Binge Drinking and Alcohol Overdose

December 17, 2018



“I like the taste of it” “I like the kick it gives to my mood” It relaxes me after a tiresome day” and more than thousands of reasons people give, just to drink! It is by their will that they start, but that will power slowly gets dissolved in alcohol and they get dependent on it. 
Thousands of people die each year due to alcohol overdose. The reason might sound too shocking, which is, its symptoms are too slow to be understood! 
We are stating a few signs that would help you to identify if you or your loved ones are overdosing on alcohol.

Alcohol has a great social acceptability and hence many people fail to consider it as a matter of substance abuse or addiction. And since it is legal in most of the countries after a particular age, people can easily access it. Inclusion of alcohol in celebrations is very common. In fact, people just look for a reason to uncap with their bottle, like my favorite sports team lost the match today, it is my third cousin’s wedding, I just graduated, my cousin’s uncle has retired from the army etc. But the dangers of over-consumption can be very serious, and alcohol overdose can lead to death.

Drinking-Binge Drinking-Overdose
In the spurt of moment or due to lack of awareness of amount being consumed or to be consumed, people make this mistake of overdosing on alcohol. Alcohol Overdose is also known as ’Alcohol Poisoning’. There are times when people prefer to give themselves a quick high, and for that, they ‘Binge Drink’. Binge drinking refers to drinking a large amount of alcohol at a time without any break, or we can say, excessive amount of consumption of alcohol in a short period of time. More than 10-14 drinks for men, per week can be counted as low risk drinking.
“Binge Alcohol Use is defined as drinking five or more drinks (for males) or four or more drinks (for females) on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.” As defined by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 
This can immediately and severely affect their body temperature(Hypothermia-very low body temperature is a common symptom), heart rate and breathing and in the long run affect their pharyngeal or gag reflex, liver and kidney functions too. Since it is a psychoactive substance, it would have its direct impact on brain. There have been cases where alcohol overdose has led to comatose state and even death.

Data of 2016-2017 as provided by SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, says that alcohol consumption in Asia 8,419000 people aged 12+; 1,472000 people between 18-26 years; 6,724000 people aged 26+. An estimated 88,0008 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women8) die from alcohol-related causes annually.
Globally, alcohol abuse has been rated as the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability.

Most visible and common symptoms of alcohol overdose and related measures: 
• Delirious state of mind
• Vomiting and dizziness
• Raptus or Seizures- immediately inform the doctor
• Slow breathing (less than eight breaths per minute)- not to be ever ignored. It can lead to pulse drop anytime.
• Irregular breathing pattern (more than 10 seconds between each breath)
• Blue-tinged or pale skin- indicating that the body is intoxicated beyond its limit and blood there is not sufficient blood flow to keep the body warm and going.
• Low body temperature and shivering
• Low Blood Pressure- immediate attention is required, else can lead to various casualties.
• Passing out (unconsciousness) and losing control over self. Within 10 minutes of basic and local intervention, call the doctor.

• Very often, the above mentioned symptoms are ignored, considering them as ‘normal aftermaths of heavy drinking’. But they need medical assistance if they persist beyond a limit.

Self measures before medical assistance reaches you: 

• If a person has passed out, or too lousy in actions to even sit up straight, make sure that he lays on his sides and not on his back. This is to prevent choking, in case he throws up in an unconscious or sleepy state. 

• Try to keep that person awake and stop him to drink any further or smoke over that.

• Do not leave that person to ‘sleep it off’. Alcohol content in blood can continue to rise and cause multiple problems together, as the digestive system actively processes alcohol and sends it to the bloodstream. Too much alcohol in the bloodstream can cause shutdown of systems of body.

• Commonly, people make a drunk person forcibly vomit, which can prove to be a harmful thing, as his gag reflex might not be working properly and his might choke while throwing up.In the case that a person reaches this state where he is frequently overdosing on alcohol, it is imperative to seek the advice of an alcohol addiction treatment center. You’re drinking or your loved ones’ drinking may be a serious problem, and you might need treatment as its ultimate aid.

• Keep the person hydrated with water and lemon juice, if he is in a condition to handle these basic tasks. 

• Call a doctor if you see that things are not in your control. Symptoms can worsen in the blink of an eye, so it is always better to be safe than sorry.

• It is another common practice to splash cold water on an unconscious person’s face. Which might work to just bring him or her back to some senses, but putting a highly drunk person under cold shower can kill him instant due to extreme drop of body temperature or stopping of breath.

• Keep that person warm if you see that his body temperature is going low or his skin color is getting pale. Alcohol does not make you warm, that is just for a moment that you feel the heat. It is a depressant that lowers down your body temperature and can lead to hypothermia in severe cases.

• If you think that coffee would work to sober a drunk person, then it is a big it is a misconception that you need to clear out. That person’s body is already dehydrated and caffeine further dehydrates the body. Having coffee on an already alcohol overdosed body can worsen the condition. 

Shafa Home is a residential treatment facility and nasha mukti kendra offering complete and holistic treatment for addiction. We encourage you to contact one of our counsellors today if you are concerned about Addiction.

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