Poisoning from ingestion and overdose of ethanol (alcohol). It is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine. It is distributed uniformly to all organ systems, including the placenta if present. Most alcohol is metabolized in the liver.
As the blood level rises, the patient’s level of consciousness declines, that eventually ends in coma. Death is caused by aspiration or respiratory depression.
Physiologic Effects and Blood Alcohol Levels include:
- Blood Alcohol Concentration (mg/dL) Effects
- 20–50 Diminished fine motor control
- 50–100 Impaired judgment; impaired coordination
- 100–150 Difficulty with gait and balance
- 150–250 Lethargy; difficulty sitting upright without assistance
- 300 Coma in the novice drinker
- 400 Respiratory depression
There is a rapid and respectful screening test for alcoholism using the four CAGE questions presented as:
- Have you ever felt the need to Cut down on your drinking?
- Have you ever felt Annoyed by the criticism of your drinking habits?
- Have you ever felt Guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever felt the need to drink an Eye opener in the morning?
- If there are positive answers to two or more of these questions, it is now sufficient enough to identify those will need more intensive evaluation.
- A positive answer to the question “Have you ever had a drinking problem?” plus an evidence of alcohol consumption in the last 24 hours gives greater than 90% sensitivity and specificity as a screening tool for identifying alcoholism.
Symptoms of alcohol overdose
- Unsteady gait.
- Slurred speech
- Slowed respirations
Before Calling Emergency determine the following information:
i)The patient’s age, weight, and condition
ii)The name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)
iii)The time it was swallowed
iv)The amount of drug swallowed
Call Emergency lines
911, 999, 112
- Maintain an open airway at all time and give respiratory support where needed
- If you are able to rouse the patient, move him/her to a comfortable place to sleep off the effects.
- Make sure the patient is free from falls and avoid hazards as he/ she has an unsteady gait.
- Put him in recovery position to avoid aspiration of vomitus.
- If the patient is semi-conscious or unconscious, ask for emergency assistance or call for help.