Harmful Effects Of Excessive Alcohol Intake

Harmful Effects Of Excessive Alcohol Intake

7 mins read

Many people consume alcohol because it has a relaxing effect, and drinking can be a healthy social experience. However, consuming a large amounts of alcohol, even one time, can according to experts, lead to serious health complications.

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An alcohol overdose or poisoning is one health problem that can result from too much alcohol consumption. It can happen when you drink too much alcohol at a time.

This is indeed a serious condition that can be life-threatening.

Alcohol is a drug that affects your central nervous system. It’s considered a depressant because it slows down your speech, movement, and reaction time.

It also affects all of your organs. Alcohol is considered an overdose when you drink more alcohol than your body can safely process.

The stomach and small intestine quickly absorb the alcohol, which enters the bloodstream at a rapid rate. The more alcohol you consume, the greater the quantity that enters your bloodstream.

The liver metabolizes the alcohol, but it can only break down so much at one time. What the liver can’t break down is redirected throughout the rest of the body.

Although everyone metabolizes alcohol at a different rate, usually, the body can safely process around one unit of pure alcohol per hour (about a third of an ounce, according to a system adopted in the United Kingdom — generally estimated to be the amount of alcohol in a small shot of liquor, a bottle of beer, or a third of a glass of wine). If you drink more than this and your body isn’t able to break it down fast enough, it accumulates in your body.

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Excessive intake of alcohol goes with some notable risk factors. The most common risk factors that can raise your chances of having an alcohol overdose are: age, gender, body size, tolerance, drug use and other health conditions

Age: young adults are more likely to drink excessively, leading to an alcohol overdose.

Gender: men are more likely than women to drink heavily, resulting in a greater risk of an alcohol overdose.

Body size: your height and weight determine how quickly your body absorbs alcohol. Someone with a smaller body may experience the effects of excessive alcohol more rapidly than someone with a larger body. The smaller-bodied person may experience an alcohol overdose after drinking the same quantity that a larger-bodied person can consume safely.

Tolerance: having a high tolerance for alcohol or drinking quickly (for example, by playing drinking games) can put you at increased risk for an alcohol overdose.

Drug use: if you combine alcohol and drugs, you may not feel the effects of the alcohol. This may cause you to drink more, increasing your risk of an alcohol overdose.

Other health conditions

If you have other health conditions, such as diabetes, you may be at greater risk of having an alcohol overdose.

Meanwhile, alcohol overdose has some notable symptoms including the following:

•Changes in mental state, including confusion


•Pale or blue skin

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• Decrease in body temperature (hypothermia)

•Passing out (unconsciousness).

Since alcohol depresses the nervous system, you may experience serious complications if you drink at a rate that is much faster than your liver can process the alcohol. These complications include:

slowing or stopping breathing, heart rate, and gag reflex, all of which are controlled by your nervous system;

Cardiac arrest following a decrease in your body temperature (hypothermia);

seizures as a result of low blood sugar levels.

Meanwhile, you may not need to have all of the symptoms listed above to have an alcohol overdose.

If you suspect an alcohol overdose and the person is unconscious, do not leave them alone.

Be sure to place them on their side in case they vomit. Because an alcohol overdose can suppress a person’s gag reflex, and they could choke and possibly die if they vomit while unconscious and lying on their back. If the vomit is inhaled into the lungs, it can cause a person to stop breathing.

An alcohol overdose can damage your pancreas, which digests food and monitors the levels of glucose in your blood. Low blood sugar can be an indicator of alcohol poisoning.

An alcohol overdose is typically treated in the emergency room. The emergency room physician will monitor vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature.

If you develop more serious symptoms, such as seizures, your doctor may need to provide additional treatments, including:

The outlook of people who have experienced the effects of excessive alcohol depends on how severe it is and how urgent they seek medical attention. Prompt treatment of an alcohol overdose can prevent life-threatening health problems. However, severe alcohol overdose may cause seizures, resulting in brain damage if oxygen to the brain is cut off. This damage can be permanent.

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However, you can prevent an alcohol overdose by limiting your alcohol intake. You might consider sticking with one drink or abstaining from alcohol altogether. Seek help if you have a drinking problem.

You can take action to protect your loved ones from an alcohol overdose. Talk to your children about the dangers of alcohol and possible overdose. Open communication has been proven to greatly reduce the incidence of teen drinking and subsequent alcohol poisoning.

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Peter Okoye, PBA Journalism Mentee
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