Many teens approach alcohol consumption with the same feelings of invincibility with which they move through life. A night of drinking with friends may start out as fun, but it can easily end in disaster. Although teens often fail to realize it, alcohol poisoning can result from this overindulgence and lead to serious injury or even death.
Alcohol poisoning occurs when a drinker takes in large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time, reports KidsHealth. When the body is filled with more alcohol than it can process, it becomes poisoned by the excessive quantity. While drinkers of any age or size can experience alcohol poisoning, teens are more prone to suffering alcohol poisoning because of their size and relatively limited alcohol consumption experience.
Many teens experience alcohol poisoning as a result of binge drinking. This activity calls for drinking large amounts in a short time. While most parents would like to think that binge drinking is a rarity among teens, the behavior is actually quite common. As WebMD reports, nearly two-thirds of all high school students who reported drinking alcohol said that they had engaged in binge drinking at one point or another.
When a teen begins to experience alcohol poisoning, he will likely first vomit. This vomiting is the body’s way of trying to remove some of the alcohol from its system, reports KidsHealth. In some cases, the body is successful in its attempt, while in others the vomiting in and of itself poses a risk to the child, as teens who vomit while asleep could potentially aspirate their vomit and choke.
If the body is not able to rid itself of a substantial amount of alcohol through vomiting, or if the teen vomits and then continues to drink, the alcohol poisoning will continue to progress. As the teen’s body becomes more and more poisoned by the alcohol flooding his system, he will likely become sleepy, lose consciousness, experience difficulty breathing, suffer a blood sugar slump, experience a seizure or even, in some cases, cease breathing all together and die.
Alcohol Poisoning Response
While the best thing to do for a victim of alcohol poisoning is seek immediate medical attention, many teens are unwilling to do this, for fear that they will get into trouble. If teens suspect that their friend may have had too much to drink, but are unwilling to notify authorities, they should turn the sufferer onto his side and prop him up to reduce the likelihood that he vomits and chokes on this vomit. They should also try to get the victim to drink water and remain with him, monitoring him to ensure that his breathing and heart rate remain regular and that he doesn’t suffer from a seizure.