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What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning is a serious and potentially deadly condition that is the result of drinking a large amount of alcohol in a very short period of time. By drinking too much alcohol, the body becomes overwhelmed and cannot metabolize it correctly. This leads to a high Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) which can cause various symptoms, including difficulty breathing and a slowed heart rate. 

This article will provide a detailed list of symptoms commonly associated with alcohol poisoning. By understanding the symptoms and signs of the condition, you are more likely to avoid getting alcohol poisoning, know what to do if someone around you experiences it, and reduce the chance of alcohol poisoning deaths.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms

Alcohol poisoning signs and symptoms can include:

Mental Confusion

Often one of the earliest signs of alcohol poisoning, mental confusion, causes someone to have an impaired nervous system which results in difficulty understanding where they are or what they are doing. 

Slurred Speech

Slurred speech is another early sign of alcohol poisoning, with the person unable to form complete sentences. 

Difficulty Walking

Walking can become difficult, if not impossible when alcohol poisoning occurs, which is because alcohol affects the cerebellum part of the brain involved with balance and coordination. 

Slowed Reflexes

Alcohol poisoning can lead to very slowed reflexes and delays in reaction time. 

Becoming Unconscious

Someone might lose consciousness and be unable to wake up. 


Vomiting is another common symptom of alcohol poisoning. Vomiting can occur even when a person is unconscious, leading to potential choking. If someone begins to vomit, you should turn them on their side before calling 911. 

Unusually Low Body Temperate

A person’s lips or skin might turn blue or pale as a drastic drop in body temperature.


Seizures could occur, which can be potentially fatal depending on their severity. 

Irregular Breathing

Breathing can become very slow and irregular, which can also occur when the person is unconscious. 

Alcohol poisoning can involve all of the above symptoms or just some of them. 

What To Do If You Suspect Alcohol Poisoning

If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, seek immediate medical attention. Alcohol poisoning cannot be slept off. Without being treated, it can lead to brain damage or other serious health complications, including death. Alcohol poisoning treatment requires care from a medical professional.

Risk Factors for Alcohol Poisoning

Some people are more likely than others to experience an alcohol overdose:

People of a Smaller Height and Weight

People who have a smaller height and lesser weight might not be able to process alcohol as quickly as those who are tall and have more weight.

Younger Individuals

Young adults tend to drink more alcohol, more frequently when compared to older individuals, and therefore, are at a higher risk of alcohol poisoning.


Men on average tend to drink alcohol in larger quantities than women and are at a higher risk of alcohol poisoning. Of course, how much alcohol someone is able to drink (their alcohol tolerance) varies from person to person.

People Who Binge Drink

Binge drinking is considered to be consuming more than five alcoholic drinks within one hour. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking is when a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches .08g/dl or higher.

The best way to avoid alcohol poisoning is to not drink. If you do drink, make sure to drink in moderation and eat a meal beforehand.

Get Alcohol Abuse Treatment Today

Alcohol poisoning can be a sign that someone has an addiction to alcohol, also known as alcohol use disorder. At JC Treatment Center, our programs are designed to address the symptoms of alcohol addiction and substance use disorder. As a result, patients often receive improved outcomes, faster recovery times, and a lesser chance of relapsing. Our team at JC Treatment Center in Pasadena, CA strives to provide you with the addiction treatment and mental health solutions you need and deserve to get your life back.

Through compassionate care, expert staff, and innovative substance abuse solutions, we give you effective tools to help you stay sober and live a healthy life.

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