Maintaining abstinence from alcohol after going through withdrawal requires great discipline and dedication. Many people in recovery from alcohol addiction need ongoing therapy to stay
What Is an Alcohol Overdose and How Can Alcohol Detox Help?
June 18, 2020
Many people drink alcohol regularly and in large amounts, with only the vaguest understanding of the dangers that it can cause. In some cases, those who drink don’t even know that too much alcohol can be deadly, or they don’t worry about this possible effect because their tolerance is already so high. The truth is that alcohol can always cause an overdose, no matter how often or for how many years you’ve been drinking. In fact, if you drink regularly and you do experience an alcohol overdose, this could be a sign that you are dependent on and addicted to the substance.
Getting treatment in a professional alcohol detox center, followed by alcohol rehab, is often the best way to recover safely from alcohol addiction. If you have overdosed on alcohol or if someone you know has, you should call 911 immediately, as this is a very serious situation that could easily result in death.
What Is an Alcohol Overdose?
Also known as alcohol poisoning, alcohol overdose occurs when a person drinks so much alcohol that their brain is no longer able to control the body’s basic functions of life, such as breathing, pumping blood through the heart, and regulating temperature (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)). This is a serious side effect of drinking too much that can occur no matter how often you drink. If you are drinking for the first time, it can still happen. If you drink regularly, however, this could be a sign of alcoholism.
There are several symptoms of alcohol overdose that can help you determine if someone is going through this syndrome. They include:
- Slowed breathing
- Lowered body temperature
- Clammy, cold skin
- Slowed heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Slipping in an out of consciousness or complete unconsciousness
- Blue or purplish lips and fingers
The person’s responses will be dulled, so if you call their name, they might not respond or wake up. They might also not have a gag reflex, so if they vomit, they could potentially choke. When someone drinks too much alcohol and these symptoms begin to occur, brain damage can result because of the lack of oxygen getting to the brain. Those who drink and take drugs, such as opioids, at the same time, are even more likely to experience this kind of brain damage. Brain damage caused by alcohol overdose can be permanent, which is why treatment is necessary immediately.
What Should I Do If I Suspect an Alcohol Overdose?
If you think someone you love or even someone you don’t know has overdosed on alcohol, make sure to get them the treatment they need right away. According to the Pennsylvania State Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, you must call 911 immediately. Tell the operator as much information as you can. If you know what the person was drinking and how much, tell them.
If you know other information, such as that the person is underage or they were taking illegal drugs in addition to drinking, you must not leave this out. You may be worried about getting in trouble, but right now, what matters is the person who has overdosed and their safety.
Do not leave someone alone if they are unconscious, as they could vomit and begin to choke. As well, do not try to make them vomit up the alcohol for the same reason. If the individual starts to vomit, help them sit up or turn their head to the side if they insist on lying down.
Also, do not assume they will simply sleep off the event. If you notice symptoms like those listed above, you must get the individual help as soon as possible. Otherwise, they could die.
What Happens After Alcohol Overdose?
People who overdose on alcohol are often rushed to the hospital. According to the Mayo Clinic, their treatment requires a mixture of monitoring, oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids that help prevent dehydration, and possibly even the administration of glucose or vitamins for those who are experiencing severe side effects. In some cases, people can be released after they become stable. However, if the person who overdoses on alcohol is dependent on the substance, more care will be needed.
Alcohol dependence doesn’t just go away after alcohol poisoning is treated. In fact, most people who are dependent on the substance will start to experience withdrawal symptoms soon after they are stabilized from their alcohol poisoning. This is where alcohol detox comes in.
What Is Alcohol Detox and How Does It Help?
Alcohol detox is often the first part of addiction treatment for alcoholism. It is the stage of treatment in which patients are weaned off their dependence on alcohol in a safe, controlled environment. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and, in some cases, even deadly, so going through alcohol detox in a treatment center is often necessary.
Alcohol detox in Florida can be held in an inpatient treatment center, like the Summer House Detox Center, or in an outpatient facility. Often, it can be best for those who have overdosed on alcohol to seek detox in a controlled inpatient center because their use of alcohol is obviously dangerous and uncontrolled if they overdosed on the substance. Detox is usually the first part of alcohol rehab because it is necessary for those who are dependent on alcohol and because, alone, it is not enough to allow someone to recover safely from alcohol addiction.
Alcohol detox, however, can provide a stabilizing effect for those who have been abusing alcohol for years and have experienced a life-threatening event like alcohol poisoning. Often, addicts feel that going through an event like this was what woke them up to the severity of their condition. Detox can provide care during an otherwise scary and shaky part of a person’s recovery from alcohol abuse.
How Do I Know I’m Ready for Alcohol Detox?
If you have gone through alcohol poisoning, or even if you haven’t, you might need to start with alcohol detox in order to safely recover from your addiction. Ask yourself these questions to find out if you are in need of and ready for this particular program:
- Have you ever overdosed on alcohol before?
- Does your alcohol abuse often put you in difficult situations, such as fighting with your loved ones, missing work, experiencing serious health risks, etc.?
- Have you ever tried to stop drinking or to drink less? If so, did you have trouble doing so?
- When you aren’t able to drink, do you experience withdrawal symptoms, such as
- Mood swings?
- Have you ever experienced any symptoms you thought might be a threat to your health or wellbeing?
- Do you feel that you no longer have control over your alcohol use?
- Do you want to stop drinking but don’t think you can?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to seek alcohol detox in order to begin the first step toward alcohol recovery. Of course, you will still need to seek rehab treatment after detox, but it is often much easier to do so with the help of your detox center’s staff. Once you are no longer dependent on alcohol, you will also be able to avoid experiencing the sometimes dangerous and severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Summer House Detox Center offers safe, effective treatment for those looking to end their dependence on alcohol. This is often the necessary next step for someone addicted to the substance who has experienced alcohol poisoning and been treated for it. Call 800-719-1090 to speak with one of our qualified addiction specialists today. Call any time, day or night, and you can begin your recovery as soon as possible. We offer alcohol detox in West Palm Beach and provide all the tools required for your recovery. Visit us at 13550 Memorial Highway Miami, FL 33161.
Alcohol is the most easily accessible addictive substance in the United States, which is why it’s commonly used with medications like benzodiazepines. Some people combine