Acute Alcohol Intoxication
To explore Nursing Central - view these FREE monographs:
-- The first section of this topic is shown below --
DRG Category: 895
Mean LOS: 10.6 days
Description MEDICAL: Alcohol/Drug Abuse with Rehabilitation Therapy
Acute alcohol intoxication occurs when a person consumes large quantities of alcohol. In most states, legal intoxication is 80 mg/dL, or 0.08 g/dL. Acute alcohol intoxication leads to complex physiological interactions. Alcohol is a primary and continuous depressant of the central nervous system (CNS). The patient may seem stimulated initially because alcohol depresses inhibitory control mechanisms. Effects on the CNS include loss of memory, concentration, insight, and motor control. Advanced intoxication can produce general anesthesia, while chronic intoxication may lead to brain damage, memory loss, sleep disturbances, and psychoses. Respiratory effects also include apnea, decreased diaphragmatic excursion, diminished respiratory drive, impaired glottal reflexes, and vascular shunts in lung tissue. The risk of aspiration and pulmonary infection increases while respiratory depression and apnea occur.
The cardiovascular system becomes depressed, leading to depression of the vasomotor center in the brain and to hypotension. Conversely, in some individuals, intoxication causes the release of catecholamines from adrenal glands, which leads to hypertension. Intoxication depresses leukocyte movement into areas of inflammation, depresses platelet function, and leads to fibrinogen and clotting factor deficiency, thrombocytopenia, and decreased platelet function.
The effects on the gastrointestinal (GI) system include stimulation of gastric secretions, mucosal irritation, cessation of motor function of the gut, and delayed absorption. Pylorospasm and vomiting may occur.