Alcohol and Overdose


If someone drinks excessively to a certain point they may “overdose” on alcohol or develop alcohol poisoning which is a serious and potentially fatal condition. Figures show that every year in the UK there are 30,000 alcohol overdoses. However, this statistic could actually be higher as it’s based on alcohol admissions and not everyone admits themselves when they overdose on alcohol. In 2007, 150 people died from an alcohol overdose.

Overdose occurs when so much alcohol is drunk that the system becomes poisoned – alcohol is a toxin, remember. The liver is the organ which flushes toxins such as alcohol from the body but it can only process a unit or so each hour. If more than this is drunk, a concentration of alcohol builds up in the bloodstream.

Once a certain concentration level is reached, mental and bodily functions may become impaired. The heart rate, breathing rate and gag reflex can all be impacted upon. In the worst cases, the heart or breathing could stop or the person could choke or fall unconscious.

Symptoms of an alcohol overdose include:

  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Seizures or fits
  • Slowed breathing
  • Pale, clammy skin

If you’re worried someone may have poisoned their system with alcohol you should act fast and call for emergency medical help. They may need to have their stomach pumped. They will be given fluid and liquids and cared for until their system is cleansed of alcohol.

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