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Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol Poisoning

Have you ever gone out for the evening to have some drinks? Spending time with friends, having a good time, and enjoying some food and wine. One of your friends thinks it will be a good idea to go dancing. At the club, shots are being ordered at what seems like every 10 minutes. Soon, the room is spinning and you think it’s best to head home.

When you get home, you are having a hard time navigating your house. After many stumbles and falls, you manage to make it to the bathroom where you begin throwing up. The next thing you know, it’s morning and you spent the night on the bathroom floor. You still feel really lousy and the events of last night seem like a blur. Without even knowing, you had alcohol poisoning. And luckily, the consequences were not severe, at least not this time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Kentucky ranks 3rd highest in the amount of alcohol consumed by binge drinkers. Binge drinking increases the risks of alcohol poisoning and can be dangerous. SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky has an alcohol use disorder program that helps you figure out the reasoning behind your binge drinking. Our staff will educate you on the dangers of alcohol poisoning and the life-threatening side effects that can happen.

What Happens to Your Body When You Have Alcohol Poisoning?

When alcohol is consumed, it is absorbed through the linings of the stomach and small intestine. This is where it travels throughout the bloodstream to the rest of the body. Affecting the brain, kidneys, and lungs first, the full effects of alcohol can be felt in about 15-45 minutes.

Alcohol and the Liver

The liver is responsible for ridding the body of toxins such as alcohol. When the liver begins to break down alcohol, it starts detoxifying the blood and reducing the effects. On average, it takes one hour for the liver to process one standard drink.

This is where the dangers of binge drinking come in. When excessive amounts of alcohol enter the body in a short time, the liver has no way to keep up with the detox process. The alcohol in the bloodstream can’t move on to be processed and will build up in the body. This is why the body resorts to other methods to get rid of the toxins, such as vomiting.

Alcohol and the Heart

Alcohol poisoning is very stressful on the heart. It can cause the heart to beat irregularly or even stop completely. Temperature regulation is no longer controlled by the brain, and the body’s temperature can drop so low that cardiac arrest can occur.

Long-term alcohol use can lead to the heart actually changing shape. This is called alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy and can lead to heart failure. Consuming alcohol causes parts of the heart to enlarge and stretch, making it difficult to pump the amount of blood it needs to the rest of the body.

Signs and Symptoms of Someone Experiencing Alcohol Poisoning

While not every sign will indicate alcohol poisoning, there are some tells that can be seen in those experiencing alcohol poisoning.

Here are some of the most common signs:

  • Confusion
  • In and out of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Clammy skin
  • Impaired speech
  • Trouble walking

More serious symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Dulled responses
  • Low body temperature

Never leave someone with suspected alcohol poisoning alone. Choking on vomit or sustaining injuries from stumbling or falling are likely to occur. Keep them in a safe area and on their side to aid with expelling vomit.

Helping Someone with Alcohol Poisoning

The first step in helping someone with alcohol poisoning is to get them somewhere safe. Find a quiet room and keep them warm. Keep them on their side to reduce the risk of choking on vomit and call 911. When help arrives, be honest about how much the person has been drinking and if any other substances are in their system. This will allow them to treat accordingly.

At What Level Does Alcohol Poisoning Occur?

Alcohol poisoning can occur with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .25% or higher. While vomiting can happen around .15% BAC, more serious symptoms begin around the .25% mark. Once the BAC reaches over .30%, the risk of loss of consciousness, coma, and death from respiratory arrest increase exponentially.

Every person is different and some factors affect how fast their BAC will increase. For those who have a higher body fat percentage, their BAC will be higher than those with a lower body fat percentage. Alcohol is stored in fat cells while waiting to reach the liver. Women are also more likely to have higher BAC percentages due to the liver not producing as much of the enzyme responsible for alcohol detoxification.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment at SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky

Alcohol use disorder can affect your life physically and mentally. Health problems such as heart attacks and stroke are common with long-term alcohol use. At SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky, we offer programs to help you rediscover yourself and find lasting recovery.

Alcohol Detox

The alcohol detox at SUN Behavioral Kentucky is designed to safely and effectively treat our patients to get them through withdrawals and cravings.

We provide:

  • Medication management for withdrawal symptoms
  • Group therapy twice a day
  • Life skills classes up to three times a day
  • Medical supervision from our supportive and friendly staff
  • A safe space to sleep, rest, and heal

This program typically lasts 3-5 days, depending on the individual. Patients follow the same schedule as those attending inpatient rehab.

Inpatient Treatment

Once the detox period is over, our patients can continue with their treatment while staying at our facility. Our inpatient treatment consists of daily therapy and mental health assessments to find out the root causes of alcohol use disorder. SUN Behavioral Kentucky has trained professionals that offer different therapies such as cognitive behavioral, group, and recreational. We also offer wellness programs to allow you to experience different hobbies such as yoga and nature hikes. This program is monitored 24/7 and provides a safe and stress-reducing environment.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient services offer the same healing and treatment options as an inpatient stay, but the patient goes home at night. Typically, patients are coming to the facility every day. They are still usually at the facility for extended periods of the day when they do come in, receiving various therapies and medication management.

If you or someone you love is trying to manage alcohol use disorder, there is help available. SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky is here to provide not only treatment, but hope for you to get your life back on track. Call us today at 859-429-5188 to see how we can get you started on the path to recovery today.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can you prevent alcohol poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning can be prevented by eating food before and while drinking, refraining from overconsumption, and pacing the amount you drink over time.

How common is alcohol poisoning?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 6 people die every day from alcohol poisoning.

How much would you have to drink to get alcohol poisoning?

Binge drinking is the most common cause of alcohol poisoning. This refers to 5 or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting for men and 4 or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting for women.

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SUN Behavioral Kentucky

820 Dolwick Drive
Erlanger, Kentucky 41018

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