Alcohol Overdose and Liver Damage

Alcohol Overdose and Liver Damage

Alcohol overdose, also known as alcohol poisoning, occurs when a person drinks past the point of intoxication and there is more alcohol present in the body than it can metabolize. An overdose can easily occur with inexperienced drinkers but is also possible with alcoholics. It can often be the result of binge drinking with the intention of becoming intoxicated, especially in young people attending parties or engaging in drinking games. The risk of overdose can be increased when alcohol is combined with other drugs, particularly opiates and sedatives. Alcohol overdose can cause damage to the heart, liver and other organs and can possibly lead to a coma or death.

Liver damage related to alcohol is often associated with long-term chronic use. Alcoholics may drink to the point of alcohol overdose, but are often more likely to experience liver damage as a result of years of heavy, consistent drinking.

Signs of Alcohol Overdose

There are several signs that may indicate an alcohol overdose, including the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Slow, shallow or irregular breathing
  • Pale skin
  • Decreased sensitivity to pain
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures

It is often difficult to distinguish an alcohol overdose from non-fatal intoxication. Passing out repeatedly can be considered a warning sign of alcohol overdose

Alcoholism and Liver Disease

Chronic alcoholism can often lead to liver disease. Liver disease commonly progresses through three stages, including the following:

  • Fatty liver disease – Fatty liver disease is the first stage and causes an increase in fat in the cells of the liver. Fatty liver disease often has mild symptoms and may be reversible.
  • Alcoholic hepatitis – Alcoholic hepatitis can cause swelling of and damage to the liver. This stage may or may not be reversible, depending on severity. Symptoms may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and jaundice. In the worst cases, it can lead to liver failure and death.
  • Alcoholic cirrhosis – The final stage of alcohol related liver disease, cirrhosis is a scarring of the soft tissues of the liver. The symptoms are often similar to alcoholic hepatitis. Cirrhosis is not reversible and can lead to liver failure and death.

Alcohol, Acetaminophen and Liver Damage

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in many pain medications and is also often combined with opioid painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. Acetaminophen overdose is a leading cause of acute liver failure. Chronic alcohol abuse can increase a person’s chance of liver damage due to an acetaminophen overdose.

Finding Treatment for Alcoholism

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have about alcohol overdose and liver damage and help you find the best treatment options available. Please call now.