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    Alcohol Poisoning: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

    Alcohol poisoning is a life-threatening condition. Learn how to recognize it and when to seek help.


    What is alcohol poisoning?

    You may have had a hangover and recovered just fine. But alcohol poisoning is dangerous and can be life-threatening. It happens when a person drinks a large quantity of alcohol in a short time.

    Alcohol poisoning can result from drinking any type of alcohol, including beer, wine or liquor. As your stomach digests and absorbs alcohol, the alcohol enters your bloodstream, and your alcohol blood level begins to rise. Your liver breaks down alcohol. But when blood alcohol levels are high, your overwhelmed liver can’t remove the toxins quickly enough.

    The extra alcohol in the bloodstream is a depressant. That means it reduces normal function. In this case, it affects the parts of the brain that control vital body functions, such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and temperature. As blood alcohol continues to rise, the depressant effect is more substantial.

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    Who is most at risk for alcohol poisoning?

    Every year, at least 2,200 people die from alcohol poisoning. Statistics show men between the ages of 35 and 64 are typically the ones who die from it. The majority of people who die from alcohol poisoning are white.

    However, anyone can get alcohol poisoning. Some other important factors include the drinker’s:

    Symptoms and Causes

    What causes alcohol poisoning?

    Too much alcohol in the blood causes alcohol poisoning. The condition is also called alcohol overdose. Determining how much alcohol is in the blood is measured by blood-alcohol content (BAC) as a percentage.

    It doesn’t take a lot of alcohol in the blood to cause problems:

    What are the symptoms of alcohol poisoning?

    Because of how dangerous alcohol poisoning can be, it is important to understand the symptoms. Common signs of alcohol poisoning include:

    Diagnosis and Tests

    How do you test to see if someone has alcohol in their system?

    There are two main ways to check someone’s blood-alcohol content:

    Management and Treatment

    How do you treat alcohol poisoning?

    If someone has alcohol poisoning, they may need lifesaving treatment right away. In a medical setting, healthcare professionals will use:

    What should I do if I see someone who may have alcohol poisoning?

    You can do several things to help someone who shows signs of alcohol poisoning:

    When paramedics arrive, be ready to tell them what you can about the person. You might need to describe how much the person drank or what they’ve been doing since you called 911.


    How do you prevent alcohol poisoning?

    To prevent alcohol poisoning, limit your alcohol consumption. You need to know when enough is enough. If you or a friend are drinking, pay attention to how much you consume and how quickly. If a friend appears to be drinking too much too fast, try to intervene and limit how much more they have. Moderation is always important. Drink no more than one alcoholic beverage an hour.

    Additionally, you can prevent alcohol poisoning by:

    Call for help if you suspect someone has a drinking problem. The National Treatment Referral Routing Service is 1.800.662.HELP (4357).

    Outlook / Prognosis

    What can happen from alcohol poisoning?

    Alcohol poisoning is serious. Someone who has too much alcohol to the point of an overdose can have:

    Living With

    When should I see a doctor?

    If a friend or loved one appears to have alcohol poisoning, call 911 right away. The sooner they get treatment, the more likely you can prevent severe damage.

    If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, seek help. The long-term effects of alcohol use disorder and alcoholism can be devastating. Get help now before things get worse.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    In moderation, alcohol can be OK. However, when peer pressure begins or drinking becomes more out of control, your health can be at risk. Limit your drinking, and if alcohol is a problem, seek help.

    Alcohol Poisoning: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

    Source : my.clevelandclinic.org

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