Alcohol Poisoning

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Too Much Alcohol in the Bloodstream

Alcohol poisoning occurs when there is too much alcohol present in the bloodstream due to heavy drinking on a single occasion. Both women and men are prone to get poisoned, but after drinking the same amount of alcohol as men, women have appeared to have higher levels of blood alcohol, and they could be at even higher risks.

No Magic Level of Alcohol to Cause Alcohol Poisoning

There is no required level of alcohol content, that may cause alcohol poisoning. Most people do not know that you do not have to drink a large amount of alcohol to cause alcohol poisoning. It depends on your age, sex, weight, how quickly you are drinking in one sitting or occasion, how much you have eaten, your general health, and whether you have taken drugs or medicines.

Causes of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol is a kind of ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is found in alcoholic drinks, mouthwashes, cooking oils, other medications, and certain household items. Ethyl alcohol poisoning is typically the outcome of consuming too many alcoholic beverages, particularly in a relatively short period.

Other types of alcohol — including isopropyl alcohol (found in rubbing alcohol, lotions, and certain household cleaners) and methanol or ethylene glycol (a primary ingredient in antifreeze, paints, and solvents)—can cause other types of harmful poisoning that may need emergency treatment.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is a significant reason for alcohol poisoning and is widely known as deliberately drinking excessive liquor to get hungover. It involves getting drunk heavily on one occasion or for several hours or days. Nevertheless, binge drinking is not objectively defined, and there is no universally agreed definition.

A widely used reference indicator for binge drinking is the ingestion of five or more regular drinks on a single drinking day. You must have ingested a lethal amount of alcohol before you pass out. Even if you are asleep or have finished drinking, alcohol will still be absorbed from your stomach and intestines into your bloodstream.

Effect of Too Much Alcohol in the Body

When people consume a lot in a short period, the blood alcohol concentration will stop the system from working normally. It could:

  • Slow down brain processes, which make one lose one’s sense of equilibrium
  • Disturb the stomach, and that may induce vomiting
  • Perilously impact the nerves that control the breathing and heartbeat of a person
  • Dehydration to the body
  • Lower body temperature that could result in hypothermia
  • Higher blood sugar levels, causing brain injury

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

It is important to be conscious of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning to reach someone immediately because, in that state, they are not going to be able to save themselves. Intoxication can still be challenging to spot.

One might have had just a few beers, or they may have had a couple, but that is not typically an indication. Do not wait until you have all the signs before you seek help. You can save someone’s life by understanding the symptoms of alcohol poisoning and learning what to do.

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For:

  • Dizziness
  • Bladder and bowel failure
  • Passing out – Confusion
  • A decrease in blood sugar to critically low levels, causing brain injury
  • Reflex in breathing and swallowing, which poses a significant risk of vomit entering the lungs, which may cause choking
  • For the most severe cases, alcohol poisoning may cause impaired breathing and, as a result, coma or maybe even death
  • Alcohol Poisoning Complication

In extreme cases, alcohol poisoning can cause complications such as:

  • Choking on your vomit
  • Difficulty breathing due to vomit in the lungs
  • Hypothermia
  • Extreme dehydration
  • Damage to brain
  • Seizures
  • Heart attack
  • Coma
  • Death

Alcohol Poisoning Risk Factors

Teenagers and middle-aged adults are far more prone to have alcohol poisoning. Men usually drink more now than women do. But most middle-aged people are much more likely than relatively young folks to take prescribed drugs, which could make a person more likely to get alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning could also depend on many factors like:

  • Your height or weight
  • Your general well-being
  • Your body tolerance to alcohol
  • How recently you ate food
  • Where you have been taking drugs
  • The more and faster you drink
  • The percentage of alcohol in your drink

Other Potential Threats

Excessive alcohol consumption can impair a person’s rational judgment and put them in situations where their safety and health may be at risk.

They may, for example:

  • Get involved in violent behavior and anti-social behavior
  • Have unprotected sex that can lead to abortion or sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
  • Loss of personal belongings

Emergency Measures on Drug or Alcohol Poisoning

If you suspect anyone has alcohol poisoning, follow these simple steps:

  • Call 911 immediately
  • Do not leave the person
  • Get them to sit upright
  • Let them drink water when they are awake
  • Keep them warm with a blanket
  • When they are out, get them on their side to save them from choking on their vomit
  • Inform the paramedics of their condition and how much they were drinking

Alcohol Poisoning Treatment

If you have had a dangerous amount of alcohol, your doctor may “pump” your stomach. It stops the remaining alcohol from going into the bloodstream.

Alcohol Poisoning – The DONT’S; Do Not:

  • Let them sleep it off. Even if they are not drinking, the amount of alcohol in somebody’s blood keeps increasing.
  • Give a drunk person coffee. Alcohol causes the body to dehydrate.  Coffee will leave someone even more dehydrated, and severe dehydration can damage the brain permanently.
  • Try to make them puke. The gag reflex may not be working properly, which means they could choke on their vomit
  • Have them walking around.
  • Get them under a cold shower; it is dangerous. Alcohol significantly reduces body temperature, which could ignite hypothermia. The cold shower would make them colder than they already are.
  • Allow them to drink more alcohol. Alcohol levels may get extremely elevated in their bloodstream.


To avoid alcohol poisoning:

  • Consume alcohol with moderation; if ever you choose to drink, do this in moderation.  To healthier people, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than 65 years and up to two drinks a day for men aged 65 and under. When you are drinking, enjoy your drink slowly.
  • Do not drink alcohol on a hungry stomach. Getting enough food in your belly may slow alcohol absorption considerably, but it does not deter alcohol poisoning if you binge drink, for example.
  • Regularly connect with your teenagers. Always have a talk with your teens about the dangers of alcohol, including binge drinking. Research shows that children who have been warned against alcohol by their parents and who have close relationships with their parents are less inclined to begin drinking.
  • Safe product storage. Once you have young children, keep items containing alcohol, including cosmetics, mouthwashes, and medications, away from their reach, using baby-proof toilets and kitchen cupboards to limit exposure to household cleaners. Hold dangerous things out of sight in your garage or storage room.  Start having soft liquor in locked cabinets.
  • Get your follow-up treatment. Whether you or your teenager have been hospitalized with alcohol poisoning, make sure to call for follow-up treatment.  Meeting health practitioners, particularly qualified substance dependency professionals, can help you avert binge drinking in the future.

Alcohol Rehab Center at Resurgence

We are here to help. Our alcohol rehab center uses evidence-based addiction treatment to help you get sober. We work with you to create an alcohol addiction treatment plan to work for you and your addiction.

We offer a wide range of programs, from 24-hour residential treatment to outpatient programs that allow you to go home each night. Call us today to get started on the path to sobriety.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.