Alcohol intoxication, or alcohol poisoning, results from reaching a BAC (blood alcohol content) above .25%. People will show different tolerance levels based on weight or drinking history, but between .25% and .3% is when proper “alcohol poisoning” begins to occur. Remember that these figures are not rigid, and respective symptoms can occur within a few percent of their typical boundaries.
On average, 2,200 people die each year in the U.S. due to alcohol poisoning alone, disregarding the much higher figure for alcohol-related death, which is just shy of 100,000 annually. Each and every alcohol-related death is preventable, but only on a personal level.
If you or someone you care about is showing alcohol poisoning symptoms, don’t hesitate to receive the alcohol addiction treatment you need. Alcohol detox centers are just one measure Promises takes to ensure the best recovery and ongoing treatment possible for those grappling with alcohol addiction.
The Risks of Rising Intoxication Levels
While alcohol intoxication is a spectrum, there are seven distinct stages, ranging from sober to death. At stage 5, death or grave injury can occur, so some of the last warning signs before critical harm are those of stage 4 or the “coma stage.” The homeostatic blood alcohol level is, naturally, 0%. Between there and the range where alcohol poisoning can occur, several symptoms can show themselves before the consequences become seriously life-threatening.
- At a BAC of ~.18, blackouts begin to occur. A blackout is the process of passing out suddenly, even from an upright position, and losing all recollection of what had happened in the hours during and before drinking. This is the first stage before people become unresponsive and motor functions begin slowing.
- Increased pain threshold is also a typical sign of alcohol intoxication in the coma stage. It’s due to a decreased motor function and a numbing sensation from an excess of alcohol. At this stage, it’s possible for secondary causes of death or injury to occur. Self-inflicted injuries happen most often beginning at this stage.
- Slow breathing (classified as < 8 inhalations, exhalations per sixty seconds) can also be a precursor to alcohol poisoning. Heart rate can be irregularly high at this stage as well. When these symptoms appear during drinking, a medical emergency is only a few drinks out.
Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms
The symptoms of acute alcohol intoxication grow increasingly apparent and fatal with rising blood alcohol content. Watch for these when assessing whether you or somebody else is starting to drink either too fast and/or too much. Someone suffering from severe intoxication will initially act unresponsive, clammy, or lose control over some of their bodily functions. Vomiting is likely to occur at this stage, which can be potentially lethal if left unchecked.
After the bloodstream’s intoxication level passes .35, body temperature plummets. Their motor functions and breath can either slow to the point of necessary medical attention or stop altogether. After BAC passes .45, most people die. This stage is unsettlingly easy to reach, especially considering the type of alcohol and the speed at which it’s consumed. Death is possible at lower BACs but almost assured by this point.
Take Measures Towards Recovery at Promises Behavioral Health
Alcohol poisoning is serious and can happen to anyone when moderation is left unchecked. If you’re trying to take steps toward rehabilitation, the place to start is with Promises. At Promises Behavioral Health, we offer alcohol detox centers in Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Massachusetts. Whichever type of treatment you need, call us at 855.298.3104 and find out which location and treatment plan suits you best.