Alcohol Overdose


As reported in the research literature, around 50,000 people experience an alcohol overdose each year in the United States.

What is more, approximately once every week, someone needlessly dies from an alcohol overdose.

Knowing how individuals get an alcohol overdose, understanding its symptoms and signs, and responding appropriately to alcohol overdose situations can help avoid fatal alcohol overdose cases.

The saddest part on the subject of an alcohol overdose, particularly when a person loses his or her life, it must be noted, is that alcohol poisoning is 100 per cent preventable.

Alcohol Overdose and Blood Alcohol Level

Alcohol overdose, also known as alcohol poisoning, is a hazardous and at times deadly result of drinking more alcoholic beverages than the body can process.


It is vital to point out, as well, that binge drinking (ingesting four or more alcoholic beverages at one sitting for females and consuming five or more alcoholic drinks at one sitting for males) can also lead to an alcohol overdose.

In short, even though an individual may get drunk one time per year, this one-time "binge" can result in an alcohol overdose.

The effects of the alcohol on your body depend on the level of alcohol in your blood (known as blood alcohol level or blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Factors that affect your blood alcohol level (or blood alcohol concentration) include the following:

  • How much alcohol you drink

  • How quickly your body processes the alcohol

  • How much you weigh

  • How quickly you consume the alcoholic beverage

  • How much food is in your stomach at the time you drink

  • How strong the alcoholic drink is

Common Alcohol Overdose Symptoms

The first symptom of an alcohol overdose is more often than not nausea, followed by vomiting.

These symptoms are warning signs from your body letting you know that you ingested more alcohol than your body can metabolize.

The following list illustrates other symptoms and signs of an alcohol overdose:

  • Pale skin or blue-tinged skin

  • Poor or absent reflexes

  • Seizures

  • Feeling exceedingly ill, including constant and extreme vomiting

  • Inability to sustain a conversation or to make eye contact

  • Failure to withdraw from painful stimuli (for example from pinching)

  • Confusion

  • Inconsistent, highly erratic behavior

  • Difficulty awakening the individual

  • Slurred speech

  • Shallow, irregular, or slow breathing

  • Unconsciousness (passing out)

The Interaction of Drugs and Alcohol

It must be stressed that alcohol can also be hazardous, can lead to an alcohol overdose, and can be deadly in smaller amounts if it is ingested in combination with the following drugs:

  • Several anti-seizure drugs (like phenobarbital)

  • Narcotic pain doctor prescribed drugs (such as opium, darvocet, codine, heroin, and codine derivatives)

  • Sedatives (examples include tranquilizers, cannabis, and barbiturates

Conclusion: Alcohol Overdose

About 50,000 individuals suffer from an alcohol overdose annually in the United States, and roughly once per week, someone needlessly dies from an alcohol overdose.

Understanding the situations that lead to an alcohol overdose and its symptoms and reacting quickly and fittingly to such a situation can help forgo a fatal overdose.


The Bottom Line

If a person experiences an alcohol overdose, he or she is an alcohol abuser.

As a result, this person needs to keep the following in mind: the more that alcohol is consumed in an abusive manner, the more likely it is that the drinker will become an alcoholic.

If this describes you, then you need to be honest with yourself and admit that you have a drinking problem.

Once you have taken this step, consider making it a priority to talk with an alcohol abuse and alcoholism professional about getting alcohol rehab as soon as you can.