5 Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning and What It Does to Your Body

Blood and urine tests can measure alcohol concentration, providing helpful clues about whether alcohol poisoning is the cause of symptoms. Sometimes, however, alcohol may not be present in blood and urine even when the impact of alcohol poisoning is still quite evident. Underage drinkers, or even adults who are concerned about their reputations, may avoid seeking medication attention for fear of getting into trouble with authorities, parents, or work colleagues. This often delays the diagnosis of alcohol poisoning, worsening the outcome. The liver, which normally metabolizes and detoxifies alcohol, is damaged by chronic alcohol use. When you can’t metabolize alcohol efficiently, the harmful effects on your body occur quickly, have a more dramatic effect, and last longer.

  • For example, some people suggest drinking coffee or taking a cold shower.
  • You may worry about what will happen to you or a friend or family member, especially if underage.
  • In the emergency room, a doctor will check their BAC and look for other signs of alcohol poisoning, such as a slow heart rate and low blood sugar and electrolyte levels.
  • Alcohol poisoning typically happens when you consume a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time.

But the results of not getting help in time can be far more serious. alcohol poisoning also can occur when adults or children accidentally or intentionally drink household products that contain alcohol. In some countries, it is also an offense to serve alcohol to an already-intoxicated person,[52] and, often, alcohol can only be sold by persons qualified to serve responsibly through alcohol server training. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates excessive alcohol use causes approximately 88,000 deaths annually in the United States. This stage can be very dangerous and even fatal if a person chokes on their vomit or becomes critically injured.

How Many Days Does it Take to Recover from Alcohol Overdose?

This stage of intoxication is marked by emotional outbursts and a major loss of coordination. The person may not be able to stand up, may stagger when walking, and will likely be extremely confused about what’s going on. By Buddy T

Buddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.

alcohol poisoning

Emergency medical staff will take steps to ensure a person’s medical stability and safety to help them recover and survive. It is best if their behavior has been observed while the subject is sober to establish a baseline. Several well-known criteria can be used to establish a probable diagnosis. Alcohol toxicity causes the body’s communication system to slow, which can also slow down other vital functions like breathing. When this happens, your body might go from taking 12 to 20 breaths per minute to less than eight breaths. Irregular breathing, in which a 10-second or more gap between breaths occurs, is also a possibility.

As Blood Alcohol Concentration Increases—So Do the Risks

You shouldn’t try to treat it at home or “sleep it off.” A major danger of https://ecosoberhouse.com/ is choking on your vomit, which can happen when you’re unconscious or sleeping. Other names for alcohol poisoning include alcohol overdose and ethanol toxicity. BAC can continue to rise even when a person stops drinking or is unconscious.

  • These deaths result from conditions that develop from drinking over long periods of time, as well as from binge drinking – or drinking too much on one occasion.
  • Alcohol poisoning happens when there’s too much alcohol in your blood, causing parts of your brain to shut down.
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