Alcohol poisoning causes more than 2,200 deaths annually in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states. Fatalities are more common among men, and approximately 75 percent of alcohol poisoning deaths involve adults between ages 35 and 64.
A binge involves drinking five or more alcoholic beverages for men and four or more beverages for women, according to the CDC. More than 38 million American adults admit to drinking an average of eight beverages on a single occasion. Consuming high amounts of alcohol over a short time period interferes with vital brain functions that regulate the body, including heart rate, breathing and temperature.
An extremely high blood alcohol content, or BAC, also slows down the bodys ability to circulate alcohol out of the system, increasing the effects of impairment, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains. In the 0.06 to 0.15 BAC range, most individuals experience impaired speech, coordination, memory and attention, making driving especially dangerous. At the same time, they may feel seemingly beneficial effects, such as relaxation, leading to further alcohol consumption. Although factors such as age, gender, ethnicity and food consumption influence the rate of alcohol poisoning, a BAC of 0.31 or higher is generally considered life-threatening and may lead to loss of consciousness. Since alcohol poisoning relaxes automatic responses, including gag reflexes, an unconscious person is in danger of vomiting, choking and succumbing to asphyxiation.