According to America’s Health Rankings’ Annual Report1, nearly 20% of Californians reported situations in which they drank alcohol excessively. Excessive drinking can and often does lead to alcohol poisoning, and eventually to an alcohol use disorder. But what’s the difference between alcohol poisoning and an alcohol use disorder? Clear Life Recovery, a premier alcohol treatment center Costa Mesa, California, has the answer.
Alcohol Poisoning: What Is It And How Does It Happen?
Alcohol poisoning, or alcohol overdose, occurs when you have so much alcohol in your bloodstream, your brain begins to stop controlling life-supporting functions. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism2, when you’re suffering from alcohol poisoning, your breathing, temperature control, and heart rate no longer work effectively. You can suffer from mental confusion, vomit excessively, have convulsions, and even lose consciousness. Alcohol poisoning can also lead to permanent brain damage, and sadly, death.
When you drink large quantities of alcohol, your body’s ability to clear the alcohol from your bloodstream is impaired. This prevents your brain from functioning as it should, even to the point of keeping you alive. Alcohol poisoning is often seen in those who drink too much alcohol too quickly a fashion. It also commonly occurs in those who binge drink.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)3 defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking. In this pattern, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises to 0.08 grams or above. This often happens when men drink more than five alcoholic drinks and women drink more than four alcoholic beverages in about two hours.
Your BAC can continue to rise even after you’ve stopped drinking. And that’s why the risk of alcohol poisoning is so substantial. As your BAC continues to increase, so do the dangers of alcohol poisoning. One dangerous effect of alcohol poisoning is choking on your vomit. The alcohol prevents your brain from controlling your gag reflex. If you drink to the point of passing out, you may choke and die from a lack of oxygen. And, there is still the very likely possibility of long-term brain damage.
And while the CDC claims that most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent, research suggests4 that binge drinking is sometimes part of a more significant problem: alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol Use Disorder: The Cravings Continue
Alcohol use disorder is potentially fatal, as well. Alcohol use disorders change the chemistry of your brain. As your body continues to crave alcohol, it also learns how to ‘tolerate’ more and more. This dysfunctional symbiotic relationship between craving and tolerance leads you to depend more and more on consuming alcohol. This also means you lose control over your consumption of alcohol and put yourself at risk for significant physical problems.
According to the NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine5, alcohol use disorder is an umbrella diagnosis that covers several different problems that come with drinking. Those problems include binge drinking, alcohol abuse (problem drinking without addiction), and alcoholism (chronic compulsivity to consume alcohol).
Alcohol use disorder can cause short- and long-term health problems. These include irreversible liver disease, pancreatitis, encephalopathy (brain dysfunction), nerve damage, and even death. Long-term overuse of alcohol can also increase the risks of certain cancers. In pregnant women, alcohol use disorders can cause fetal alcohol syndrome and birth defects in their children.
Alcohol use disorders also profoundly impact your social and economic stability. Overuse and abuse can lead you to make poor decisions with lowered inhibitions and concern for interpersonal relationships. If you suffer from alcohol use disorder, you may lose your job, your relationships, and even your life.
Clear Life Recovery: Alcohol Treatment Center Costa Mesa That Cares
Clear Life Recovery Alcohol Treatment Center Costa Mesa is a full-service addiction rehabilitation center. The experienced staff meets you where you are and wants to help you achieve long-term and lifelong recovery.
With holistic detox, residential programs, and sober living aftercare planning, Clear Life Recovery will walk alongside you as you gain your independence from alcohol. You shouldn’t have to worry about drinking so much you may lose your life. Clear Life Recovery knows how to help you take a different path. Call us today; we’re waiting to help!