4 Things Your Teen Should Know About Alcohol Poisoning
Teens who participate in underage alcohol consumption may not realize its long-term effects. They may be only concerned about how drinking alcohol can help them feel more relaxed, relieve their stress, and gain social acceptance with their peers. They often become dependent on it and would turn to binge drinking to quickly feel the alcohol’s sedative quality.
Binge drinking is defined as patterned drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration level to 0.08 grams or above. This can happen when men consume five or more drinks in about two hours. For women, drinking four or more alcoholic beverages at about the same time can be considered binge drinking. Binge drinking is not uncommon among teens. A survey conducted in 2019 shows that 12% of teens aged 12 to 20 years old reported drinking alcohol while 11% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.
Although binge drinking doesn’t make your teen an alcoholic, it can increase their alcohol tolerance. This tolerance can lead to alcohol addiction if not treated early on. There are several ways to treat it. One of them is by seeking professional help in a treatment facility nearest you. Most facilities offer programs for alcohol and other substance abuse. If you are looking for a facility in Florida, you may want to consider an Orlando drug rehab to get professional help. On the other hand, keeping yourself and your teen informed is also a good practice. You can start with the following information about alcohol poisoning:
Definition of Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol poisoning is a serious effect of binge drinking and can happen to anyone, including teens. Compared to the food you eat, alcohol is absorbed faster by your body. It reaches your bloodstream faster, then your liver filters it out of your blood. However, when you consume more alcohol, your blood alcohol concentration level rises and your liver ends up having a hard time processing the alcohol.
Even when you stop drinking, there is still a risk of alcohol poisoning because alcohol in the stomach continues to enter the bloodstream 30 to 40 minutes after you stop drinking. Thus, drinking excessively in a short time increases the risk of alcohol poisoning.
If not treated immediately, your teen could experience severe consequences of alcohol poisoning such as choking, dehydration, seizures, irregular heartbeat, and brain damage.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
The effects of alcohol are different for every person. It depends on the age, alcohol tolerance, and amount of food or medication consumed by the person. However, you can watch out for these signs of alcohol poisoning:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty in breathing
- Low body temperature
- Loss of consciousness
- Inability to stay awake
- Noticeable blue tinge on the skin
What You Should Do
If someone you know has consumed a large amount of alcohol and shows signs of alcohol poisoning, don’t leave them alone. Ask for immediate medical assistance by calling 911 or your local emergency number. While you are waiting for medical personnel to arrive, here are some things you can do to help:
- Keep them in an upright position – It’s best to help them sit upright if they are vomiting. But if they need to lie down, turn their heads to the side to prevent them from choking on their vomit.
- Keep them awake – You need to keep them conscious at all times by talking to them. This way, you can continue communicating and ask about how they are feeling.
- Give them water to drink – If they can take something to drink, give them water to keep them hydrated. Vomiting can cause severe dehydration, which can lead to dangerously low blood pressure and increased heart rate.
- Get all the information you can – Gather as much information as you can about how much alcohol they have consumed, what they’ve been drinking, and if they took any other substances. Make sure you pass on the details to the hospital or emergency personnel as this information can be crucial to their treatment.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Being mentally present in emergencies can save somebody’s life. It’s the same when witnessing a possible alcohol poisoning. Although you never want to be caught in such a situation, you need to be aware of the things you need to avoid.
- Don’t leave them alone – Those who consume large amounts of alcohol may vomit and the danger of choking is always present. Make sure someone is there with them.
- Don’t force them to vomit – Some people make the mistake of making the intoxicated person vomit, thinking it will help to ease their discomfort. The danger is that it can also cause them to choke on their vomit.
- Don’t suggest they sleep or walk it off – Sleeping off alcohol poisoning can be life-threatening. You need to keep them conscious at all times until medical assistance arrives. On the other hand, walking does not increase your body’s capability to process alcohol.
- Don’t make them take a cold shower – It’s never a good idea as the shock of cold water can make them lose consciousness.
Open communication with your teen can do wonders. You can start by talking to them about the dangers of alcohol abuse and the severe complications of alcohol poisoning. The more information you share with them, the more they become aware and better able to make smart decisions in the future.