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What’s the Difference Between Alcohol Poisoning and Being Drunk?

an individual with potential alcohol poisoning sits with their head in their hands

Alcohol poisoning is a serious and dangerous condition that occurs when someone consumes large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age or level of drinking experience. If you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning, acting quickly and getting them the help they need is crucial.

If you or a loved one needs LGBTQ+-focused help for alcohol addiction, contact Pride Institute today. Call 888.408.1625 or reach out to us online to learn how our alcohol addiction treatment program helps people achieve lasting recovery and avoid the serious health risks of long-term alcohol consumption.

What Is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when an individual consumes excessive amounts of alcohol over a short period of time. It is also known as acute alcohol intoxication or alcohol overdose. While alcohol is a legal and commonly consumed substance, it can have dangerous effects on the body when consumed in large quantities.

The symptoms of alcohol poisoning can vary depending on a person’s individual tolerance and how much alcohol they have consumed. However, common signs and symptoms include:

  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness or inability to wake up
  • Slow heart rate
  • Irregular breathing

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms after consuming alcohol, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately. Ignoring the symptoms of alcohol poisoning can lead to serious complications such as brain damage, respiratory failure, and even death.

What’s the Difference Between Alcohol Poisoning and Being Drunk?

Alcohol poisoning and being drunk may seem similar as they both involve the consumption of alcohol. However, some key differences between them should be highlighted. These differences include:

  • Amount of alcohol consumed – Alcohol poisoning occurs when an individual consumes a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. On the other hand, being drunk can occur with different levels of alcohol consumption depending on factors such as tolerance and body weight.
  • Rate of consumption – Alcohol poisoning is often a result of rapid and excessive consumption of alcohol, whereas being drunk can occur over a longer period of time.
  • Severity of symptoms – The symptoms experienced in cases of alcohol poisoning are typically more severe and life-threatening than those experienced when being drunk. This is due to the toxic levels of alcohol in the body during alcohol poisoning.
  • Level of impairment – Being drunk can lead to impaired judgment and coordination, but individuals can still function to some extent. In cases of alcohol poisoning, the individual is often unable to function or make rational decisions due to the severity of their symptoms.
  • Need for treatment – Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment, while being drunk may not require any medical intervention unless the individual is at risk of harm or injury.

It’s important to understand these differences in order to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning and seek immediate medical attention if necessary.

What to Do If Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning

If someone you know has alcohol poisoning, here are some steps you can take to help them:

  1. Call for medical assistance immediately. Do not hesitate to call 911 or your local emergency number.
  1. While waiting for help to arrive, make sure the person is lying on their side in case they vomit. This will prevent them from choking on their vomit.
  1. Keep the person awake and alert if possible. If they are unconscious, check their pulse and breathing regularly.
  1. If the person is responsive, try to keep them hydrated by giving them sips of water or an electrolyte drink.
  1. Stay with the person until help arrives and provide any necessary information to medical professionals.

When faced with a situation of alcohol poisoning, it is just as important to know what not to do. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Do not leave the person alone, especially if they are unconscious. They may choke on their vomit or stop breathing.
  • Do not try to make them sober up by giving them coffee, cold showers, or having them walk around. These will not reverse the effects of alcohol poisoning and can actually make it worse.
  • Do not try to make them vomit. This can also be dangerous as they may inhale the vomit into their lungs.
  • Do not give them any medication or alcohol, as it can interact with the alcohol already in their system and worsen the situation.

The best way to prevent alcohol poisoning is to avoid drinking too much in the first place. It is important to know your limits and drink responsibly. If you or a loved one is struggling to limit excessive drinking, reaching out for professional help is vital.

Find an LGBTQ+ Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program at Pride Institute

Pride Institute’s LGBTQ+ alcohol addiction treatment program provides a comfortable and inclusive space for individuals to address their addiction and begin their journey toward recovery. With a specialized program, experienced staff, and ongoing support, we are committed to helping LGBTQ+ individuals achieve long-lasting sobriety and overall well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, consider reaching out to Pride Institute for tailored and compassionate care. Call 888.408.1625 or connect with us online to learn more.