Open Accessibility Menu

Alcohol Poisoning: Understanding the Symptoms

  • Category: General
  • Posted On:
Alcohol Poisoning: Understanding the Symptoms

When you take a drink of alcohol, it goes into your stomach, where it’s digested and absorbed. Then, it moves to your bloodstream, causing your blood alcohol level to increase. Your liver is then tasked with breaking it down, but if you drink too much too quickly, it won’t be able to keep up, leaving high levels in your system.

Since alcohol is a depressant, having too much in your system will prevent your body from handling essential functions like regulating your blood pressure and respiration. At this point, you have alcohol poisoning.

Unfortunately, this is a severe and often fatal condition, killing an average of six Americans a day. Thus, it is critical to know the signs of alcohol poisoning so you can seek help. Also, knowing the symptoms can help you save a life if a friend or family member has too much to drink.

alcohol poisoning

How Much Is Too Much to Drink?

While anyone can overindulge, you’re most at risk for alcohol positioning when binge drinking. Men who drink more than five drinks in two hours meet the criteria for binge drinking. However, women only need to consume four alcoholic drinks in an hour to binge drink.

While binge drinking puts you at a higher risk for alcohol poisoning, other factors are also in play, such as your tolerance, weight, and food intake.

That means you can develop alcohol poisoning, even if you aren’t technically binge drinking. Let’s go over the symptoms so you’ll know when to call 911 or go to the emergency room.

alcohol poisoning


Fortunately, people exhibit various signs of this, giving loved ones a chance to call 911 and seek medical attention. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Bluish tint to the skin
  • Vomiting
  • Choking
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Slow respiration
  • Hypothermia
  • Loss of consciousness

What to Do If Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning

If you think someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately, even if they do not exhibit all the symptoms. Because this can be fatal, swift medical care is needed.

If you call 911, you will need to stay with the person while waiting for medical care to arrive. Remember that vomiting is one of the symptoms, and your loved one can choke on it before receiving care. While you do not want to induce vomiting, you should turn the person’s head to the side if they start throwing up.

When the medical team arrives, provide as many details as possible about the situation. This includes the type of alcohol consumed, the amount, and other medications or drugs in the person’s system.

vomiting after drinking

Dangers of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning can cause an assortment of emergency conditions that can be fatal. First, the person can choke on their vomit. Unfortunately, too much alcohol depresses the body’s natural reflexes. Thus, it is possible to choke while sleeping, causing the person to stop breathing.

Severe dehydration is also a cause for concern. This can speed up the heart rate while lowering blood pressure.

Hypothermia is another dangerous complication of alcohol posing. If the body temperature drops too low, the person is at risk of cardiac arrest.

These are just some of the many dangers of alcohol poisoning. Thus, do not delay when seeking treatment.

Get Immediate Treatment for Alcohol Poisoning

Baptist Emergency & Urgent Care

If you or a loved one has symptoms of alcohol poisoning, Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care is here to help. Our team can provide IV fluids, airway management, medications to control vomiting, and electrolyte management. This is a matter of life and death, so do not delay.

Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care's emergency room is open 24/7, and urgent care is available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. Appointments are unnecessary - walk in, and our healthcare professionals are ready to help at both of our locations.

Navarre - 8888 Navarre Pkwy., Navarre, FL 32566. Call the center at 850-750-5698.

Nine Mile - 9400 University Parkway Suite 101A Pensacola, FL 32514. Call the center at 448-227-4600.

Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care is comprised of board-certified ER-trained physicians and professionally trained ER nurses who deliver quality medical care. Our urgent care and emergency room can effectively treat various medical conditions. From fever to fractures, allergies to abdominal pain, and colds to concussions, we have you covered with on-site labs, CT, X-rays, and ultrasound.