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What is Alcohol Poisoning?

It’s Saturday night, you’re out with your best friends and the night carries on. It’s like any other weekend, you’re all having a good time drinking and going dancing. But then it happens.


Suddenly, one of your close friends begins feeling sick. At first, the group just assumes your sick friend just had a little too much. But their vomiting is out of control and their skin looks a little too pale.


Be careful! These could be signs of alcohol poisoning. A serious alcohol consumption.

A condition that could do a little more than just ruin your weekend. How? Let’s have a look.

What is Alcohol Poisoning

The quick answer is that alcohol poisoning is nothing more than an alcohol overdose. In the same way, addicts can overdose on drugs, and so can drinkers overdose on alcohol. An alcohol overdose is also commonly referred to as acute alcohol poisoning.

When someone drinks too much and too quickly the body can suffer from significant impairments including problems with motor coordination, decision-making, impulse control, and other functions. If a person keeps drinking beyond this point, they might end up overdosing on alcohol.

During an alcohol overdose, the areas of the brain that control basic life-support functions begin to shut down. That includes temperature control, heart rate, and breathing. Needless to say, this poses a serious threat to a person’s health and life.

Alcohol overdose could lead to permanent brain damage or even death.

Is Acute Alcohol Poisoning a Problem?

According to the CDC, close to 6 people die every day from acute alcohol poisoning in the United States, amounting to roughly 2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths each year. With three-quarters of those deaths affecting demographics between the ages of 35 and 64.

While most of them are men, anyone can overdose on alcohol. Acute alcohol poisoning is not unique to binge drinkers and alcoholics.

Mixing alcohol with opioids or other depressants can greatly increase the risk of an overdose.  Alcohol treatment is recommended in such cases. 

Even if the person is not a regular drinker, it’s suggested to attend alcohol treatment to let a professional diagnose if there could be a serious problem developing underneath.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

Deaths by alcohol poisoning represent a smaller percentage of the total overall deaths in the United States. But the number of people that get alcohol poisoning is far greater.

It’s really important for all of us, regardless of our drinking habits, to get familiar with the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning. This way we may recognize them and act if someone around us experiences an alcohol overdose.

These are the most common signs of alcohol poisoning:

  • Mental confusion
  • Difficulty remaining conscious
  • Inability to wake up
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Low body temperature or paleness

How Much Alcohol Causes Poisoning?

Not too long ago I was sitting down with a friend at a buffet, fascinated by the amount of food she was consuming. Despite eating like her stomach was a bottomless pit, she was light like a feather.

I couldn’t help myself but ask—-how can you eat this much and not gain weight?

She replied by saying her metabolism was much faster than that of other people so she processed food rather quickly.

It baffled me. But it got me thinking about how much that relates to alcohol consumption.

There is always that one friend who can down an entire bottle of tequila as if it was water without even batting an eye. That’s because everyone processes alcohol differently.

There are numerous factors that go into how much alcohol it actually takes to cause poisoning like metabolism, weight, height, gender, and even genetics.

As every individual is different, it’s impossible to determine how much alcohol a person should consume before becoming ill—and it can be quite risky to push your limits to try to find out.


On average, it takes close to one hour for the body to metabolize 0.25 ounces of alcohol. 


In order to be considered to be drunk by law, a person’s blood alcohol concentration must be at least 0.08 percent. The effects of alcohol begin to be felt by 0.10 to 0.12% when you begin to have difficulties with coordination and memory. Anything above that is generally considered to be risky territory.

There are also those who are sensitive to alcohol consumption. For them, alcohol poisoning could come with as little as one or two drinks. 

Risks of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning poses serious risks to both alcohol abusers and non-heavy drinkers alike and regardless of their level of tolerance.

If you or someone around you is experiencing alcohol poisoning you must seek immediate help and call 911. Not doing so could result in permanent brain damage and even death.

Persistent problems with alcohol could be a sign of addiction. If you or anyone you love is struggling with their alcohol consumption then you must seek alcohol treatment.

Outpatient LA provides alcohol rehab for those struggling with it.

For more information about how we can help you or your loved ones, contact Outpatient LA today.

Get Real Help for Addiction Right Now.

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