What Are The Complications of Acute Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol (ethyl alcohol) is present in many routinely used household products. It is of course present in alcoholic drinks. However, acute alcohol poisoning generally occurs due to drinking of alcoholic drinks, too much of it in short time. Alcohol poisoning from drinking alcohol from common household products generally do not occur, as the content of alcohol is much less in these products. In many household products other types of alcohols are present such as methyl alcohol (present in paints, solvents, antifreeze products etc.), isopropyl alcohol (present in lotions, cleaning solutions, and rubbing alcohol) etc. Consumption of these (especially methyl alcohol) lead to other types of toxicity and not acute alcohol poisoning.ID-100375440

Causes of acute alcohol poisoning-

Binge drinking:

The most common cause of acute alcohol poisoning is binge drinking. In binge drinking a person (a male) usually drinks five or more drinks in less than two hours or a female drinks at least four drinks in two hours. The person may drink large quantity of alcohol before passing out. Binge drinking may continue for hours at a time. After binge drinking, even if one stops drinking (may be due to passing out) and blood alcohol level may still keep climbing, because alcohol is present in stomach and intestines and keep getting absorbed into blood stream.

How much alcohol is too much? This question is not easy to answer. Most of the alcohol is metabolized in liver and normally human liver can metabolize alcohol contained in one drink in one hour. Hence, if you drink more than one drink in an hour there is risk of alcohol accumulation in blood, because liver is unable to handle more than one drink in an hour. If you consume several drinks in an hour or two, there is risk of acute alcohol poisoning.

What are the complications of acute alcohol poisoning?

Complications include,

  • As the individual may become unconscious, there is risk of choking. Acute alcohol poisoning leads to depression of gag reflex and there is vomiting, due to depressed gag reflex there may be choking.
  • When vomit enter the respiratory system the breathing may even stop due to asphyxia.
  • Seizures may occur in acute alcohol poisoning, because blood sugar may become too low to cause seizure.
  • Severe dehydration is a serious problem, which may be due to excess vomiting. Due to dehydration blood pressure may fall dangerously and heart rate can be very rapid.
  • Body temperature may drop and lead to hypothermia in acute alcohol poisoning.
  • In some cases permanent brain damage can occur.
  • If left untreated or if treatment started too late or inadequate treatment, any of the above mentioned complications of acute alcohol poisoning may lead to death.

 

Image courtesy of [Suriya Kankliang] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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