Acute Alcoholism

Acute Alcoholism

According to acute alcoholism is a temporary deterioration in mental function, accompanied by lack of muscular coordination and paresis, induced by the rapid ingestion of alcoholic beverages.

Life long abuse of alcohol is often referred to as chronic abuse or chronic alcoholism.

This issue is fairly common among younger users of alcohol as they have yet to learn their limits when it comes to alcohol consumption. Here we will look at the variants of alcohol use as it pertains to acute use.

Often young or inexperienced drinkers will get together and have contests to see who can drink the most alcohol the quickest. Some examples of that are drinking directly from the spout on a keg or the practice of turning up a bottle of whiskey or other spirits and guzzling it as if it were lemonade! This dangerous practice can lead to coma or death.

The human liver is charged with the job of metabolizing toxins. The liver recognizes alcohol as a toxin and therefore begins to break it down for elimination from the body. This entire process takes a healthy liver nearly an hour and a half to process the equivalent of one drink.

That means that when a person takes in more alcohol in less time the liver is overwhelmed and cannot remove all of the alcohol from the system. This leads to an overload and extreme drunkenness.

Other examples of acute alcoholism would be your binge drinker. This person may abstain from any alcohol use for a long period of time and then go on a “bender”. Many times the long period of deprivation, usually self-imposed, causes the person to be in a hurry to feel drunk. This leads them to quickly consume large amounts of alcohol and thereby ending up in a state as mentioned above.

In both the cases above the person may not feel like they are overdoing it. The speed at which alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream and travels to the brain can vary from person to person. This has been described by some as feeling fine one minute then being overwhelmed just a short time later. You may have heard someone say they were fine until the ‘fresh air’ hit them.


The effects of acute alcoholism can be dangerous in other aspects as well. Before a person reaches the point of passing out they become disoriented and judgment is impaired. This goes far beyond just the loss of inhibitions, a person will lose the ability to read the signals coming from their own senses.

The danger comes when these people try to operate equipment like automobiles, food processors or even a knife used to make a sandwich. People have been known to do serious injury to themselves and not even know it until they wake up in a hospital.

The next stage in acute alcoholism will result in the person feeling sluggish or sleepy. They may simply fall from their chair or “pass out” where they stand. This is because the alcohol levels in their body have reached a critical point, shutting down brain function and in extreme situations even their lungs.

This is the time when death can ensue. If you see a friend collapsing while drinking you should seek medical attention immediately.

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