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In the United States, alcohol is a legal recreational drug for people aged 21 and older. It is one of the most common central nervous system (CNS) depressants that people use and abuse. While alcohol is a safe, social, or relaxing beverage for many people, thousands of Americans struggle with addiction to alcohol. Additionally, binge drinking is a large problem in the US – not just among college students who stereotypically like to party but increasingly among middle-aged adults too.
What Are The Signs of Alcohol Poisoning?
The average adult can safely consume one serving of alcohol per hour – about 1.5 ounces of liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 8 ounces of beer. Body mass, age, gender, alcohol tolerance, medications, and medical conditions can all affect how much alcohol is safe for a person to consume.
Alcohol poisoning begins when the liver is no longer able to break down alcohol that has been consumed, and the substance is then circulated around the rest of the body without being metabolized. This can damage organ systems, including the liver, kidneys, and brain.
Consuming too much alcohol leads to alcohol poisoning, which is a dangerous overdose of this intoxicating substance. Call 911 immediately if a person is suspected of suffering from alcohol poisoning. A person experiencing alcohol poisoning may not show all of the associated symptoms, but the presence of just a few can be deadly.
Since alcohol is absorbed through the lining of the stomach and processed by the liver, a person can begin experiencing symptoms of alcohol poisoning even if they have stopped drinking. The body will continue to metabolize alcohol and increase the individual’s level of drunkenness. The person can become severely dehydrated, suffer seizures, develop permanent brain or organ damage due to lack of oxygen, and many other dangers. Once organ systems begin to shut down, the person is at risk of dying.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that on average, there are six deaths from alcohol poisoning per day – about 2,200 deaths annually. While many people have attributed alcohol poisoning deaths to binge drinking during college parties, currently, people aged 35-64 are at the greatest risk of suffering alcohol poisoning.
People who struggle with alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism, have a high risk of drinking too much. Although people suffering from alcohol use disorder are more likely to have built up a tolerance to the intoxicating substance, they may also binge drink after an attempt at abstinence or due to triggers or environmental stresses.
To avoid suffering an overdose due to problem drinking, it is important to get help. Medical detox can help a person end their body’s dependence on alcohol, and a complete rehabilitation program will help them address issues related to their alcohol abuse.