Taking it too far: How alcohol poisoning manifests itself

Buying and drinking alcohol is legal for adults, but some people don’t know when to stop. Find out how to spot signs of alcohol poisoning.

Overindulging in alcohol can result in dangerous outcomes, like alcohol poisoning. You might think that only college students or under-age drinkers are prone to alcohol poisioning, but anyone who is drinking without monitoring the amount they are consuming could end up needing medical care. 

When alcohol poisoning becomes a common problem, alcoholics often need alcohol detox programs to help their bodies recover and learn to live without needing beer, wine, and spirits. 

What is alcohol poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning happens when drinking too much negatively affects the way the body functions. It can happen during binge drinking episodes, and it can happen when people drink too much throughout an extended period. Combining alcohol with medications can also cause alcohol poisoning with deadly results. 

Who is at risk from alcohol poisoning?

Anyone who drinks too much alcohol is at risk, but some demographics are more likely to drink too much and have alcohol poisoning. Groups more likely to end up with alcohol poisoning include:

  • College students and teens
  • People experiencing peer pressure to drink
  • People with mental health disorders
  • People using alcohol to self medicate to cover trauma
  • People mixing prescription medications with alcohol
  • Men between the ages of 35-64

Alcohol poisoning symptoms

Usually people with alcohol poisoning aren’t able to take themselves to the hospital for urgent care. Getting immediate care is important, especially as alcohol poisoning greatly affects the entire body. Without care, alcohol poisoning could cause death.

While someone with alcohol poisoning might not need detox treatment, they will need medical care. If they’ve been drinking excessively for many years and have had repeated alcohol poisoning episodes, they might benefit from talking to a professional therapist or a health care provider about alcohol detox treatment. 

The common symptoms of alcohol poisoning include several physical signs: 

  • Slowed or choked breathing
  • Seizures
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Reduced circulation with cool, clammy skin
  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
  • State of stupor and confusion

Many people who have alcohol poisoning think they can sleep off the symptoms, but this is far from the truth. Putting them in a cold shower or feeding them hot coffee does not help either. You should not leave people alone or put them on their backs if you worry they have alcohol poisoning, as they could vomit and choke on it. The best treatment is in a health care facility with nurses and doctors. 

Alcohol treatment detox programs

People needing alcohol detox programs benefit from useful treatment with a medical detox or residential treatment program. They need time to let the alcohol leave their body, and many addicts need around 30 days to benefit from therapy and treatments. 

Some people also need dual diagnosis treatment, as their alcoholism works in tandem with another substance disorder or a mental health disorder like anxiety or depression. Some addicts benefit from men’s or women’s rehab facilities where they only interact with people of the same gender.