What is an Alcohol Overdose?

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What is an Alcohol Overdose?

We get so much information about drug overdoses today, but what about an alcohol overdose? “What is that?” Many people may be asking this question now. We hear of college students dying from binge drinking in hazing activities to get into fraternities or sororities. More than the term, “alcohol overdose,” most people have heard of “alcohol poisoning.”

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Overdose?

An alcohol overdose is an urgent and sometimes deadly result of drinking too much alcohol in a short period of time. Clearly, binge drinking often results in alcohol overdose or alcohol poisoning.

Signs of an alcohol overdose include:

  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
  • Seizures
  • Slowed or irregular breathing
  • Passed out (unconscious) and can’t be awakened
  • Pale with blue-tinged or ashy looking skin

A person who is passed out and can’t be awakened is at risk of dying. Seek medical attention immediately! You also need to remember, the person doesn’t have to have all of the above symptoms for it to be a medical emergency.

How Do You Handle a Case of Alcohol Overdose?

The first thing you need to do in the case of an alcohol overdose is to seek professional medical attention immediately. Above all, don’t assume that they will “sleep it off.” Tell the emergency responders what type of alcohol the individual has been drinking. If you can, give them an approximate quantity of alcohol consumed. Remember, any kind of information you can give will help in the immediate attention of the first responders.

Above all else, don’t leave the victim alone! An alcohol overdose affects the work of the gag reflex. Therefore, if a person starts vomiting, they can choke on their own vomit and not be able to breathe. If the person does vomit, try to put them in a sitting position to avoid choking. If they cannot sit, turn them on their side with the head tilted to the side. Try to keep them awake.

What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is when a person consumes large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time. Teens and young adults tend to binge drink at parties. In fact, some binges can continue for days at a time. Many alcoholics will go for days drinking and not eating anything at all. This type of binge drinking is extremely dangerous.

It is very important to remember that a person can drink enough alcohol to cause a fatal overdose before they pass out. Once a person stops drinking, the stomach and intestines continue to release alcohol into the bloodstream. Hence, the alcohol level in a person’s system continues rising at this time.

Mixing Alcohol with Medications

Alcohol can negatively interact with medications a person may be taking.  In fact, mixing this substance with prescription medications such as opioids can be dangerous and even fatal. Even small amounts of alcohol combined with prescription medications can escalate the effects of the medication. It can increase drowsiness, dizziness, and interfere with concentration and coordination.

Combining alcohol with prescription medications increases the risk of falls, broken bones, and other serious injuries. Some of these injuries may even be fatal. Older individuals are especially prone to having adverse reactions from mixing alcohol with prescription medications. Young adults often combine alcohol with stimulants such as Adderall. This is highly dangerous because the individual can overdose on alcohol without realizing the signs of the overdose because of the stimulant in their system.

Contact A Forever Recovery About Treatment Programs Available

If you are at risk of an alcohol overdose because of binge drinking or other behaviors associated with this issue, contact A Forever Recovery to learn about treatment programs available for your specific needs. Don’t risk losing your life because of an alcohol overdose.

Our representatives at A Forever Recovery can discuss a treatment program that will fit your individual needs. They can also answer any questions you may have about our facility and staff. Contact us today.


  • mayoclinic.org – Alcohol Poisoning

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