Alcohol abuse & overdose: the risks
Alcohol is a substance that is made from fermented sugars, starches, and yeast. It is the intoxicating ingredient that is found in beer, wine, and liquor. When ingested, alcohol acts as a depressant on the body, meaning that it reduces the activity of the central nervous system, which includes the brain. Alcohol causes the user to feel “buzzed” or “drunk,” a state in which he or she often feels a sense of pleasure and well-being. Alcohol intoxication also reduces good judgment, slows reflexes, and impairs coordination and speech.
Although many individuals, in Virginia and throughout the United States, are able to manage their consumption of alcohol so that it does not interfere with their lives, many others find that that is difficult or impossible to control their drinking without help from a reputable addiction rehab center.
If alcohol abuse is not addressed promptly and effectively, the consequences can be severe. Alcohol abuse and addiction can strain relationships with friends, significant others, and family members to the breaking point, leaving individuals without meaningful social support. In addition, it can be extremely difficult to keep up with one’s job while abusing alcohol. People who struggle with alcohol abuse can find themselves demoted or out of a job, which can lead to financial disruption and long-term unemployment. Abuse of alcohol can also cause damage to a person’s body, resulting in cirrhosis, cardiovascular problems, and a range of other physical ailments. As with almost every other drug, the risk of overdose, or alcohol poisoning, is lurking behind every drink.
Signs of alcohol overdose
Alcohol overdose occurs when a person drinks more than his for her body can safely metabolize or excrete. Also referred to as alcohol poisoning, an alcohol overdose is a serious problem, and it can be fatal. Although the signs of overdose may vary from person to person, if someone who has been drinking exhibits the following signs, it is important that he or she receives medical attention as soon as possible:
- Reduced body temperature
- Loss of skin tone
- Shallow or slow breathing
- Incoherent speech
- Loss of consciousness
What to do if a person is showing signs of alcohol overdose
If someone who has been drinking is beginning to exhibit signs of overdose, it is important that the individual receives help as soon as possible. In case you are unsure, it is better to err on the side of caution and contact medical personnel anyway.
When you contact emergency medical services, in Virginia, it will be helpful to provide as much of the following information as possible:
- The signs and symptoms of overdose that you have observed
- An estimate of how much alcohol the individual has ingested
- Any other substances that you suspect he or she has been using
- How long he or she has been abusing alcohol
- Whether or not the individual has had a previous overdose
- Any other medical conditions the individual may have
If you are unsure about any of this information, do not guess. It is better to simply say that you do not know. Medical personnel are trained to help in these situations even when they do not have all the information, and it is better to simply say you do not know than to risk giving incorrect information.
If you suspect that you have consumed too much alcohol and are experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately. Even if you are unable to communicate, the fact that you contacted emergency services is enough to inform the dispatcher that something is wrong.
Regardless of whether or not an individual has experienced an overdose, alcoholism is a serious problem that necessitates seeking professional help from a licensed addiction rehab center. Fortunately, there are options for effective treatment that can allow people struggling with alcohol abuse to break free from this painful and destructive disorder.
At Life Center of Galax, in Virginia, we have extensive experience helping individuals overcome problems with alcohol abuse and addiction. If you or someone you love can benefit from the high-quality care that our addiction treatment center provides, do not hesitate to contact us. Today can be the first day of a new sober life.