If someone is showing signs of an alcohol overdose, you should:

A. Lay the person flat on his or her back.

B. Get the person something to eat right away.

C. Both a and b.

D. Neither a or b.

The correct answer is D. Neither a or b.

Fuente: pixabay.com

Alcohol is a toxic substance so that when we drink an alcoholic beverage, we put pressure on our liver which works to detoxify the alcohol.

This organ though can only detoxify a certain amount at a time so if a person ingests too much alcohol too quickly, they can overwhelm the liver’s ability and can even die from alcoholic poisoning. This is a particular risk when people binge drink because they drink too much in a short space of time.

If a person is showing signs of alcohol overdose then it is important to not leave them alone. Also, you should make sure they are lying on their side and not their back. This helps to stop choking if the person vomits.

You should also not give the individual anything to drink or any food to eat. It is important to observe the person and be sure that they are okay. You may need to call for emergency help and they may need to be transported to a hospital for treatment.

The effects of alcohol on the body

When you drink alcohol the molecules are able to pass into the brain where they bind with GABA receptors and glutamate receptors.

These receptors are found on the actual nerve cells and are important in allowing messages to move into and through nerve cells. The effect of the binding of alcohol to the receptors is that it interferes with how the nerve cells transmit messages.

The impact of alcoholic beverages on nerve cells in the brain is what causes the behavior we associate with a person who becomes intoxicated. It also affects serotonin and dopamine in other parts of the brain and impacts the memory centers.

While a person may feel relaxed and happy for a short while, the long-term consequences of alcohol abuse on the brain can be severe and can lead to early onset dementia. Drinking too much alcohol too quickly is also very harmful.

Alcohol has many negative effects on the body especially over the long term and if a person drinks excessive amounts. One of the obvious detrimental impacts of long-term drinking is damage to the liver in the form of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The use of various alcoholic drinks, though, has also been linked to a higher risk of certain types of cancer including cancers of the pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.

Drinking alcoholic beverages is also linked with a greater risk of developing breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Furthermore, abusing alcohol can also cause problems with the heart.  In summary, drinking too much over a long period of time can have a very adverse impact on a person’s health.

How the liver processes alcohol

The liver is the main organ of the body involved in metabolic processes and in detoxification of harmful substances. This is why as much as 90% of the alcohol that a person consumes passes through the liver where it is chemically modified to eventually form harmless substances.

The first step that occurs in the hepatic cells is that enzymes change the alcohol into acetaldehyde. This is then acted on by other enzymes in the liver and converted into acetate which is eventually degraded to form harmless water and carbon dioxide in the body.

The liver can only metabolize a certain amount of alcohol in a given time and the problem is that people may drink and take in alcoholic beverages at a faster rate than it can be metabolized. This can then lead to the accumulation of alcohol and even overdose.

The dangers of overdose

Overdosing on alcohol is dangerous because it can lead to accidents including motor vehicle accidents, falls and general loss of awareness of your surroundings, which makes you vulnerable. Besides accidents, alcohol poisoning can kill you.

People may choke on their vomit and may fall into unconsciousness as their breathing and heartbeat slow down. Drinking too much alcohol can affect your heart and damage your brain.

Binge drinking is particularly hazardous and unfortunately is quite common among college students, where individuals are pressured to drink a large amount in a short period of time.

This overwhelms the liver which has the function of detoxifying the alcohol for the body. People risk doing permanent damage when they drink too much, and they can even die from one episode of binge drinking.

When to seek help

There are signs that you can look for if you have a drunk friend that you are concerned about. A person who is unconscious and does not respond to you when you shake them or speak to them probably needs assistance.

It is essential that you do not leave the drunk individual unattended and watch them carefully to see how they look and if they develop any of these ominous symptoms.

Also be sure that the person is lying on their side and not on their back. This way they will be unlikely to choke if they do vomit.

It is also not a good sign if they vomit yet do not wake up. They may also have seizures and have trouble breathing. These are all warnings that the person is probably in serious trouble.

It is always better to err on the side of caution and call for help if you are concerned about a friend who has possibly drunk too much alcohol. Remember, people do die from alcohol poisoning, particularly if they have been binge drinking.

References

  1. SM Paul (2006). Alcohol-sensitive GABA receptors and alcohol antagonists. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  2. GE Vaillant, M Keller (2018). Alcohol consumption. Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica.
  3. C Cheng, CL Huang, CJ Tsai, PH Chou, CC Lin (2017). Alcohol-related dementia: a systemic review of epidemiological studies. Psychosomatics.
  4. The University of Texas at Austin (2018). Alcohol overdose. What should you do? Retrieved from utexas.edu
  5. N Banerjee (2014). Neurotransmitters in alcoholism: A review of neurobiological and genetic studies. Indian journal of human genetics.

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