As humans, we have been enjoying alcohol for thousands of years. Alcohol is one of the most revered pleasures on the planet, and is served at social functions of all kinds. While some people can consume alcohol joyfully in moderation for others, it can be a dogged curse. There is a darker side to this beloved beverage which looms over every bar, college campus, or sporting event and that is alcohol poisoning.
What some may not know is that ‘alcohol poisoning’ is a layman’s term. This means that the intoxication covers a very broad spectrum, and that there is no particular threshold to cross to become “poisoned.” Alcohol is a toxin, and our bodies treat it as such, regardless of quantity. Even when someone consumes one drink, they are ingesting “poison” into their bodies (to some degree). How this effects their physiological state depends on hydration, size, tolerance, what they have eaten, the amount of sleep they are operating on, and what kind of day they have had.
In mild cases, victims of excessive alcohol intoxication are usually brought in by friends or family rather than the police. Doctors administer intravenous fluids to help hydrate the patient (usually 1 to 2 liters) and to ensure that vital organs will function properly. Following the injection of fluids, patients undergo a period of observation before they are released. Most physicians will never send a patient home with any vital sign abnormality.
Contrary to popular belief, “pumping the stomach” is virtually never used for alcohol intoxication. In fact, it is considered more dangerous than beneficial in most cases. Instead, a patient is intubated with a smaller tube inserted through the mouth or nose and threaded through the esophagus into the stomach. The tube is placed on suction which decompresses the stomach and reduces the risk of vomiting. If the patient does throw up, then the trachea is protected because the breathing-tube is taking up most of the room.
If you're going to drink alcohol, it's extremely important to drink responsibly. By not overindulging in beer or liquor, you stand the chance of avoiding or preventing alcohol poisoning. If you feel like you currently or could potentially suffer from an alcohol abuse problem, we recommend enrolling in one of our online classes. It's important to get the help you need.