Teens experiencing alcohol poisoning are on the rise. Alcohol poisoning usually results from binge drinking and can lead to death if left untreated. Understanding the signs and symptoms is critical. Parents who have children in their late teens should be aware of alcohol poisoning.
What Is Teen Alcohol Poisoning?
Teen alcohol poisoning is a severe medical emergency. It occurs when someone consumes a large amount of alcohol in a short period. The more they drink, the higher their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is determined by several factors, including body type, weight, and gender. Alcohol overdose can also be caused by drinking on an empty stomach or binge drinking over several hours.
Alcohol poisoning can cause the body to shut down and quit functioning. When a person consumes too much alcohol at once, their blood alcohol level can exceed 0.4%. At this level, a person can experience difficulty breathing, become comatose, or die from suffocation due to vomiting while unconscious.
Risks of Teen Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol poisoning occurs when someone drinks too much alcohol in a short time. If alcohol is consumed quickly, the body can’t process it fast enough, and the person becomes drunk. Their blood-alcohol level is higher than their liver can handle. Eventually, this can cause damage to other organs, including the brain and heart.
Other potential causes of teen alcohol poisoning include the following:
- Alcohol can cause an insufficient supply of oxygen to reach vital organs such as the brain, heart, and lungs, leading to organ failure or brain damage. Alcohol also depresses a person’s gag reflex, making them more likely to choke on their vomit and die.
- Alcohol dilates blood vessels and slows breathing and heart rate. This may lead someone experiencing alcohol poisoning to develop hypothermia because their body cannot regulate its temperature correctly.
- Alcohol poisoning can also result in coma and even death due to a lack of oxygen reaching the organs. It can cause fatal injury due to coordination problems or loss of consciousness caused by excessive amounts of alcohol.
What Happens During an Episode of Alcohol Poisoning?
Drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short time can overwhelm the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol. The amount of alcohol in a teen’s bloodstream rises to dangerous levels and interferes with their central nervous system, regulating involuntary heart rate, body temperature, and breathing.
A teen’s breathing can slow down or stop, their heart rate can also slow down or stop, and their body temperature can drop dangerously low.
The Cost of Alcohol Poisoning
A teen suffering from alcohol poisoning is at risk of suffering seizures, coma, and even death. As the depressed central nervous system shuts down, it can lead to coma or death. Or, if the breathing and gag reflexes slow down or stop working, the teen can stop breathing and choke on their vomit. A teen with alcohol poisoning may suffer a heart attack or brain damage.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Every second counts when it comes to receiving medical attention. In some cases, waiting even an hour can lead to permanent brain damage or death from hypothermia, choking on vomit, or heart problems caused by drinking too much too quickly.
You should seek help if you notice these symptoms:
- Someone passes out and cannot wake up
- Someone is breathing less than eight times per minute or taking more than 10 seconds between breaths
- Someone has a seizure
- Someone’s skin is pale or blueish
- Someone has a low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Slow breathing (less than ten breaths per minute)
- Vomits while sleeping or passed out and doesn’t wake up when vomiting, increasing the risk of choking
Reasons Why More Teens Are Experiencing Alcohol Poisoning
There are several reasons why more teens today experience alcohol poisoning. The following are four reasons why parents should be concerned about teen alcohol poisoning:
- Drinking problem among teens: According to a recent report, the rate of drinking has dropped over the last decade. However, this does not mean that there are fewer underage drinkers. A recent survey reported that “19% of young people aged 12 to 20 years reported drinking alcohol.”
- The party culture: Many high school and college students consider binge drinking part of the “party culture.” While some students may drink once or twice, others may drink every weekend. A recent study found that “4.2 million young people reported binge drinking at least once in the past month.”
- More money, more access to liquor: Teens who have jobs or a steady income may be able to buy more alcohol. Ease of access to liquor at home also increases the risk that teens will consume more than their bodies can handle.
Alcohol poisoning, also called acute alcohol poisoning (AAP), is extremely dangerous. AAP causes severe complications and can lead to death. If left untreated, it can progress into severe complications and life-threatening situations. For teenagers, it can interfere with brain development. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that individuals who have a history of drinking too much are prone to alcohol poisoning. Understanding the signs is essential. We provide a comprehensive program to assist teens in regaining their lives and maintaining lasting recovery. You don’t want to see your child struggle with alcohol or drugs, and while it can be challenging to know how to handle things., we can help. We believe that proper treatment is the key. If your teen is using alcohol or other substances, the time to get help is today. Find out more by contacting our admissions team at (888) 966-8604.