Blood Alcohol Level: MedlinePlus Medical Test

Underlying problems or injuries can easily lead to a coma after a person drinks too much. Alcohol poisoning carries serious health risks and may require immediate medical attention.

stages of alcohol intoxication symptoms

When BAC reaches high levels, blackouts , loss of consciousness , and death can occur. Alcohol use and taking opioids or sedative-hypnotics, such as sleep and anti-anxiety medications, can increase your risk of an overdose. Examples of these medications include sleep aids such as zolpidem and eszopiclone, and benzodiazepines such as diazepam and alprazolam. Even drinking alcohol while taking over-the-counter antihistamines can be dangerous.

Factors of Alcohol Poisoning

These age groups are among the highest risk population for binge drinking and may not have experience with the effects of alcohol, making them more likely to overdrink. While recovering from alcohol poisoning, it is important to stay hydrated and to avoid drinking more alcohol. A person with alcohol poisoning may vomit, which can be especially dangerous if they are laying down or are unaccompanied.

What should I do if I drank too much alcohol?

  1. Try to keep them awake and sitting up.
  2. Give them some water (and nothing else), if they can drink it.
  3. Lie them on their side in the recovery position if they've passed out, and check they're breathing properly.
  4. Keep them warm.
  5. Stay with them and monitor their symptoms.

Alcohol percentage is determined by the amount of alcohol consumed, the time in which the alcohol was consumed, and body weight. Eating prior to, or while drinking, may also temporarily influence BAC, reducing its effects. Typically, men require more alcohol to achieve the same BAC as women. Men require more alcohol to achieve these same effects because they are heavier and have a higher percentage of water per pound in their bodies. A person has alcohol poisoning if they have consumed a toxic amount of alcohol, usually over a short period.


Do not leave an intoxicated person alone, as he or she is at risk of getting injured from falling or choking. Keep the person on the ground in a sitting or partially upright position rather than in a chair.

  • For men, it is more than four drinks per day or 14 drinks per week.
  • Having some food in your stomach may slow alcohol absorption somewhat, although it won’t prevent alcohol poisoning if, for example, you’re binge drinking.
  • One of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning is hypothermia, so a cold shower will only cause the body’s temperature to fall further, leading to shock.
  • Alcohol intoxication leads to negative health effects due to the recent drinking of ethanol .
  • Even after being released, his body will still need to recover from the incident—it may affect mood, appetite, and brain function.
  • The goal of outpatient treatment is to provide therapy, education, and support in a flexible environment.

The first stage, called the neurologic phase, can occur in less than 1 hour after ingestion and lasts up to 12 hours. During this stage, the patient appears inebriated.

Risk factors

Thus, the patient may present simply inebriated or progressively more acidotic as renal failure, cardiovascular dysfunction, and coma develop. If vision is impaired, ocular examination may reveal dilated pupils that are minimally or unreactive to light with stages of alcohol intoxication hyperemia of the optic disc. Over several days, the red disc becomes pale, and the patient may become blind. Typically, subjective complaints precede physical findings in the eye. The patient may complain of headache, nausea, vomiting, or anorexia.

Why hangovers get worse as you age?

Yes, studies show that your body's ability to process alcohol gets less efficient as you age. Key body functions that help metabolize alcohol, like liver enzymes and total body water weight, tend to decrease with age.

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