Alcohol overdose is a potentially life-threatening condition that must be taken seriously and requires emergency medical attention.
However, if caught in time and properly addressed, alcohol poisoning can be treated and even reversed.
Treatment for alcohol poisoning can range between individuals, depending on what they need.
Alcohol overdose is common in people who engage in binge drinking/heavy drinking or have developed an addiction to alcohol.
Additionally, people who engage in drinking games or drink beverages with a higher alcohol content may be more at risk of alcohol poisoning.
You can avoid alcohol poisoning by drinking alcohol responsibly or abstaining from alcohol consumption completely.
Alcohol Overdose Treatment Before Emergency Services Arrive
If you suspect you or someone around you is experiencing or nearing an alcohol overdose, be sure to call emergency services right away, as this is a medical emergency.
From there, there are actually some treatments you can do while you wait for the ambulance to arrive.
Keep The Person Awake
First and foremost, it is essential to keep the person who has overdosed on alcohol awake. This is because when a person drinks, blood alcohol levels can rise even after they’ve stopped actively drinking, as the stomach may still contain alcohol.
If you fall asleep while experiencing alcohol poisoning, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can become even higher and cause loss of consciousness (passing out).
This can lead to serious complications like brain damage or death.
Keep The Person In A Sitting Position
Another preventative measure you can take is to keep the person who has alcohol poisoning in a sitting position.
Alcohol can irritate the stomach, causing vomiting and reducing your gag reflex. As a result, it is common for people to choke on their own vomit when they have overdosed on alcohol.
Keeping them in a sitting position lessens this risk. If they are laying down and you cannot get them to sit up, make sure to turn them on their side to prevent choking.
Give Them Water
Lastly, while waiting for emergency services to arrive, you can give the person who has overdosed some water.
Alcohol is extremely dehydrating which is exacerbated by higher levels of alcohol intoxication and vomiting.
Drinking water can help reduce some of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning such as dizziness and shakiness.
Alcohol Overdose Treatment In A Hospital Setting
Once emergency services arrive, and the person with alcohol poisoning is taken to healthcare professionals, they will receive care that can save their life.
Intravenous IV Fluids
Though drinking water can be helpful in restoring hydration, intravenous IV fluids are even more beneficial.
When administered at a hospital, fluids can directly enter the bloodstream, making the effects of the fluid much more efficient and powerful.
Another treatment that may be used in a hospital setting for alcohol poisoning is intubation. Intubation is a procedure that involves the placement of a tube in the nose or mouth and down the airway to keep it open.
This procedure is important, because alcohol overdose can slow down your breathing, preventing you from getting enough oxygen.
Additionally, it’s possible to choke on your own vomit when experiencing alcohol poisoning, so intubation keeps the airway clear.
There is a wide variety of medications that may be administered in the hospital for alcohol overdose based on the amount of alcohol consumed.
These may include alcohol overdose antidotes like metadoxine or fomepizole to help remove alcohol from the blood or medications to restore certain nutrients or bodily functions.
This can include:
- raising your body temperature, since the dangers of drinking too much include severely low body temperature
- lowering your heart rate to prevent cardiac arrest
- restoring blood sugar/glucose levels (heavy drinking can lead to hypoglycemia)
Lastly, hospitals will sometimes pump your stomach when you have overdosed on alcohol. This is usually the procedure people think of when they think about alcohol overdose treatment, though it’s not quite as common any more.
In stomach pumping, a sort of tube or suction device is used to remove the contents of the stomach which can reduce the effects of alcohol.
Treatment Options For Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol overdose can sometimes be the result of alcohol use disorder, which also requires treatment.
Bedrock Recovery Center, located in Canton, MA, offers effective treatments for alcohol abuse recovery. It is highly rated and well-accredited, making it an excellent choice for you or your loved one.
We offer treatment tailored to the individual, so whatever your needs are, we can help. Treatment for alcohol abuse can include detoxification, inpatient programs, and medication-assisted treatment.
You can also find support groups, therapy options, and recovery education at Bedrock.
Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recover Center
For help with recovering from substance abuse, including alcohol addiction, don’t hesitate to call our helpline at Bedrock Recovery Center today.
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.