Celebrating birthdays, cheering for your hometown sports team and unwinding after work are common ways to relax and enjoy spending time with friends. In some cases, these occasions may also involve binge drinking, with potentially deadly results.
Drinking too much beer too quickly can significantly diminish motor skills, decision-making abilities and other bodily functions, increasing the risk of injury and harm. Continuing to drink despite considerable impairments can result in alcohol poisoning.
What Is Alcohol Poisoning?
Alcohol poisoning occurs when people have so much alcohol in their bloodstream that essential life-sustaining functions – such as breathing, heart rate and temperature control – begin to shut down. Alcohol overdose symptoms can include:
- Mental confusion
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty breathing
- Dangerously slow heart rate
- Clammy skin
- Cold body temperature
In extreme circumstances, alcohol poisoning can lead to permanent brain damage or death. Age, alcohol tolerance, gender, weight, specific medications and amount of food eaten can all be factors influencing whether someone experiences an alcohol overdose.
Can Beer Lead to an Alcohol Overdose?
You might not think beer contains enough alcohol to be deadly, but peer pressure to rapidly drink beer in risky ways – like shotgunning, beer pong and keg stands – could cause an alcohol overdose.
Beer’s harmful effects increase correspondingly with blood alcohol concentration. Even a minor uptick in BAC can slow reaction times and cloud judgment. In this state, you may do reckless things like getting behind the wheel or starting a fight. Blackouts, lost consciousness and death can also occur.
It could be dangerous to assume a severely intoxicated person who goes to bed or passes out will be OK after sleeping it off. That’s because even after someone stops drinking, alcohol continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout their body.
When consumed at high levels, alcohol can block brain signals that control automatic responses such as the gag reflex. That’s why one potential danger of alcohol overdose is choking on vomit. Even if a person who asphyxiates this way survives, they could have long-lasting brain damage.
How to Respond to an Alcohol Overdose
If you notice a friend or family member exhibiting any warning signs of alcohol poisoning, don’t wait for the person to exhibit all the symptoms. Immediately call 911. While waiting for first responders to arrive, gather information such as how much the victim drank, any other drugs that might be in their system and crucial health details such as allergies.
Do not leave an intoxicated person alone, since they might make irresponsible decisions. If they’re still conscious, keep them on the floor in a sitting or partially upright position rather than in a chair. If they’re unconscious, place them in the recovery position to avoid choking.
Recovering From an Alcohol Addiction
You can avoid the risk of an alcohol overdose by not drinking. If you try to quit drinking and realize you can’t stop on your own, seeking accredited substance abuse treatment could save your life.
At Vista Taos, you will have access to comfortable alcohol detox and holistic amenities that support your recovery, including yoga, massage and acupuncture. Contact us when you’re ready to break the cycle of addiction.