Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms Vs Drunk [Symptoms and Causes]

A lot of people carry out heavy drinking or binge drinking on the weekends or on holidays.

Being a nervous system depressant that it is, alcohol can quickly turn a fun night into a tragedy. Alcohol poisoning may begin slowly, with signs similar to being drunk, but as time goes on and your body struggles to process all that much alcohol introduced into your bloodstream, overdose and poisoning can happen.

Identifying signs of alcohol poisoning is the first step to saving a life.

What Does Alcohol Overdose Look Like?

Alcohol overdose occurs when there’s too much alcohol introduced into the bloodstream, so much that your brain experiences difficulty in performing basic life functions such as breathing, heart rate regulation, and temperature control.

There’s no particular can of drink or bottles of drinks that triggers alcohol poisoning since every drinker’s tolerance level varies.

Common alcohol overdose symptoms include:

  • Low body temperature
  • Slow heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Choking on vomit
  • Confusion and dizziness
  • Lack of gag reflex

What Is the Difference Between Being Drunk and Alcohol Overdose?

Both alcohol overdose and drunk share similar symptoms such as confusion or vomiting. There isn’t much difference between being drunk or suffering from alcohol poisoning.

The mechanisms behind the two are the same – alcohol is dulling systems within the body and mind.

The only difference is that when a person suffers alcohol poisoning, they’ve had far too much to drink and alcohol’s dangerous effects on the mind and body are magnified to a deadly level.

Here are some signs of an alcohol overdose:

  • Pale skin
  • Blue Skin
  • Clammy Skin
  • Inconsistent breathing
  • Coma
  • Difficulty remaining conscious
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
  • Irregular breathing (this can be 10 seconds or longer between breaths, or fewer than eight breaths per minute)
  • Seizures
  • Slow heart rate
  • Dulled responses (such as no gag reflex)
  • Vomiting

Mental Effects of Alcohol poisoning

Alcohol Poisoning led to Stress and Depression

Depression and stress are two main causes of alcohol poisoning. Overdose due to alcohol poisoning is very common amongst underage drinkers.

Studies have shown that people under the age of 20 typically consume up to five drinks per sitting, large quantities of alcohol can overwhelm the body’s natural ability to break down, metabolize, and clear alcohol from the bloodstream.

What to Do If Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning

You should call 911 immediately if you suspect someone is showing signs or symptoms of alcohol overdose or poisoning.

Things can worsen and quickly become deadly, paramedics and doctors can save their life. While waiting for emergency responders to arrive, your 911 operator may instruct you to lay the person on their side to prevent choking.

After the immediate threat of alcohol, overdose has been overcome, treatment is required to address the alcohol use disorder.

Most Treatment Centers offer alcohol treatment and detox services to help people overcome struggles with alcoholism and binge drinking.

How Long Do Alcohol Poisoning Effects Last?

Alcohol poisoning effects can last anywhere from 12 hours to 5 days.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms Next Day and Beyond

Here are signs to know if you have alcohol poisoning the next day:

  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Low body temperature
  • Coma
  • Irregular breathing
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Mental confusion
  • Incoherent

What Happens With Alcohol Poisoning?

In the event of severe or mild alcohol poisoning, you must call for help immediately.

You should keep the person in an upright position and keep them awake while waiting for help to arrive or they could go into a comma.

Do not leave them alone for any minute. Once at the hospital, he or she will be treated based on how severe the event is.

They will likely need I.V. fluids and glucose. They may also be placed on a breathing tube until normal breathing is restored. In some cases, the stomach may need to be pumped to quickly remove the alcohol contents from the system.

Deaths have been known to occur when a person vomits and cannot expel it, leading to choking on the vomit.

Some of the after-effects of alcohol addiction include brain damage, hypothermia, or low blood sugar.

Alcohol poisoning can impact the liver, pancreas, and stomach, causing inflammation. Alcohol poisoning symptoms the next day may involve a severe hangover as the body attempts to become more stable.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms Vs Drunk

How Much Would You Have to Drink to get Alcohol Poisoning?

Males would have to rapidly consume consumes five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours, or a female rapidly consumes at least four drinks within two hours to get alcohol poisoning.

If you survive it’s after effects, you will suffer the binge over hours or for several days.

Mild Alcohol Poisoning

The signs and symptoms of mild alcohol poisoning are similar to alcohol withdrawal symptoms and they include:

  • Sweating profusely
  • Hand tremors
  • Shakiness
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.

ALSO SEE: What Happens When You Drink Alcohol Everyday, then Stop?

How do You Fix Minor Alcohol Poisoning?

  • Call 911 immediately and ask for help
  • Keep them awake in an upright position
  • Provide them water to sip and stay hydrated while they are awake
  • Keep them warm: Cover them with a warm blanket.

Can You Die From Alcohol Poisoning The Day After?

Yes! You can die from alcohol poisoning the day after if it is too much for your body to handle or process.

Alcohol Poisoning; When To Go To Hospital

If the person is unconscious, breathing less than eight times a minute, or has repeated, uncontrolled vomiting, call 911 immediately.

If the person is conscious, call 800-222-1222 (in the U.S.) and you’ll automatically be routed to your local poison control center

Author: Dr. Janet Hicks

Dr. Janet Hicks is an addiction medicine physician trained and certified to provide comprehensive care for addiction and substance-related disorders, including the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of such health conditions. With more than 25 years of experience, Doctor Janet Hicks helps you by providing all information required to educate yourself about substance detox and recovery.

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