Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : November 24, 
| 4 Sources

Alcohol Poisoning Statistics
Effects Of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms
Alcohol poisoning is not uncommon therefore it is essential to know the symptoms and the effects of alcohol poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a result of consuming large amounts of alcohol in just a short period of time.

Critical signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Mental confusion, stupor, or coma
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute)
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
  • Hypothermia, a bluish skin color and paleness

What should you do if you suspect someone of alcohol poisoning?

  • Read treatment for alcohol poisoning as a matter of urgency.
  • Acquaint yourself with the above-mentioned alcohol poisoning symptoms
  • Do not wait for all symptoms to be present
  • Be entirely aware that a person who has passed out may die without prompt treatment

If there is ANY suspicion of alcohol poisoning, call for help immediately. Do NOT try to guess the persons level of drunkenness.

What happens if alcohol poisoning goes untreated?

  • The victim may choke on his/her own vomit
  • Breathing slows, becomes irregular, or stops completely
  • The heart may beat irregularly or stop
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature) leading to death
  • Hypoglycemia (dangerously low levels of bloody-sugar) leading to seizures
  • Untreated severe dehydration from vomiting can cause seizures, permanent brain damage, and ultimately death

How would you know if a friend, relative or just some random person at the bar is merely drunk, or suffering from the effects of alcohol poisoning?

Being able to identify the difference may very well be the difference between life and death.

Death may be caused by someone who may asphyxiate from choking on his or her own vomit, or is not able to breathe because the part of the brain responsible for respiration has been poisoned and is in danger of shutting down.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms
Alcohol Poisoning Statistics

According to research just completed in the United States of America, around 50,000 cases of alcohol poisoning arealcohol poisoning reported each year, and one person dies per week because of this deadly but very preventable condition.

One of the major reasons for these fatalities is that the people around the drinker cannot effectively identify the symptoms.

Consequently they did not take any action other than sending the sufferers home in a cab and/or having them take a cold shower and a hot coffee. Most end up feeling responsible and guilt-ridden.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms:
Effects of Alcohol Poisoning

Excessive alcohol consumption is bad for anyone. Alcohol suppresses nerves that would ordinarily be responsible for your subconscious functions- such as breathing and reminding your heart to beat. Excessive alcohol consumption may stop these functions.

Additionally, alcohol is an irritant to the stomach, and will cause excessive drinkers to vomit- thereby heightening the risk that someone may potentially choke on his/her own vomit even though the person is not conscious, causing death by asphyxiation.

Contrary to popular belief, a person’s blood alcohol concentration will and can continue to rise even when he/she is unconscious.

Alcohol in the stomach and intestines continues to be absorbed into the bloodstream and circulate around the body EVEN WHEN A PERSON STOPS DRINKING.

One should never assume that a person will get sober by sleeping off drunkenness. A potential danger of alcohol overdose is asphyxiating on one’s own vomit.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms:
Embarrassment or Tragedy?

Even if the victim survives, alcohol overdose can lead to irreparable brain damage.

Rapid binge drinking (which often happens on a bet or a dare) is especially dangerous because the victim can ingest a fatal dose before becoming unconscious. Young adults and teens are particularly at higher risk for binge drinking, which coul cause alcohol poisoning.

The temporary embarrassment of having been rescued and treated for alcohol poisoning infinitely outweighs the potential risk of life-threatening complications.

Should you suspect anyone around you of having symptoms consistent of this condition, DO NOT hesitate to call for life-saving help.

love an addict
Loving someone who abuses alcohol is one of the most painful things you will ever have to cope with. Yet, it doesn't need to be, C.P.Lehman in his book, Help Me! I'm In Love With An Addict gives you the strategies that will enable you to find happiness and get your life back on well as other skills that are crucial when attempting to cope with an alcohol dependent.

If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 


I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More


Poison Control. Alcohol: A Dangerous Poison for Children.

Medline Plus. Blood Alcohol Level.

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol Poisoning Deaths.

Return from Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms to Alcohol Abuse Effects 

Return from Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms to Alcoholism Help Homepage

Alcoholism Help Homepage | What is Alcoholism | Signs of Alcoholism | Alcoholism Tests | Alcohol Abuse Effects | Living with an Addict | Alcoholism Recovery | The AA Way| Alcoholism Cure| Alcoholism Medication | My Story | Alcoholism Guide Blog | Contact Us | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Living With An Alcoholic?
Family Resources
alcoholic anonymous meetings

Free Ebooks

Want To Read About The Myths That Maintain AA's Dominance Of The Alcoholism Recovery Industry?

Download our FREE E-report:

Why You Might Want To Look For Another Way"

alt text

Alcoholism Help Resources


test for alcoholism
Am I an Alcoholic?
Assess your drinking now!

contact us alcoholism

Got a Question about Alcoholism?
Click on the above Image to Contact Us

Self-Help Book