Alcohol intoxication is often a result of drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short time, which can be dangerous and life-threatening.
In most instances, we cannot reverse the effects of intoxication, but some things can make things a lot less bad.
If someone is suspected of alcohol intoxication, the performance of first aid can help stabilise the casualty while waiting for emergency medical services to take over.
What is Alcohol Intoxication?
Severe intoxication or alcohol poisoning is often caused by consuming five or more drinks at a time for men and four for women.
Drinking excessive alcoholic content too fast can cause the substance to act as a poison. This often results in vomiting or passing out, which is the body’s way of protecting itself from absorbing any more alcohol.
Alcohol intoxication can result from drinking any type of booze, including beer, wine, or liquor. As the stomach absorbs and digests alcoholic contents, it will slowly enter the bloodstream causing the blood level to rise.
The liver will break down the alcohol, but when blood alcohol levels are high, the organ will become overwhelmed. This result in the liver not being able to remove toxins quickly enough.
Excessive alcohol in the bloodstream can act as a depressant, affecting certain parts of the brain that control the body’s vital functions. These result in changes in breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
Take note that as the blood alcohol levels continue to rise, the depressant effect becomes more substantial.
It is no secret that many Australians love to drink, and most time, it can be a part of a healthy social experience. However, some people misuse this substance resulting in the occasion turning sour.
Every year, at least 6,000 people die from the alcohol-attributable disease, which is about one in every 90 minutes. Research shows men between the ages of 35 to 65 are typically the ones who suffer alcohol consequences.
If someone has alcohol intoxication, immediate lifesaving treatment is necessary.
Symptoms of Alcohol Intoxication
Because of the risks and dangers it presents, it is important to understand the symptoms of alcohol poisoning.
Common signs may include:
- Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin
- Slow breathing (with fewer than eight breaths per minute)
- Irregular, shallow breathing
- Sudden, unexpected seizures
- Mental confusion (loss of consciousness or a “sleeping” person that cannot be awakened)
- Vomiting while “sleeping” or passed out
If you recognise any of these signs in someone who has been consuming alcoholic drinks, get immediate medical attention. Do not wait for all symptoms to be present; perform first aid to save their lives.
Alcohol Intoxication First Aid
Assess the victim
Check the casualty for signs of injuries, especially head trauma or any medical conditions.
Take note that alcohol intoxication on an unresponsive casualty could disguise other conditions such as stroke, heart attack, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which requires urgent medical treatment.
Call for help
If unsure about how serious the condition is, call triple zero (000) for emergency help.
Put them in a recovery position.
Place the person in the recovery position to avoid choking on any vomit.
For conscious casualties, ask questions that help provide insight to medical professionals. Ask what they drank, how much, and around what time period they have been drinking.
Look for medical bracelets or ask the person if they have any existing health conditions.
If the casualty is unconscious, but a friend or family member is present, ask them for the above information.
Monitor the condition
Monitor the casualty’s level of response until they recover or until emergency services can take over. If they become unresponsive at some point, open the airway, check for breathing, and prepare to administer CPR.
If the casualty vomits, it is best to collect a sample for medical testing. Doctors will then have a clear indication of what has been consumed and what treatment is necessary.
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Intoxication
Alcohol overdose can have severe consequences in the long run if the casualty does not receive prompt first aid care. This includes:
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Lung damage
- Brain damage
Alcohol intoxication is a condition associated with consuming too much alcohol in a short amount of time. It is also called alcohol poisoning.
Both young people and adults can experience alcohol overdose as it is usually linked to many alcoholic beverages. But there are instances where people might have accidentally consumed household products containing this substance.
Where there are significant consequences of severe intoxication, the good news is many people can fully recover if appropriate first aid is given promptly.