Alcohol is a substance that when introduced into a teen’s system has the propensity to alter how one’s body functions.
Excessive alcohol consumption can have many different effects on an adolescent’s body. Young people notoriously test limits and boundaries but testing the tolerance of alcohol consumption can be dangerous and lead to alcohol poisoning. That said, not every teen that drinks alcohol will experience alcohol poisoning. Due to the fact that each teen is different, there is no exact minimum amount of alcohol that can cause alcohol poisoning in a teenager. While many believe that binge drinking is the cause of alcohol poisoning, this is not always the case. Factors such as a teen’s weight, age, size, how fast a teen drinks, other food intake from the day and a teen’s general health all weigh into the reasoning for the possible occurrence of alcohol poisoning.
There are several symptoms that can be exhibited in a teen with alcohol poisoning. Some of the common symptoms include any combination of the following:
- Excessive confusion
- Loss of coordination
- Slow breathing
- Unnatural coloring: visible blue-tinged or pale skin
- Hypothermia (low body temperature)
- Passing out
- Stupor: when a teen is conscious but unresponsive
It is important to note that every young person is different, and the above are merely examples. If there is any concern your teen may be experiencing alcohol poisoning it is essential to get help immediately.
There are several common misconceptions that people have in regards to helping a young person get over alcohol poisoning, but unfortunately these can lead to more severe consequences. It is always best to get professional help dealing with serious conditions such as alcohol poisoning when trying to help a teen, as alcohol poisoning can be resolved, if treated properly. Here are some tips that can help you support your teen in a productive way while you wait for the help of a professional:
- Try to keep your teen awake, and sitting up, if possible.
- See if they are able to drink any water, helping them to rehydrate.
- If they are unable to stay awake, and/or sit up, make sure to lay them on their side to avoid choking on vomit.
- Continuously check to make sure they are breathing properly.
- Keep them warm.
- Stay with them and do not leave them alone.
- Keep track of their symptoms so you are able to communicate pertinent information to the medical responders.
When in doubt, do not hesitate to call 911 or 999 (for an ambulance) for further immediate assistance.
If left untreated the effects of alcohol poisoning can be incredibly dangerous. There are a number of short and long-term consequences that can result from alcohol poisoning if left untreated. Some of them include permanent brain damage, irregular breathing, hypoglycemia, hypothermia, abnormal heartbeat and in the most severe of situations, death. In addition to the possible manifestation of unwanted consequences from alcohol poisoning, a teen increases one’s risk of developing an alcohol dependency, as well as a greater chance for a repeated episode of alcohol poisoning.
When the young person is in the hands of a medical professional, several precautions and treatment options can occur, depending on the teenager’s specific needs. Some will require interventions to assist with breathing; some will need immediate hydration; some will need their stomachs pumped to quickly remove the toxins from their body. All of these measures can help a teen avoid the possible life-threatening consequence of alcohol poisoning.
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