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What’s the Difference Between Alcohol Poisoning and Being Drunk?

several empty wine glasses sit on a table

AUD is a progressive disease that often worsens if left untreated. It can lead to various health complications like liver damage, heart disease, and neurological disorders. Additionally, AUD can significantly impact relationships, careers, and overall quality of life. AUD also increases the risk of alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal.

Skywood Outpatient provides substance use disorder treatment in Royal Oaks, Michigan. Contact us today at 248.617.6237 or online for information about treatment options for yourself or a loved one.

What’s the Difference Between Alcohol Poisoning and Being Drunk?

Alcohol poisoning and being drunk are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. While both involve drinking too much alcohol, the two have distinct differences.

Alcohol poisoning is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when someone has consumed a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. This can happen when someone drinks excessively, rapidly consumes multiple alcoholic beverages, or engages in binge drinking.

On the other hand, being drunk is a state of intoxication that occurs when someone has consumed enough alcohol to alter their behavior and judgment. This can happen at different levels depending on a person’s tolerance and the type of alcohol they have consumed.

Warning Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a severe and potentially deadly condition that can occur when a person consumes too much alcohol in a short period of time. It can be difficult to recognize, as the symptoms may vary from person to person.

In order to identify cases of alcohol poisoning, it is crucial to know the warning signs and what to do if you suspect someone may be experiencing it. Here are some key things to look out for:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Pale or blue skin

Pale or blue skin is a serious indicator of alcohol poisoning and requires immediate attention. If you notice any of these warning signs in someone who has been drinking heavily, it is vital to take action immediately.

What to Do If You Suspect Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning

If you witness someone exhibiting signs of alcohol poisoning, acting quickly and seeking medical attention is important. Here are some steps you can take to help the person and potentially save their life:

  • Call for help – The first thing you should do is call for emergency medical assistance. Depending on your location, this could mean calling 911 or your local emergency number. Getting professional help as soon as possible is crucial, as alcohol poisoning can progress rapidly.
  • Stay with the person – While waiting for help to arrive, stay with the person at all times and monitor their vital signs. If they are conscious, try to keep them awake and upright. If they are unconscious, place them on their side in the recovery position to prevent choking on vomit.
  • Do not leave the person alone – Staying with the person until professional help arrives is important. Even if they seem to be getting better, alcohol poisoning can still have dangerous effects, and it is crucial to continue monitoring them until they are in the care of medical professionals.
  • Provide water and keep them hydrated – If the person is conscious and able to drink, provide them with water to help keep them hydrated. However, do not force them to drink if they are unable to swallow or unconscious.
  • Do not try to induce vomiting – While it may be tempting to try and make the person vomit in order to remove the alcohol from their system, this can actually do more harm than good. Vomiting can lead to choking and aspiration, which can cause further complications.
  • Do not give them food or caffeine – Similarly, do not try to give the person anything to eat or drink that contains caffeine. This may increase their heart rate and worsen their symptoms.
  • Stay calm and reassure the person – It is important to remain calm and reassuring while waiting for help to arrive.
  • Inform medical professionals of any other substances involved – If you know that the person has consumed other substances besides alcohol, be sure to inform the medical professionals when they arrive. This can help them provide appropriate treatment and prevent any potential interactions or complications.
  • Stay with the person until they are in the care of medical professionals – Once help arrives, stay with the person and provide any necessary information to the medical team. Do not leave until the person is safely in their care and receiving treatment.
  • Encourage seeking further help – After the person has received medical attention, encourage them to seek further help and support for their alcohol use. Alcohol poisoning is a serious warning sign that there may be underlying issues with their drinking habits that may need to be addressed.

Remember, the best way to prevent alcohol poisoning is to avoid excessive drinking in the first place. Always drink responsibly and know your limits. If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol misuse, reach out for help and support.

Start Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder at Skywood Outpatient Today

If you or someone you know is struggling with AUD, seeking treatment as soon as possible is essential. At Skywood Outpatient, we offer evidence-based treatment options to help individuals overcome their addiction and achieve long-term sobriety. Call 248.617.6237 or contact us online to begin treatment today.