Did you know that over 50% of Delawareans drink alcohol at least once a month? This number hasn’t changed in over 10 years. Whether it’s a glass of wine at dinner or a few drinks on the weekend to blow off some steam, one thing is certain: we are very familiar with alcohol. For a majority of the population, this isn’t a problem. But for the 19.3% of men and 9.8% of women who participate in excessive drinking, alcohol overdose can be a serious and life-threatening reality.
At SUN Behavioral Delaware, we care about our communities and don’t want to see anyone overdose on alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heavy drinking as 15+ drinks per week for men and 8+ drinks per week for women. We know these guidelines aren’t always easy to follow. Let’s talk about alcohol poisoning and how we can prevent it from happening.
Simply put, alcohol overdose happens when a person drinks too much alcohol at once. It’s a cluster of potentially dangerous symptoms that result from a substance overwhelming the body. Because alcohol impacts the central nervous system, an overdose can impact many vital organs, including the brain. If an overdose goes untreated, it can lead to long-term health problems or even death.
There’s no doubt about it – alcohol is toxic in large amounts. While the liver does a great job at breaking alcohol down and expelling it from the body, it can only metabolize about one drink per hour. One drink is considered 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine, or 1.5 oz. of spirits (alcohol, tequila, whiskey, etc.) What isn’t being metabolized by your liver stays in your body until you sweat, breathe, or vomit it out. When too much alcohol is ingested, it can’t be properly metabolized and it begins to poison your body. This results in the shutting down of important organs and functions.
Drinking too much in one sitting, or binge drinking, isn’t the only factor at play in alcohol poisoning. There are other variables to consider when it comes to who is at risk, including:
An average of 6 people die each day in the United States from alcohol overdose. Alcohol-related deaths are typically caused by the complications that stem from having a BAC that’s too high. When you’re drinking 8 or more drinks (binge drinking) in one setting, there’s a chance your body will have a difficult time processing the alcohol. Here are some common complications that can be fatal if they aren’t caught in time:
Not everyone will experience the same symptoms when it comes to alcohol poisoning. However, some of the most common signs or symptoms include:
If one or more of these symptoms is present after an episode of binge drinking, seek immediate emergency help.
It can be difficult to gauge whether or not it’s time to seek medical help. Confusion or vomiting, which are common symptoms of alcohol overdose, can look a lot like how the body normally reacts to large amounts of alcohol. This doesn’t necessarily indicate an overdose. Keep your eye out for accompanying symptoms like irregular breathing or loss of consciousness.
If the person is unable to be woken up, or if their breathing slows to about 8 breaths per minute, call 911 right away. It’s not safe to assume that someone will just “sleep it off.” Alcohol continues to be released into the bloodstream from the stomach after someone has fallen asleep.
Make sure that when you call for help, you provide as much information as possible, including how much the individual has had to drink and what symptoms they’re exhibiting.
If you or someone you love is having a hard time controlling how much alcohol you drink (or how often you drink), it might be time to seek treatment. At SUN Behavioral Delaware, we know that every patient’s healing journey is unique. That’s why we offer a large variety of treatment programs for alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol detox happens in the first 72 hours after your last drink. It’s the process your body goes through to flush the alcohol out of its system. During this time, your body is working hard to rid itself of any toxins left behind. This is when withdrawal symptoms usually start, peak, and subside.
SUN Behavioral Health’s Alcohol Detox happens during this time. You’ll come in and meet with one of our clinicians to be assessed for your needs and to create some goals for yourself. People who choose detox stay in our facility so we can monitor their condition, treat their withdrawal symptoms, and help them heal safely and efficiently.
Inpatient treatment provides patients with a stable and supportive environment. Here, they can focus on their recovery while being surrounded by trained and licensed professionals and others who are going through the same thing.
During inpatient treatment, patients stay on sight at the rehab facility 24/7. They get to experience a wide variety of activities and programs during their day from individual therapy sessions and group sessions to activities such as yoga or hobbies that help rebuild new habits and focus the mind on healing.
If inpatient treatment doesn’t work for your schedule or your lifestyle, outpatient and PHP can help. This type of care usually does not require patients to stay at the facility while being treated. When visiting the facility, patients spend time in customized sessions over the course of a day. This can be beneficial for full-time employees seeking treatment because it allows patients to continue to maintain a life outside of treatment.
If you or someone you know is living with an alcohol use disorder, SUN Behavioral Delaware can help. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our available treatment options, call us today at 302-604-5600 so we can help you get your life back!
Simply put, alcohol overdose happens when a person drinks too much alcohol at once. It’s a cluster of potentially dangerous symptoms that result from a substance overwhelming the body.
Call for help immediately. You can either call 911 or poison control at 1-800-222-1222.
Everyone’s healing journey varies, but it typically takes 2 weeks for the brain and body to recover from alcohol poisoning or overdose.