Social celebrations and enjoying get-togethers are common ways to relax or be with friends in the modern society. For some people, these occasions may also include drinking alcohol.
Although people can safely consume alcohol without experiencing immediate adverse health effects, long term alcohol consumption can jeopardize overall health.
When a person drinks alcohol, the chemical in the drink which is ethanol gets absorbed through the digestive system and goes into the bloodstream. Then the liver metabolizes and removes alcohol gradually. However, this metabolic process can only filter out so much at once.
The rate at which this happens varies from one person to another. The different response could be due to age, gender, tolerance or sensitivity to alcohol, medications, speed of drinking, and amount of food eaten.
Teenagers and young adults are said to be particularly at risk for alcohol overdose. Research demonstrates that people in this demographic often engage in binge drinking. Drinking large quantities of alcohol can overwhelm the body’s regular response to clear alcohol from the bloodstream.
When a person consumes more alcohol in a short period of time than their liver can process, the ethanol molecules in the drink start accumulating in the body. This can damage cells, tissues and organs.
Acute alcohol intoxication, also known as alcohol poisoning, is a situation associated with drinking too much alcohol in a short period of time.
Alcohol intoxication can be experienced by both young people and adults. Though this condition is generally due to consumption of excessive quantities of alcoholic beverages, in some cases, people with addiction problems could accidentally or intentionally drink products around the house that contain alcohol. Examples are mouthwash or vanilla extract.
What ever is the reason, alcohol intoxication should be taken seriously because it is a medical emergency. If someone is experiencing alcohol poisoning, they need immediate medical attention.
Signs of alcohol intoxication
Early signs include:
- flushed skin
- staggering gait
- slurred speech
- reduced inhibition
- impaired judgment
- If the drinking continues further, it could lead to other effects, such as:
- impaired attention
- slowed reflexes
- double or blurred vision
- reduced muscle control
The outlook for alcohol intoxication
Once a person experiences alcohol intoxication, it takes time to fully recover. They will have to be in the hospital till their vital functions come back to normal. This process is slow and could several days, even weeks.
During the recovery period, the patient may experience both physical and emotional effects. These could include a depressed mood, loss of appetite, body pain or discomfort, and memory problems. Even after they are discharged from the hospital, they are likely to require about a month to feel fully normal once again.
The good news is that it’s possible to survive alcohol intoxication if appropriate medical treatment is given promptly.