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Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms

Levels of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning symptoms can happen suddenly over a short amount of time.  Therefore, when you are drinking alcohol, you might notice different alcoholism symptoms.  These symptoms will depend on levels or stages of intoxication.

The degree of intoxication varies from person to person because they’re based on age, sex, weight, and other determinants.

But generally, there are seven stages of alcohol poisoning and their symptoms. [1]

1. Sobriety or Low Level Intoxication

If a person has consumed one or fewer drinks per hour, they’re considered sober or low-level intoxicated.

At this stage of intoxication, you will expect that the drinker’s action will have no visible signs of alcohol poisoning, such as slurred speech or delayed reaction time.

Their blood alcohol content (BAC), which measures how much alcohol is in the bloodstream, will be shallow at 0.01 to 0.05 percent.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms
Excessive alcohol use can lead to an increased risk of health problems such as injuries, violence, liver diseases, and cancer.

2. Euphoria

If a person has customarily consumed two to three drinks as a man or one to two glasses as a woman in an hour, they’ll join the euphoric stage of alcohol intoxication.

Some Symptoms include:

  • An increase in chattiness and confidence
  • A slowed reaction times
  • Lowered inhibitions

Most people describe this stage of intoxication as being “tipsy.”  A person’s BAC at this stage might range from 0.03 to 0.12 percent.

Note that a BAC of 0.08 percent is the legal limit of intoxication in the United States.  Therefore, a person can be arrested for driving with a BAC above this limit.

3. Excitement

At this stage, a man might have drunk three to five drinks in an hour or two to four drinks for a woman.  At this time, a person will start to feel emotional instability and a significant loss of coordination.

Other Symptoms include:

  • A loss of judgment and memory
  • Vision difficulties
  • Loss of balance
  • Drowsiness

A person will appear visibly “drunk” at this degree.  They’ll have a BAC of 0.09 to 0.25 percent.

4. Confusion

If a man drinks more than five drinks or a woman more than four drinks in an hour, they’ll enter the next stage of alcohol poisoning:  confusion.

This stage of intoxication is distinguished by emotional outbreaks and a significant loss of coordination.  The person may not be able to stand up, may stagger when walking, and will likely be greatly confused about what’s going on.

People in this stage of intoxication are very likely to forget things happening around or to them.  As a result, they might “blackout” without losing consciousness and may not be able to feel pain. This makes them at risk of injury.

At this stage, a person’s BAC is very high.  It’ll range from 0.18 to 0.30 percent.

5. Stupor

At this stage, a person no longer responds to the things happening around or to them.

A person won’t be able to stand or walk.  They may ultimately pass out or lose control over their bodily functions, becoming uncontrolled or vomiting uncontrollably.

They may also experience seizures or have blue-tinged or pale skin.  In addition, their breathing and gag reflexes will likely be weakened.

This stage can be hazardous and fatal if a person chokes on their vomit or becomes critically injured.

Any of these symptoms are signs that immediate medical attention is necessary.  At this stage, a person’s BAC will range from 0.25 to 0.4 percent.

6. Coma

This stage is hazardous.  A person’s breathing and blood circulation will be highly slowed, and motor responses and gag reflexes are nonfunctional.  Their body temperature drops, and the person at this stage is at risk of death.

Their BAC will measure 0.35 to 0.45 percent.  Emergency medical attention is necessary at this point to avoid death and severe health problems.

7. Death

At a BAC of 0.45 percent or above, a person is likely to die from alcohol intoxication.

It may seem like an individual has to drink a lot to get to this stage.  But if you drink very quickly, you may get to this stage.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates excessive alcohol use causes approximately 88,000 deaths annually in the United States. [2]

Short-Term Health Risks of Drinking Alcohol

Apart from alcohol poisoning symptoms, immoderate alcoholism has immediate effects that increase many adverse health conditions.  These are most often the result of binge drinking and include the following:

  • Injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns
  • Violence, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence
  • Injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns
  • Violence, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence
  • Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners.  These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women

Causes of Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms

The standard drink in the US contains 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. This amount of alcohol is commonly found in:

  • 12 ounces of beer with a 5 percent alcohol content
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor at a 7 percent alcohol content
  • 5 ounces of wine at a 12 percent alcohol content
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (such as rum, vodka, or whiskey) at a 40 percent alcohol content

Alcohol in the form of Ethanol (Ethyl Alcohol) is found in:

  • Alcoholic liquors
  • Some household products like mouthwash and cooking extracts
  • Medications

Alcohol poisoning symptoms occur from drinking too much alcohol in a short period.

Risk Factors of Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms

Some people are more at risk of alcohol poisoning symptoms than others.  Factors affecting your risk of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Your Body Type and Weight:   More prominent people absorb alcohol more gradually than smaller people.
  • Your Health Status:  Having particular health issues can put you at greater risk of alcohol poisoning.
  • Whether or not you’ve eaten, having food in your stomach before drinking can slow your body’s absorption of alcohol
  • Whether you’ve blended alcohol with other drugs, consuming certain drugs before drinking can double your risk of alcohol poisoning
  • The Percentage of Alcohol in Your Drinks:  Drinks with a higher rate of alcohol will raise your BAC faster than drinks with a lower percentage of alcohol.
  • Your Rate and Amount of Alcohol Consumption:  Gulping many drinks down puts you at risk of alcohol poisoning.
  • Your Level of Alcohol Tolerance:  People who frequently drink are better able to tolerate alcohol than people who are only occasional drinkers.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms Treatment

After an episode of alcohol poisoning symptoms, it takes time to recover.  First, you will be hospitalized until their vital signs return to normal.  This may take days, up to weeks.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms
Life-long sobriety is achievable with your commitment to stop drinking alcohol.

You may encounter a depressed mood and appetite, discomfort, and memory problems during the recovery period.  However, even you are released from hospital care, it can take up to a month to feel sound again.

The good news is that it’s achievable to survive alcohol poisoning symptoms if appropriate medical treatment is given promptly.

Detox Approach to Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms

Alcohol detox can be dangerous, especially if it is done without the help of a professional.

Delirium Tremens and other withdrawal symptoms that may afflict the client detoxing are hazardous and may even be fatal.  Therefore, it is advisable to detox in a rehab center with access to experienced professionals who can manage any alcohol poisoning symptoms and withdrawal complications.  The medically supervised detox processes allow the body to process the alcohol in the system and gently wean the body off its dependence.  It is the first stage of New Jersey alcohol treatment and one you should seek before your addiction gets worse.

Those suffering from addiction for long periods at high use rates usually experience more severe withdrawal symptoms, making the process more difficult for them.  The symptoms may seem to get worse through the detox process.  They need constant care and attention to help manage the symptoms.  Alcohol poisoning symptoms treatment is within your reach to ensure your recovery starts on a comfortable and safe step.

If you, your friend, or your family need help with alcohol poisoning symptoms, contact us today at We Level Up New Jersey, your local alcohol addiction treatment NJ.


[1] – Stages of Acute Alcoholic Influence/Intoxication
[2-3] Alcohol Use and Your Health – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention