Understanding the Dangers of Alcohol Overdose National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA

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  • This may help to minimize risk prior to consuming alcohol, but it doesn’t help if taken during an alcohol poisoning instance.
  • Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing, the heart beat, and the gag reflex .
  • Like alcohol, these drugs suppress areas in the brain that control vital functions such as breathing.
  • Alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body.
  • Screen all adult patients for binge drinking and counsel those who binge drink to drink less.

Acute intoxication has been documented throughout history, and alcohol remains one of the world’s most widespread recreational drugs. Some religions consider alcohol intoxication to be a sin. Be prepared to tell the responders how much they’ve had to drink and if they used any other substances. If the patient starts breathing, put him in the recovery position. If the patient is breathing, put him or her in a recovery position. Do not let the patient walk, take a shower, or drink coffee to avoid any possible accident.

Recovering From Alcohol Poisoning: How Is It Different Than A Hangover?

Still, the effects of alcohol will typically linger well after this time. So, you should look out for the signs of alcohol poisoning in order to recognize when someone is in trouble. The consequences of alcohol poisoning can be aggressive and fatal.

  • BAC is the percentage of your blood volume that is alcohol.
  • It’s important to remember that a person with alcohol poisoning may not have all the signs and symptoms.
  • You may not experience all of them, but having any of them a sign you should seek help.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption may also lead to dehydration and a drop in blood glucose levels.
  • Alcohol dependence was identified as a factor in 30% of alcohol poisoning deaths.

A person who appears to be very drunk or has passed out may be showing early signs of alcohol poisoning and be in real danger. As dangerous changes continue inside the body, a person who appears to be sleeping may in fact be unconscious and in a coma. Because those around them assume the person is “sleeping it off” they miss the warning signs and don’t know to get help.


Alcohol poisoning is caused by drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time. Very high levels of alcohol in the body can shutdown critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, resulting in death. Alcohol poisoning deaths affect people of all ages but are most common among middle-aged adults and men. Drinking to get “drunk” puts your health and your life in danger. Ingesting too much alcohol in a short amount of time can lead to serious and sometimes deadly health effects. Alcohol overdose, also known as alcohol poisoning, can cause dangerous effects ranging in effects from vomiting, irregular breathing and heart rate to seizures, coma, and death. Anyone who drinks alcohol is at risk of overdose, including young children and pets exposed accidentally.