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Think You or Someone You Know Is Consuming Too Much Alcohol?

Alcohol Intoxication

What is alcohol intoxication?

It happens when an individual consumes more alcohol than the body can handle causing behavioral or physical abnormalities. It is also known as ethanol poisoning or being drunk.

What causes such intoxication?

Ethanol, a type of alcohol, creates depressive effects in various areas of the brain that then cause the physical and behavioral abnormalities already mentioned.

What are the symptoms of alcohol intoxication?

  • Breath smells like alcohol
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Blackouts or seizures
  • Slurred or loud speech
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
    • If the person vomits more than once, it may be a sign of head injury or other serious illness
  • Fast heartbeats and slow breaths
  • Loss of ability to maintain balance
  • Confused & disoriented
  • Loss of memory

What are some common behaviors of individuals who are experiencing alcohol intoxication?

  • Rapid mood changes
    • An individual may feel happy one second and become easily upset the next second while engaging in violent acts
  • Risky sexual behavior
    • Unprotected sex
    • Sex without the other persons consent
  • Work or school trouble
    • Begin to miss class & work
    • Cannot successfully complete desired tasks

How is alcohol intoxication diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will often examine you and ask a variety of questions such as:

  • How much alcohol did you drink?
  • How often do you drink?
  • What kind of alcohol did you drink?
  • What do you remember?

Often, healthcare providers will also take a urine sample to test the amount of alcohol in the body, for liver, kidney, and heart damage.

How is such intoxication treated?

  • Medicine such as sedatives, anti-nausea medicine, glucose, or vitamin B1
  • Brief intervention therapy
    • Meet with health provider to discuss ways in which you can control risky behaviors
  • Breathing support such as extra oxygen or a ventilator if you cannot breathe on your own because of the intoxication

What are the consequences of alcohol intoxication?

  • Puts you at a higher risk of developing a disease or an injury
  • Alcohol damages not only the brain, but the liver, kidneys, and lungs as well
  • Engage in violent actions
  • May become a harm for yourself & other
  • Alcohol intoxication can lead to a coma and may be life-threatening

How do I know if I am experiencing alcohol intoxication? How do I know when to seek help?

  • You have a hard time controlling the amount of alcohol you consume
  • It is disrupting your daily life activities such as work and school because you drink too much
  • Engage in physical & verbal fights
  • Question your condition
  • Have a seizure
  • Cannot stop vomiting
  • Were in an accident because of alcohol consumption
  • Feel upset to the point where you are thinking of harming yourself or other
  • Hallucinate

How to help someone or yourself if they are experiencing alcohol intoxication?

  • Get rid of all the alcohol in their home
  • Remove the person from all sources of alcohol
  • Provide a safe environment (i.e. keep away from driving vehicles)
  • Find out what the person has consumed aside from ethanol (i.e. drugs or medications)