Science has shown that an occasional alcoholic beverage or consuming alcohol in small doses has no lasting adverse effects. For instance, drinking a glass of wine at dinner or having a beer at a baseball game is likely safe. However, consuming too much alcohol in a short period can cause alcohol poisoning. Below, we’ll go over how alcohol works in the body, what alcohol poisoning symptoms to look for and how you can get help.
How Alcohol Works in Your System
Alcohol is one of the most addictive drugs in the U.S. In fact, alcohol use disorder (AUD) affects more than 14.5 million people in the country. This is partially because it’s legal and widely available; it’s sold in almost every grocery store across the nation. Additionally, alcohol is often found at many social events, like office holiday parties and weddings.
Similarly, it doesn’t help that many well-known Hollywood comedy movies make light of binge drinking. Binge drinking is the result of someone ingesting an exorbitant amount of alcohol in a short period and usually results in an individual experiencing alcohol poisoning symptoms.
This is because when you consume alcohol, it gets absorbed into your bloodstream via the stomach and small intestine. When it’s done there, it travels to your brain, where it acts as a depressant and slows down activity in the central nervous system.
Alcohol binds to specific receptors called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for making the brain feel tranquil and relaxed; it’s why you feel more friendly and less anxious when you drink.
Also, alcohol binds to glutamate receptors and causes glutamate activity in the brain to decrease. Glutamate is the neurotransmitter responsible for brain activity like learning and memory. This explains why excessive alcohol consumption can cause memory loss, comprehension difficulty, and behavioral changes.
Furthermore, alcohol lowers inhibitions by muddling the communication between two areas in the brain: the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. When the connection between those two areas goes awry, it can cause an individual to engage in risky behavior. This includes drinking more than the body can handle before alcohol poisoning symptoms become apparent.
Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms
To restate, binge drinking alcohol is what causes alcohol poisoning symptoms. Too much alcohol too quickly can make your brain shut down the areas responsible for controlling basic life support functions. The brainstem connects the front of the brain (cerebrum) to the spinal cord through an opening at the end of your skull. Three sections that make up the brainstem are the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata.
The medulla oblongata is wedged between the bottom of the brainstem and the spinal cord and is responsible for keeping you alive. Without proper medulla regulation, the brain will begin shutting down or quieting the areas necessary for survival.
This can affect the following vital bodily functions:
- Heart rate
- Temperature regulation
- Blood flow
- Carbon dioxide levels
- Oxygen levels
If this happens, a person is experiencing an alcohol overdose, another phrase for alcohol poisoning. And unfortunately, overdosing on alcohol can result in permanent brain damage or even death. From 2010-2012, an average of six people per day died from alcohol poisoning in the U.S., which indicates that alcohol poisoning is a significant national issue.
Alcohol poisoning symptoms to watch for include the following:
- Trouble staying conscious
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Clammy skin
- Low body temp
- Slow pulse
- Responses diminished
- Blue-tinged skin
If there’s an unconscious person you believe is showing alcohol poisoning symptoms, such as vomiting, make sure to roll them onto their side to prevent choking. Additionally, try to keep an unconscious person awake and alert so that they can answer any questions when you call 911 for help.
Recovering from an Alcohol Overdose
If you have noticed a loved one displaying alcohol poisoning symptoms more than once, Springbrook Behavioral Hospital’s rehab center can help. This beautiful Florida establishment provides a variety of safe and comfortable treatment services so you can start the healing process.
Medical detox is a program that helps patients stop drinking, so they don’t have to suffer from alcohol poisoning symptoms anymore. During the detox process, medical professionals monitor patients in a safe and supervised manner to ensure their pain is manageable and make their detox process as comfortable as possible.
In addition, our knowledgeable physicians and healthcare staff are here to assist you with any alcohol withdrawal symptoms you may experience, including:
- Tremors or shaking
- Nausea and vomiting
Florida alcohol detox centers like Springbrook Behavioral Hospital can help you get through alcohol withdrawals without these unpleasant and dangerous symptoms. With 24/7 medical monitoring, we keep individuals safe and comfortable as their bodies re-learn to live without alcohol.
Following alcohol detox, most individuals then enroll in our dual diagnosis program to address the underlying causes of addiction.
Dual Diagnosis Rehab in Brooksville, Florida
At Springbrook Behavioral Hospital, our treatment center specializes in mental health and addiction recovery. Our dual diagnosis program helps patients recognize the connection between their binge drinking habits and mental health problems. Furthermore, this specific inpatient hospitalization program addresses the relationship between alcohol use disorders and mental disorders.
Participating in our dual diagnosis program means benefiting from an assortment of therapy and treatment options to help patients recover from both alcohol use disorder and other mental illnesses.
Some of these treatment modalities include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Medication management
While here, you will work with a care team of addiction specialists, physicians, and mental health professionals whose goal is to ensure you have everything you need for a lasting recovery.
We also provide additional treatment programs, such as our partial hospitalization program (PHP), designed for individuals requiring a less intensive level of care. Alternatively, outpatient alcohol rehabilitation is a great step-down option after completing an inpatient treatment program.
Look Forward to a Life without Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms
Alcohol poisoning symptoms are detrimental to your overall mental and physical health. At Springbrook Behavioral Hospital, we understand it can be challenging to come to terms with a binge drinking problem. But we want you to know there’s no shame in getting help.
Our individualized treatment programs and calm, alcohol-free environment can help you attain long-term recovery.
To learn more about how we can assist you, call our admissions experts at 352-600-3288, or you can also fill out a confidential contact form online. One of our team members will be standing by to answer your questions about our services.