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10 Alcohol Poisoning Signs

A woman on a stretcher is wheeled into the hospital.
Knowing the signs of alcohol poisoning can be the difference between life and death.


We tend to think of binge drinking and alcohol poisoning as something that happens mostly to young people and college students.

Surprisingly, that’s not true. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the demographic that suffers the most from alcohol poisoning is middle-aged adults between the ages of 35 and 64. In fact, white middle-aged men are the most likely to die from alcohol poisoning.

But the reality is that anyone, at any age, can experience alcohol poisoning.

How Do You Get Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning occurs when too much alcohol floods the bloodstream and it begins to affect vital functions, such as breathing, heart rate and body temperature.

In general, the liver can process one unit of alcohol per hour. Once you begin overloading the liver, that’s when you run into trouble.

The Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning won’t just end with a hangover the next day. It can be life threatening. Call 911 if someone is experiencing the following:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Inability to stay conscious
  • Irregular pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Hypothermia
  • Lack of physical coordination, including an inability to walk
  • Depressed breathing
  • Blue-tinged skin, especially around the fingertips or lips
  • Seizure

How Long Does Alcohol Poisoning Last?

If someone you know is experiencing any of the signs of alcohol poisoning, this is the wrong question to be asking.

That’s because the decision to let a person “sleep it off” could be the decision that kills them. It’s likely that your friend’s body is still processing alcohol, meaning he or she is still getting more intoxicated, not less.

Instead, call 911 and don’t leave your friend alone. Try to keep the person sitting upright and conscious. If someone is unconscious, roll him or her on their side so they will not choke on their own vomit.

Don’t try to force food or coffee on someone who is experiencing alcohol poisoning. And don’t put them in a cold shower or attempt to induce vomiting yourself.

The bottom line is that someone suffering from alcohol poisoning needs to go to the hospital and likely have his or her stomach pumped. Trying to fix this yourself is taking your friend’s life into your own hands.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Colorado

If alcohol is affecting your health or well-being, it’s probably time to slow down. If you try to control your drinking, but can’t, that’s a classic sign that you may need help tackling the problem.

At The Raleigh House, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just get the alcohol out of your system. We work with you to help you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually and socially as well. Rehab isn’t just about giving something up; it’s about getting your life back. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the alcohol addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

Tap button to call The Raleigh House.

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