Unit 4 Understanding and Avoiding Hazardous Substances Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc. 276 Hangover Symptoms and Alcohol Poisoning Drinking too much in a short period of time can cause a hangover or even alcohol poisoning, which can be life threatening. The effects of drinking alcohol can continue in the body—even up to 24 hours—after a person stops drinking. The term hangover describes the negative symptoms caused by drinking large amounts of alcohol in one occasion. Examples of hangover symptoms include the following: • tiredness, headaches, and muscle aches • nausea and vomiting • dizziness and a feeling that the room is spinning • increased sensitivity to light and sound • difficulty sleeping • thirst • shakiness • depression, anxiety, and irritability • difficulty concentrating Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency that occurs when a large amount of alcohol enters the bloodstream in a short period of time. Alcohol poisoning can result in loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, low body temperature, and difficulty breathing. Extreme levels of alcohol consumption can lead to permanent brain damage and death. Given the serious consequences of alcohol poisoning, you should know the danger signs (Figure 9.5). Call 911 immediately if you suspect a person is experiencing alcohol poisoning. Long-Term Health Effects Young people who start drinking face serious lifelong health consequences. Alcohol is distributed throughout the entire body, so it affects every single organ and body system. Therefore, regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol is associated with serious and even life-threatening consequences. Signs of Alcohol Poisoning Slow or irregular breathing Hypothermia (low body temperature, bluish skin color, and paleness) Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or unconsciousness Vomiting and seizures Figure 9.5 People who have alcohol poisoning may experience life-threatening consequences that require immediate medical attention.