Alcohol Poisoning: What to Expect During Your ER Visit

Most Americans drink alcohol occasionally, and even though most Americans drink alcohol, many never have to experience alcohol poisoning. Drinking alcohol is almost second nature to many people in today’s day and age. People gulp down a glass of wine to rewind after a hectic day, to enjoy with dinner, to celebrate their happy moments, to cope with a difficulty, and sometimes just because they are addicted to drinking. Alcohol is readily available at your local grocery market, corner convenience store, and of course, any liquor store.

One issue with drinking alcohol arises when people drink heavily; they may fall victim to alcohol poisoning. If you fail to stay within your limits you will be looking at a trip to the emergency room.

 

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

The life-threatening ingestion of a lethal type or too much alcohol is will cause alcohol poisoning. Without medical intervention, alcohol poisoning can lead to coma and even death. Drinking large amounts of alcohol too quickly can affect your: 

  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Body temperature
  • Gag reflex

Alcohol poisoning also occurs accidentally, for example; if adults or children drink household products that contain alcohol, they can be poisoned. A person with alcohol poisoning needs immediate medical attention. If you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning, call for emergency medical help right away and take them to an emergency room.

 

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Common signs of alcohol poisoning are:

  • Slow breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Blue-tinged skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Unconsciousness
  • Choking
  • Slurred or intangible speech

If you or a loved one has any of the symptoms mentioned above after drinking, you should call 911, request an ambulance, and immediately get to the emergency room. A person with alcohol poisoning must be monitored at all times; leaving anyone with alcohol poisoning alone could result in severe injury or worse. 

 

When to Visit Nearest Emergency Room

Getting emergency help for alcohol poisoning can be frightening, but it’s critical if someone is to the point of poisoning. If you delay calling 911 or taking a person to the hospital, you could develop a severe brain injury, have a heart attack or stroke, suffer liver damage, and even death. 

Here are a few things that you should expect during your ER visit:

 

You will undergo a medical evaluation, and a doctor will administer the necessary treatment to you

When you’ve been drinking copious amounts of alcohol your body’s probably malnourished and dehydrated. Doctors will perform lab tests to check for any deficiencies, then give you IV fluids and other nutrients as per your body’s requirement. 

ER doctors typically administer treatments that help people breathe better, wake up after passing out, and protect their vital organs like their brain, heart, and lungs. The necessary ER treatments are: 

  • Oxygen for irregular breathing
  • IV fluids for dehydration
  • Thiamin and glucose to maintain blood sugar and prevent brain damage

 

A mental health professional may assess you.

A mental health professional may be called in to speak with you. He or she will likely ask if you feel suicidal or have recurring thoughts about hurting yourself or others. It’s essential, to be honest with the doctor and tell everything you may be feeling without fear of being judged. Transparency is critical to this process for quick recovery. 

 

You may have to have a medical procedure. 

This may happen while you are not conscious, and you do not need to give permission to perform any medical procedures if they are life-saving efforts. Procedures such as a stomach pump are common when admitted to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. A stomach pump is administered orally and is used to remove all the excess alcohol and anything in your stomach that may be vomited up or block your airways. 

 

Your doctor may recommend you to check into a medical detox.

Most hospitals have a detox unit where patients can medically (and safely) eliminate toxins. When a person with alcohol addiction suddenly stops drinking and the effects of alcohol wear off, they may begin to feel some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, such as:

  • Head and Body Aches
  • Nausea
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia

It is incredibly dangerous to suddenly stop drinking “cold turkey,” and some withdrawal symptoms can even be life-threatening. When you use a medically assisted treatment center for removing toxins, a medical staff administers medications, like Librium, to lower your anxiety and minimize your risk of seizure. Their medications can ease withdrawal symptoms of alcohol abuse while they monitor your vitals and keep you safe.

At Opus Health, we specialize in residential detoxification and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), psychological & psychiatric care. We ensure each patient in our care has the chance to see a full recovery from beginning to long-term sobriety. Visit us if you want to get rid of alcohol addiction and start detox. 

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