In most cases, a drunken night will end with only a hangover. However, the casual approach to drinking alcohol in our society can make it easy to downplay the effects of drinking too much. One of the potential dangers of drinking too much is passing out. If a person passes out from drinking too much alcohol, it is a symptom of alcohol poisoning and can be very dangerous.

Passing Out From Alcohol Intoxication: Why It’s No Laughing Matter

According to NIAAA, alcohol overdose does not merely mean that a person is just too drunk. Alcohol poisoning occurs when the level of intoxication interferes with essential physiological functions that keep a person alive. According to the CDC, an average of six people die each day from alcohol poisoning in the United States.

Why Do People Pass Out from Drinking Alcohol?

The main effect of alcohol is sedation. Alcohol works as a depressant. This means that most of the effects of alcohol are on the central nervous system of the body. The central nervous system consists of your spinal cord and your brain. When you understand the arrangement of the body that is affected the most by the consumption of alcohol, it is easier to understand why people who have been drinking have more difficulty making the right decisions and may even have trouble staying alert.

When a person first starts drinking, they may feel stimulated. The reason for this is because alcohol will first cause the brain to release dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that may induce good feelings. As you consume more alcohol, the more adenosine will build up in the body. Adenosine is a chemical that can make you feel tired.

Additionally, alcohol affects neurotransmitters, such as glutamate. Glutamate helps govern brain function. When you drink enough alcohol, the depressant effects may reduce your heart rate and breathing. This is when intoxication might become life-threatening.

When to Get Help for Someone that Passes Out after Drinking

If you are out with your friends and one of them passes out, there are a few things that you should do. If they are easy to wake up, they are likely okay and will be able to sleep off the effects of the alcohol. It is still a good idea to monitor the person to make sure that they continue to breathe and that their heart rate does not slow down significantly.

If your friend cannot be woken up quickly, they could be unconscious and at risk for possibly dying if they do not get proper medical attention. Try pinching their earlobe or rubbing their chest with your knuckles. If this does not wake them up, you need to call 911 or get them to an emergency room as quickly as possible.

Passing out from drinking is not something to mess around with. You should make sure that you get your friend the help that they need as soon as possible. Even if someone has not passed out, there are other signs of being aware of when it comes to alcohol poisoning. This includes:

  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Low body temperature
  • Pale skin or a blue tinge to the skin
  • Vomiting
  • Slowed breathing

These are all signs that your friend needs to stop drinking or if it is you, that you need to stop drinking and get some help. It is essential to make sure that you are not afraid to call 911 for anyone that you fear may have had too much too drink. Most states have laws that will protect you from getting into trouble should you need to call someone for help regarding an alcohol overdose.

Tips to Prevent Passing Out

When it comes to preventing passing out from alcohol, the best thing that you can do is to limit the amounts you are drinking. If you are planning to drink heavily for an extended period, make sure that you are pacing yourself throughout the night or day. This can prevent your blood alcohol levels from going up too quickly. To avoid a blackout, you should:

  • Eat before consuming alcohol
  • Drink slowly
  • Avoid drinking games
  • Avoid shots
  • If you are drinking for a long time, eat more food with your alcohol
  • Drink water

One good rule of thumb to follow when you are drinking alcohol is only to consume a single drink per hour, and for every alcoholic beverage you consume, follow it with a glass of water.

Drinking responsibly can be an excellent way to enjoy the company of others. If you take the above steps, you are more likely to avoid passing out and remembering everything from the evening. Drinking too much too quickly is quite dangerous for many reasons. Both the short term and long term effects of excessive drinking can cause many life long complications and possibly early death.



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