Mercury poisoning is fairly mysterious as not many people know about it or how severe it can be. So what is mercury poisoning? Nearly everyone has small traces of mercury in their body, usually as a result of eating seafood or drinking contaminated water. But having some mercury in your body doesn't mean you have mercury poisoning.
So if these sources won't contaminate you, then how do you get mercury poisoning and what does mercury poisoning do to you? The most common way to get mercury poisoning is to breathe in mercury or to spill mercury on yourself (a great reason to be very careful with mercury thermometers). As for what it does to you, the list below details it all, from the shakes to phantom pins and needles you'll feel across your skin.
When you first contract mercury poisoning, it will likely mimic other illnesses which makes it difficult to identify. Unfortunately, many of the early symptoms don't even seem like serious issues. With organic mercury poisoning, one early symptom is a tingling in your extremities, very similar to when you move a numb limb. If you notice this sensation in your mouth - not just your limbs - then you may have mercury poisoning.
One scary thing mercury poisoning does is mess up your nervous system. Even mercury salts can do damage to that area, though other forms of mercury poisoning are worse. As mercury poisoning progresses, you may notice your peripheral vision diminish or even disappear. Fuzzy and cloudy vision are also quite common and will continue to get worse until the poisoning is addressed.
As your nervous system and eyesight break down, you may end up becoming a major klutz. Because your eyesight, coordination, and depth perception are all fading, you'll likely bump into furniture, trip with regularity, or even have a hard time holding things without dropping them. This can be incredibly frustrating, as you may not even be aware of the nervous system breakdowns that are causing this problem, leading you to feel like it's happening out of nowhere.
While being clumsy might make you seem a little tipsy, there are other symptoms that actually make you appear drunk. Your speech may become slurred and you may have trouble finding certain words. Perhaps you'll have trouble hearing or understanding people, and you'll find yourself constantly asking people to repeat themselves. You may find that walking is difficult or that you have lost your sense of direction or balance. To top it all off, it's likely that you'll start having sudden mood swings or drastic changes in your personality.
The reason mercury poisoning mimics being drunk is because alcohol attacks your nervous system much like mercury poisoning does.