What is Alcohol poisoning:
Alcohol poisoning is a dangerous and deadly consequence when a person consumes plenty of alcohol within a short period of time. Binge drinking is a common cause of alcohol poisoning. As alcohol is a depressant, it mostly affects breathing, heart rate, body temperature, brain functioning, and may lead to coma and death. Usually, our body takes an hour to process 0.25 ounces of alcohol. Because of consuming more alcohol it will be absorbed into the bloodstream in less than 30 minutes post-drinking.
What Causes alcohol poisoning?
The main cause of alcohol poisoning is intaking large amounts of alcohol (ethyl alcohol) in a short period of time. It is also caused by the accidental or intentional intake of alcoholic beverages, alcohol is also present in mouthwash, cooking extracts, some medications, and certain household products.
There are different forms of alcohol are isopropyl alcohol and methanol, which are present in lotions, cleaning products, antifreeze, paints, solvents and cause other toxic poisoning effects.
The alcohol content in beverages:
As we know alcohol is a depressant, when we drinking alcohol it gets absorbed fastly into the bloodstream within half an hour if the person continuously consumes alcohol, there is a risk of developing many diseases like
- Breast cancer risk from alcohol: breast cancer mostly seen among women, when we consume more alcohol, the body breaks down the alcohol into a substance called acetaldehyde, it causes changes in our DNA which may lead to developing cancerous cells.
- Bowel cancer risk with alcohol; this mostly affects the people who drink two or more beers a day will be at high risk of getting bowel cancer when compared with non-drinkers. This causes any change in bowel habit, blood in the stool, abdominal pain, anemia, etc
- Alcohol impact on the liver: drinking excess alcohol may lead to alcoholic liver diseases. Seven out of 10 people with alcoholic liver diseases have an alcohol dependency problem. Alcohol damages our intestines and lets gut bacteria into the liver, this leads to inflammation and scarring. Abdominal pains, diarrhea, fatigue, vomitings, Bleeding in the gut, liver cancer, swelling in legs and anklets, etc.
- Pancreatitis: you will be affected by pancreatitis when you drink heavily for the long term and it even becomes worst if you smoke along with drinking. When you drink alcohol it interfaces with the cells of the pancreas and stops them to work properly. This results in weight loss, foul-smelling faces, back pain, jaundice, etc.
- Diabetes: Diabetes is a life long condition that occurs when the pancreas does not enough insulin to the body. When a person drinks excess alcohol, it reduces the sensitivity to insulin which may lead to diabetes. It is a side effect of chronic pancreatitis. In this, the person loses his weight, slow healing of cuts and wounds, genital itching.
- Heart diseases: Binge drinking is the main cause of a heart attack if the person continuously drinks for a long period of time. Excess amounts of alcohol cause a rise in the blood pressure which is the main cause of heart attack, it weakens the heart muscles, so that the heart can not pump the blood properly which is known cardiomyopathy and even cause death due to heart failure.
- Oral cancer: when you drink alcohol continuously. Your mouth and throat are in contact with alcohol, there is a chance of getting mouth and pharynx cancers if the person smokes along with drinking. Ulcers in the mouth for more than two weeks, red and white lesions at the sides of the mouth or under the tongue are the symptoms of oral cancer.
- Liver cancer: excess alcohol intake is the major cause of liver cancer. It forms scar tissue upon the liver stopping it from working properly. Due to this, the person loses weight unexpectedly, feeling full even after a small meal, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of energy, etc.
Effects of alcohol consumption:
If you take 1 to 2 units of alcohol heart rate will speed up and blood vessels will expand, we get warm, and sociable feeling associated with moderate drinking.
If you take 4 to 6 units of alcohol decision making and judgment will start effected, and makes you reckless and lose your inhabitations and slowly nervous system will start affected, your coordination will be affected and your reaction time will be slower.
If the intake of alcohol increases to 8 to 9 units reaction time will be much slower, the speech will be slurred, vision loses its focus, the liver will not be able to remove the alcohol overnight, so they wake up with a hangover at this stage consuming more alcohol is not preferable.
If the person intakes 10 to 12 units of alcohol, coordination will be seriously impaired, we feel unstable on their feet, feel drowsy, the alcohol in your body will reach toxic levels. Consuming more than 12 units of alcohol, high risk of developing alcohol poisoning and may even lose their conscious. This alcohol consumption not only have short term diseases it also has some of the long term health problems, like addiction, liver diseases, pancreatitis, damage of heart muscles, nerve diseases, stomach ulcers, cancer, brain damage immune system dysfunctioning, vitamins deficiency, mental health problems like anxiety and depression, it also damages all the health problems throughout the body.
How much is too much:
There is a limit for intake of alcohol ;
For men up to four drinks in one day or 14 units per week.
For women up to three drinks in one day or seven units per week.
The people who drink more than this will have an alcohol disorder.
Gender and age differences;
Depending upon body type and weight. If a mem and women with the same height, age and body can take an equal amount of alcohol, and it shows that women eliminate 10%more alcohol from their bodies when compared with men
According to the table below the differences in alcohol concentration due to average body consumption differences based on gender and age.
|18 to 40||61%||52%|
To know more about Food Poisoning
Who is at risk?
Alcohol poisoning affects anyone who consumed large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time, this mostly affects college students and middle-aged individuals. Young adults who live on their own for the time will feel free and independent. They participate in social gatherings that include alcohol consumption and get used to drinking. This becomes a habit for them and suffers from alcoholism later in life. There are also some influences such as stress and depression can also lead to alcoholism and there is a possibility for alcohol poisoning.
Signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning:
Alcohol poisoning is a life-threatening consequence, no matter if a person’s alcohol tolerance, weight, age or gender and causes various side effects. It makes the drinkers to lose their consciousness if the intake of alcohol reaches a certain level, they will not be in the state to help themselves, it may also cause repeated vomitings, heart attack, pale clammy and bluish-tinged skin, dehydration, hypothermia, and even reduce blood sugar level. The major signs to know that a person is affected by alcohol poisoning is they smell like alcohol, they will have slurred speech, slow breathing, long pause between the breaths, very low heartbeat, low body temperature, and unconsciousness- passing out.
Diagnosis & Treatment for alcohol poisoning:
Other than checking for visible signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning, to check the alcohol levels the doctor will conduct urine and blood test to identify another alcohol toxicity, like low blood sugar.
Treatment for alcohol poisoning involves supportive care while the body process alcohol. Immediately if you see a person suffering from alcohol poisoning immediately call 911 or shift him to the local medical center. Before the ambulance comes if the person is unconscious, turn the person to their side to prevent vomiting and if the person is awake ask him to stay in a safe place until the ambulance arrives if the person is able to drink water, we have to make him drink water and we should not allow the person to sleep, take a cold shower, going for a walk or drink black coffee if so this may lead to injury and death. If once the person is shifted to the hospital, where they will carefully monitor the vital signs, helps them to breathe properly by inserting breathing tubes that will help them to breathe properly and they even give oxygen therapy to overcome breathing problems. They are given IV fluids, vitamins, and glucose to prevent dehydration and complications, they even pump the stomach to remove excess alcohol to mix in the bloodstream
Basic Steps to Control:
There are no proper home remedies for alcohol poisoning but only we should not allow the person to drink further and leave the place where the alcohol is available. Avoid cold showers, coffee, and other traditional measures. When the person is drunken don’t allow him to drive, and keep him away from bicycles.skateboards, swimming pools, machinery to avoid accidents and that may lead to death.
- Keep the track of alcohol units you drink in a week make sure that you do not cross 14 units/ a week.
- Reduce the quantity when you are buying alcohol.
- Reduce the concentration of alcohol day by day by adding spirits-based drinks
Firstly, you should know the serious problems of drinking alcohol and how it will affect the body, and you need to consult a doctor and know the health condition and take advise from him. Quitting alcohol is not so easy if the person drinks more alcohol in the past. Then you need to follow some important guidelines.
1. Share your success with your family members and friends that you are quitting on alcohol and avoid people who encourage you to drink.
2. We need to avoid the temptation of taking alcohol by filling the space with weekly exercises or trips with the family.
3. Reducing alcohol intake can be more effective and keeps you stick on to it. In the past, if you were drinking daily, make a habit of taking alcohol once in a week. Make sure that you drink 14units of alcohol throughout a week.
4. An easy way to keep your track on quitting alcohol is by motivating yourself like an alcohol-free week, then an alcohol-free month. In that period if you get tempted to drink alcohol replace the glass with some juice or anything if you were able to do with that then reward your self with some gifts.
5. You need to know the progress of the drinking habits from last week, last month.
Reducing risks associated with alcohol:
Limit the intake of alcohol you drink in a day, drink more slowly, drink with food, dilute alcohol with some non-alcoholic drinks, plan ahead to set a reasonable limit and stick to it.
Avoid drink if you were angry or depressed. Avoid drinking games, switch to drinks that are non-alcoholic or less percentage of alcohol. Do not travel when you are drunk at night, arrange for transportation before going on a drinking occasion.
Useful contacts for alcohol problems:
- National alcohol helpline, Call- 03001231110.
- Call 911 for ambulance service
- Alcoholic Anonymous: 12- steps program helps the person not to get affected by alcohol.
- Al-Anon family groups; it offers support to the families and friends of problem drinkers.
- Addiction is a UK wide treatment agency, manages the effects of drugs and alcohol misuse and helps individuals, families, and communities.
- Adfam is a charity that helps the families and communities manage the effects of drugs and alcohol misuses
- The national association for children of Alcoholics; call 08003583456 for Nacoa helpline, it provides a free confidential and email helpline for children of alcohol-dependent parents and others who are concerned about the children’s welfare.
- Smart recovery, this group helps the individual to build up their motivation to change, and offer tools and techniques to quit alcohol and helps them in speedy recovery