Alcohol poisoning: Inside the perils of excessive drinking

Have you or someone you love suffered an alcohol-related complication after a night of drinking? 

Alcohol poisoning may have been the cause. Here, we explain what you should know and what you can do to help someone who has alcohol poisoning.

How does alcohol poisoning happen?

Alcohol poisoning occurs when you consume alcohol faster than your body can process. It is a severe condition that could cause death in extreme situations. Knowing a few facts about alcohol poisoning could help save a life.

Alcohol is a depressant and can slow a person’s breathing and heart rate. The liver works to prevent toxins in alcohol from getting into the bloodstream. However, when the intake rate is higher than the liver can handle, the result is alcohol poisoning.

Household products with alcohol can also cause alcohol poisoning. When you suspect someone might have alcohol poisoning, you should immediately seek medical help.

For those who have an issue with drinking, a simple internet search term such as America’s Rehab Campuses Tucson can help you or your loved one find a place that helps toward the recovery process [1].

How does alcohol poisoning happen?

What are the symptoms of alcohol poisoning?

Here are some signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning that might come across as being mild:

  • An individual’s breath may smell of alcohol
  • Sense of disorientation
  • Having slurred speech
  • Stumbling and lack of coordination
  • Pale skin

There are, however, more severe signs and symptoms, such as:

  • A serious state of confusion
  • An inability to stay awake
  • Hypothermia
  • Having a pale, blue complexion
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • A slow breathing pattern
  • A slow heartbeat
  • A slowed gag reflex

What are the complications of alcohol poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning can result in one or a few complications that have significant adverse effects [2]. One can choke on their vomit and have difficulty breathing. 

Dehydration and hypothermia are also complications reported during alcohol poisoning. Others include brain damage, heart failure and death.

How to treat alcohol poisoning?

Call for emergency medical attention as soon as you suspect alcohol poisoning. Do not leave the person alone.

Try keeping them seated upright and warm using a blanket or a jacket. If they are conscious, make them sip some water.

To prevent the person from choking on their vomit after passing out, lay them on their side (recovery position). Try to keep them awake. When the emergency personnel arrives, detail how much the person drank and when they did it.

Do not do these things

Do not give or let them have more alcohol. Also, please do not give them beverages like coffee. 

Caffeine-containing drinks can dehydrate people going through alcohol poisoning. Do not make them take a cold shower or pour cold water on them. Most importantly, do not make them vomit.

How is alcohol poisoning treated?

Doctors will treat you with IV fluids to rehydrate you at the hospital. They may also give you supplemental oxygen if you’re experiencing breathing difficulty [3].

If there’s a lot of alcohol in your stomach, they can “pump” it out and flush your stomach of alcohol toxins. They also get rid of alcohol toxins in the blood.

What can you do to prevent alcohol poisoning?

Practice moderation when taking alcohol. It is also vital to take alcohol after you have taken a meal. 

Make sure you are not on medication that is contraindicated for alcohol. It also helps to have water in between alcoholic drinks.

If you are underage, avoid alcohol games. However, when alcohol poisoning occurs, do not be afraid to ask for help. Not asking for help can lead to more severe consequences.


In conclusion, alcohol poisoning is a severe condition that can be life-threatening. The signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning should be recognized and treated immediately.

Prompt medical attention can save a life. Prevention is better than cure and can do a lot to avoid alcohol poisoning. 

Exercise moderation when taking alcohol, ensure you’ve had a meal and drink water between beverages. It’s vital to educate ourselves and others on the risks associated with alcohol consumption and take the necessary precautions to avoid alcohol poisoning [4].


Photograph: axelbueckert/Envato
The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.