How To Tell if Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning

How To Tell if Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning

Ending the day with drinks after a fun hangout with friends can be enjoyable, but the consequences can often be unpleasant. While the hangover feels like a short-term inconvenience, it’s usually manageable and subsides with time. However, it is important to recognize the difference between a typical hangover and alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal.

Alcohol poisoning is a life-threatening situation as the excessive amount of alcohol in the bloodstream has a negative impact on the body’s functioning. A high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) slows down the brain’s response which leads to trouble in breathing, headache, and vomiting. Simply put, it makes the body unable to respond and cope with the amount of alcohol. 

Alcohol poisoning should be treated immediately as it causes the body to shut down immediately. Here are ways you can diagnose and treat alcohol poisoning. 

Ways to Identify Alcohol Poisoning 

Timely identification of alcohol poisoning is crucial as it can be a matter of life or death for someone.

Effects of alcohol poisoning vary from person to person as each person might not witness all of the symptoms. Moreover, the severity of symptoms depends on the type and quantity of alcohol the person had and their tolerance and pre-existing medical conditions (if any).

However, a few typical signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning are: 

Trouble breathing

Alcohol is an intoxicant and behaves as a depressant due to its central nervous system depressant properties. As a result, it slows down the brain and body. This severely impacts the brain’s ability to send signals to the respiratory system on time; hence, it results in chest tightening and the inability to breathe properly with less than 8 breaths per minute. 


Vomiting is common and one of the first symptoms that occur due to excessive amounts of alcohol. It occurs in a normal hangover, too, and the only way of differentiating in the case of alcohol poisoning is its frequency and severity. The vomiting occurs as the stomach cannot retain large amounts of alcohol, and this excessive alcohol in the stomach causes irritation and inflammation in the stomach and esophagus.


Alcohol severely affects the body temperature, and an excessive amount of alcohol combined with a cold environment leads to hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature drops below its normal range and has serious consequences, such as a heart attack. This is because alcohol is a vasodilator; it expands blood arteries near the skin’s surface. Although it may temporarily seem warm, this causes the body to lose heat more quickly, increasing the risk of hypothermia. 


Seizures occur in severe cases of alcohol poisoning as large amounts of alcohol in the bloodstream can irritate the brain, decrease blood sugar levels, and cause dehydration. All these symptoms cause the body to be dysfunctional and trigger a seizure. Seizures indicate that the condition of the individual has worsened, and it is better to get help as early as possible. 

How to Deal with Alcohol Poisoning 

How To Tell if Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning

Look for the symptoms

As soon as you suspect someone is behaving unusually. Access their situation carefully based on common symptoms such as confusion, vomiting, and slow breathing.

Accompany the Person

Once you identify someone who is experiencing alcohol poisoning, accompany them while trying to get all the help possible. 

Get Help

It is best to call emergency services to get the person immediate help, as alcohol poisoning can be fatal if not treated on time. 

Prevent Choking

Try to keep the person conscious as the situation gets critical if the person is not responding or is unconscious. Moreover, if the person is lying flat on their back, roll them on their side in a recovery position to ensure they do not choke on their vomit. 

Neutralize Body Temperature

Due to alcohol, the body’s response to surrounding temperature can be unpredictable. It is crucial to keep the body temperature neutral as both overheating and exposure to cold can worsen the situation.

Avoiding Alcohol Poisoning 

While there’s no problem in going out and having fun with friends by sharing a couple of drinks, you should ensure your safety. Drinking in balance helps your own and your friend’s safety. 

Some ways to avoid alcohol poisoning:

Responsible Drinking

Make sure to strike a balance between having fun and your safety. Alcohol poisoning occurs when a large amount is consumed in a short period. Hence, it is better to consume alcohol slowly and responsibly. 

No Alcohol on an Empty Stomach 

Alcohol is a strong intoxicant, and consuming it on an empty stomach irritates the stomach and causes vomiting and severe pain in the stomach. It is recommended to eat before allowing alcohol into your bloodstream. 

Avoid Combination of Alcohol and Medicines 

It is not safe to consume alcohol and medicine together. Consuming medicines before and after drinking alcohol only worsens its effect. Certain drugs have strong side effects, and consuming them with alcohol can disturb the brain and the body.


Rehydrating after drinking alcohol is essential, as alcohol causes dehydration. Thus, drink water in subsequent amounts along with alcohol. Moreover, try out a combination of drinks like alcohol ith, soda, or other beverages to minimize its impact on the body.  


Excessive amount of alcohol is no joke as it leads to a life or death situation as a result of alcohol poisoning. White alcohol provides all the fun and relaxes the brain; it is important to remember that is a depressant that slows down the functioning of the body.

Recognizing alcohol poisoning is crucial before you hang out with your friends, as you should know when to seek immediate help. Alcohol poisoning has common symptoms such as confusion/ lack of awareness of surroundings, trouble breathing, vomiting, and severe symptoms such as hypothermia and seizures. Upon recognizing any of these symptoms, it is vital to get emergency services to avoid an unfortunate situation.

Moreover, being a responsible adult, ensure safe drinking for yourself and your friends while disapproving of underage drinking. This ensures safety and well-being in any social gathering.

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