabolism. The liver is unable to handle such a huge load of alcohol intoxication and this majorly results in acute liver failure.
Similarly, the kidneys becomes affected too, causing acute renal failure.
Hence, the circulation of alcohol in the body often affects all the vital organs of the body, causing a potential threat to the person’s life.
What is the treatment of alcohol poisoning?
Most patients of alcohol poisoning are so intoxicated and mentally derailed that they are not in a situation to seek medical advice for themselves. Therefore, it is pertinent that a friend, family or a passer-by endeavors to bring these kind of people into the emergency room.
It is pertinent to take cognizance of the fact that most patients of alcohol poisoning require immediate medical attention in a hospital.
The treatment of alcohol poisoning is symptomatic with fluid and electrolyte replacement. Antidotes like fomepizole and ethanol can be used depending on the type of alcohol and the quantity that was taken or consumed. It also requires multivitamin supplementation especially vitamin A and folic acid.
How to prevent alcohol poisoning?
>>The only way to do this is to abstain from binge drinking.
>> One can join the self-help groups for alcoholism such as ‘Alcoholics Anonymous‘.
>> It can also be prevented by strengthening the existing proven programs that work to stop alcoholism.
>> Collaborating with the health sectors, doctors and nurses, and other health care providers such as social counselors will also go a long way to prevent alcoholism.
>> By bringing up stronger health policies that prevent people from excessive intake of alcohol.
Now that you are aware of alcohol poisoning and it negative effects in the body, stay away from binge drinking.
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