Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which is commonly abused in the United States. The effects of abusing alcohol depend on various factors, such as age, health, gender, family history as well as how much and how quickly an individual drinks. For instance, if an individual drinks large amount of alcohol, it leads to a higher level of his/her blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This, in turn, is associated with greater impairments in a person’s ability to think clearly, talk, remember information, react and coordinate motor movements.
The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) highlighted that in 2015, there were 138.3 million Americans aged 12 or older who currently consumed alcohol. Out of this, around 66.7 million indulged in binge alcohol use in the past 30 days and around 17.3 million who engaged in heavy alcohol use.
An individual addicted to alcohol can display a number of symptoms. Some of the common ones include:
- Slurred speech
- Mood swings
- Memory, balance and coordination problems
- Poor reactions and judgments
- Vision/tactile problems
- Loss of consciousness
Alcohol poisoning occurs when an individual drinks too much alcohol too quickly in a short period of time. The condition can have potentially life-threatening consequences and can lead to a disturbance in behavioral or mental functioning of an individual, commonly during or after alcohol consumption.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), some of the common signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:
- Low body temperature
- Bluish, clammy or pale skin color
- Slurred speech
- Loss of coordination
- Slow, irregular or difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness, coma or inability to awaken
- Slow heart rate
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
People who do not seek or receive treatment for alcohol poisoning can experience serious complications, such as permanent brain damage, seizures, heart attacks or even death. Immediate medical attention is necessary to avoid fatal consequences.