Table of Contents
Drinking Rubbing Alcohol, Dangers, & Alcohol Abuse Treatment
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What Is Rubbing Alcohol?
Isopropanol or isopropyl alcohol is a clear, colorless liquid that is a major component of rubbing alcohol as well as regular household items such as cleaners, disinfectants, and hand sanitizers; it also can be found in pharmaceuticals.
Rubbing alcohol looks like water. Even small amounts are poisonous to children. It is also poisonous to adults, who sometimes substitute rubbing alcohol for alcoholism. Rubbing alcohol can also be toxic when inhaled. It should be used in a well-ventilated area. In addition, because it is flammable, it should always be kept away from open flame.
Isopropanol ingestion is the second most common alcohol ingestion following ethanol but is the most common toxic alcohol ingestion reported to the United States poison control centers each year.
In 2009, more than 20,000 cases were reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, with more than 80% of these cases being unintentional. Isopropanol has also classically been used as an ethanol substitute for the user to garner inebriation given its relative availability and low cost. Although typically used as an ethanol substitute, accidental exposures have been reported when large amounts of rubbing alcohol were used transdermally or children ingested it accidentally. 
Isopropyl Alcohol VS Rubbing Alcohol
The main difference between isopropyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol is the concentration. The concentration of isopropyl alcohol is 100%, while the concentration of rubbing alcohol is less because of the addition of water. Otherwise, the two liquids have similar properties. They are antibacterial and antiseptic.
Isopropanol, or isopropyl alcohol, is a clear, colorless liquid that emits an odor that resembles acetone. It is a commercially available product mainly is found as a 70% solution in rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizers. Unlike the other toxic alcohols, isopropanol rarely causes death and is associated with ketosis without acidosis. Treatment of isopropanol ingestions typically consists of supportive therapy. Ingestions are rarely lethal. 
What Is Rubbing Alcohol Used For?
People typically use rubbing alcohol at home as an antiseptic to clean cuts and scrapes, lowering the risk of infection. It may be part of an at-home first aid kit or medicine cabinet. If rubbing alcohol contains wintergreen or methyl salicylate, individuals may use it to help relieve muscle aches that are the result of exertion. An additional use involves disinfecting small objects in the home.
Can You Drink Rubbing Alcohol Variations?
Much like the other toxic alcohols, the absorption of isopropanol is rapid, with nearly 80% being absorbed within 30 minutes of ingestion. Approximately 80% of the absorbed isopropanol is metabolized by the liver through first-order kinetics and is broken down into acetone by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. Typically, blood levels of isopropanol peak between 30 minutes and 3 hours of ingestion, and isopropanol has a half-life of 3 to 7 hours.
When ethanol is co-ingested with isopropanol, the half-life of isopropanol is increased because ethanol has a higher affinity to alcohol dehydrogenase as compared to isopropanol. Acetone, however, has a half-life of 22 hours and is primarily excreted by the kidneys. A potentially lethal dose is 2 to 4 mL/kg, but case reports have noted survival in adults with higher reported levels.
What Happens If You Drink Rubbing Alcohol
Isopropanol ingestion is the second most common alcohol ingestion following ethanol but is the most common toxic alcohol ingestion reported to the United States poison control centers each year. In 2009, more than 20,000 cases were reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, with more than 80% of these cases being unintentional. Isopropanol has also classically been used as an ethanol substitute for the user to garner inebriation given its relative availability and low cost. Although typically used as an ethanol substitute, accidental exposures have been reported when large amounts of rubbing alcohol were used transdermally or children ingested it accidentally. 
Symptoms Of Drinking Rubbing Alcohol
Patients suspected of toxic alcohol ingestion in which the toxic alcohol is unknown should undergo routine blood testing to include a complete blood count, basic metabolic profile, transaminases, pregnancy status, serum or urine ketones, lactate, ethanol, and acetaminophen and salicylate concentrations. An electrocardiogram should be obtained on all toxicological patients. Following acute, unknown ingestion, toxic alcohol concentrations would be the best tests to perform but have limited availability in most hospitals because gas chromatography measures these concentrations with mass-spectroscopy confirmation.
Treatment For Rubbing Alcohol Poisoning
Treatment for rubbing alcohol ingestion is mainly supportive with intravenous hydration. Gastric emptying or activated charcoal administration is not recommended due to the known rapid absorption. Unlike the other toxic alcohols, alcohol dehydrogenase inhibitors should not be used because the metabolites are not associated with any acidosis or significant end-organ toxicity. Treatment with fomepizole would prolong the elimination of isopropanol and would result in extended periods of intoxication. When there is a concern for malnutrition secondary to chronic alcoholism, the physician should prescribe thiamine, folate, and a multi-vitamin.
Hemodialysis is generally not indicated for the removal of the toxin but could be considered if a patient has persistent hypotension, lactic acidosis, or a serum concentration of more than 500 mg/dL. Due to the rapid absorption of isopropanol, those patients who do not develop a coma within 6 hours of ingestion are unlikely to require extracorporeal removal of the toxin. Overall, the need for dialysis would be exceedingly rare. The patient should be monitored until clinical sobriety is achieved. 
We Level Up TX addiction treatment provides the needs of each patient that are specific and personalized, as we aim to provide comprehensive support for mental health, addiction, and dual diagnosis treatment.
Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of depression including:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – It is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – It is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.”
- Person-Centered Therapy – It is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Texas
Drinking alcohol and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.
Medication-Assisted Treatment Inpatient Rehab Texas
Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.
Alcohol Detox In Texas Inpatient Rehab
The first step in alcohol use disorder treatment is alcohol detox. It will help you navigate the complicated withdrawal process, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug abuse. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.
Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.
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Drinking alcohol causes brain damage and if you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism and a co-occurring mental health condition such as anxiety and depression, contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today. We Level Up TX can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.
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