Severe complications can result from alcohol poisoning, including:
Jul. 23, 2013
- Choking. Alcohol may cause vomiting. Because it depresses your gag reflex, this increases the risk of choking on vomit if you've passed out.
- Stopping breathing. Accidentally inhaling vomit into your lungs can lead to a dangerous or fatal interruption of breathing (asphyxiation).
- Severe dehydration. Vomiting can result in severe dehydration, leading to dangerously low blood pressure and fast heart rate.
- Seizures. Your blood sugar level may drop low enough to cause seizures.
- Hypothermia. Your body temperature may drop so low that it leads to cardiac arrest.
- Brain damage. Heavy drinking may cause irreversible brain damage.
- Death. Any of the issues above can lead to death.
- Vacca VM, et al. Alcohol poisoning. Nursing. 2013;43:14.
- Tonisson M, et al. Acute alcohol intoxication characteristics in children. Alcohol and Alcoholism. 2013;48:390.
- Langhan ML. Acute alcohol intoxication in adolescents: Frequency of respiratory depression. Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2013;44:1063.
- Van Zanten E, et al. Gender, age and educational level attribute to blood alcohol concentration in hospitalized intoxicated adolescents: A cohort study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. In press. Accessed June 18, 2013.
- Alcohol. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/special_subjects/drug_use_and_dependence/alcohol.html. Accessed June 18, 2013.
- Alcohol. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/alcohol.html. Accessed June 18, 2013.
- Alcohol overdose: The dangers of drinking too much. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/AlcoholOverdoseFactsheet/Overdosefact.htm. Accessed June 18, 2013.
- A word about alcohol poisoning. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-poisoning. Accessed June 18, 2013.
- Cowan E, et al. Ethanol intoxication in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 18, 2013.
- Baum CR. Ethanol intoxication in children: Epidemiology, estimation of toxicity and toxic effects. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 18, 2013.
- Loukianova LL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 8, 2013.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 10, 2013.
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