Alcohol Addiction
woman watching tv and reading about the signs of alcohol poisoning
By BrightView
Author Dan Bielecki, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS
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Dan Bielecki, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS

Dan is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with supervision designation (LPCC-S) and a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor... read more

Published: November 2, 2022
Updated: November 29, 2022

Alcohol use issues can lead to a number of issues, including physical health concerns, relationship issues, and difficulty functioning in daily life. One concerning issue is alcohol poisoning, which can happen when someone consumes too much in a short period of time. This can be a life-threatening situation, so it’s important to know the signs of alcohol poisoning.

At BrightView, we understand that alcohol overdose can happen to anyone, and we are here to help you notice the signs of alcohol overdose so you can keep your loved ones safe. If someone you care about needs alcohol addiction treatment to help them overcome alcohol abuse, you can count on our comprehensive outpatient treatment programs to get them on the path to a healthy recovery. Reach out to us at 888.501.9865 to learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment programs.

An Overview of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning occurs when a person consumes a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time. This can result in a dangerously high blood alcohol level that can cause symptoms like vomiting, confusion, decreased consciousness, and difficulty breathing. If someone is unresponsive or is displaying other signs of alcohol poisoning, it is important to seek medical help immediately.

What Are the Signs of Alcohol Poisoning?

A person is at risk for alcohol overdose if they have been drinking excessive alcohol, binge drinking, or have intentionally or unintentionally consumed household products containing alcohol. If the person is conscious, they may be showing signs of alcohol overdose if:

  • They seem confused or appear to be in a stupor (conscious but unresponsive)
  • They are showing signs of low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • They are having trouble breathing
  • They are vomiting

If the person is unconscious or at risk of losing consciousness, they may be experiencing an alcohol overdose if:

  • They are unresponsive when you try to wake them or move them
  • Their breathing has slowed
  • They have skin that is cold or clammy
  • They are showing signs of gag reflex or vomiting in their sleep
  • They are having seizures or spasms

If you feel that a person is suffering from an alcohol overdose, it is essential to call 911 and get them medical help immediately.

How to Help a Person During an Alcohol Overdose

If you are with someone who appears to be going through an alcohol overdose, it is important to stay with them until medical help arrives. Follow the below steps to get them the help they need:

  • Call 911
  • Speak calmly to the person and inform them of anything you are going to do
  • If the person is unconscious, roll them onto their side. Do not let them stay on their back since this could cause them to choke if they vomit
  • Watch for any signs of aggression because you need to keep yourself safe too
  • Do not give the person food or drink of any kind to prevent choking
  • Do not try to give the person a cold shower
  • If they have pale skin and are cold and clammy, give them a blanket to help them warm up
  • If they are out in the sun, try to get them to a cooler, shaded area
  • If the person goes unconscious, check for vital signs and keep emergency personnel informed

Caring for someone who is experiencing signs of alcohol poisoning can help them avoid serious medical complications and be able to get the treatment they need.

How to Avoid Alcohol Overdose

Alcohol use is widespread, but having excessive alcoholic drinks, binge drinking, or playing drinking games can lead to severe dehydration, alcohol overdose, and even alcohol abuse and addiction over the long term.

Alcohol poisoning or overdose occurs when a person’s blood alcohol concentration becomes so high that their system cannot keep up with processing the alcohol. On average, men can process two drinks per hour, while women can process one per hour. Drinking more than this amount puts an additional burden on your system, especially when drinking heavily. More than four to five drinks per hour greatly increases the risk of alcohol overdose, leading to brain damage, heart attack, or even death.

To prevent alcohol overdose, keep any alcohol consumption to a minimum. If you have trouble drinking alcohol and keeping it under control, consider abstaining from drinking alcoholic beverages altogether.

An alcohol addiction treatment program can help you build healthy coping skills to avoid using alcohol as a coping mechanism during difficult times or to numb pain. With the help of therapy, you can learn how to manage your triggers and build new habits to replace unhealthy ones.

Get Help for Alcohol Addiction at BrightView

If you or a loved one are dealing with alcohol addiction or substance use disorder, it is important to remember that this is a disease that requires medical treatment. You deserve to get the help you need. Reach out to BrightView today. Our friendly, non-judgmental staff is here to answer the phone 24 hours a day at 888.501.9865.