Can You Overdose on Alcohol?

You hear it all the time: “Everything in moderation.” You may have heard it pertaining to food, video games, and just about everything! Too much of something usually doesn’t turn out well. This goes for drugs and alcohol. Too much of a substance can lead to an overdose. And even though alcohol is socially accepted, that doesn’t mean it can’t have life-threatening effects. If you drink too much alcohol in a short amount of time, you can and will overdose on alcohol, also referred to as alcohol poisoning.

Can You Overdose on Alcohol?

What is an Alcohol Overdose?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), an alcohol overdose occurs when there is so much alcohol in the bloodstream that areas of the brain that control essential life-support functions—such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control—begin to shut down. Symptoms of alcohol overdose include mental confusion, difficulty remaining conscious, vomiting, seizure, trouble breathing, slow heart rate, clammy skin, dulled responses such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking), and shallow body temperature. Alcohol overdose can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

Too much drinking can be hazardous to everyone’s health! It can be particularly stressful if you are the sober one taking care of your drunk roommate, who is vomiting while trying to study for an exam.

College Drinking Leads to Alcohol Poisoning

College is supposed to be the time of your life. When you have some independence and get away from home while getting an education to secure your future, a lot of socializing goes along with that—socializing that usually involves a lot of drinking and peer pressure. You hear it every year; a hazing that went wrong; A teen that died from overdosing on alcohol or alcohol poisoning.

While you are at a party or out at a bar, you may laugh at the behavior of others who are drunk. Some think it’s even funnier when they pass out. But there is nothing funny about the aspiration of vomit leading to asphyxiation or the poisoning of the respiratory center in the brain, both of which can result in death.

When you notice your friend who may have drank too much, you think of ways to help sober them up. Most of these ways are common myths about sobering up, including drinking black coffee, taking a cold bath or shower, sleeping it off, or walking it off. But these are just myths, and they don’t work. The only thing that reverses the effects of alcohol is time-something you may not have if you are suffering from an alcohol overdose. And many different factors affect the level of intoxication of an individual, so it isn’t easy to gauge exactly how much is too much.

Who Can Overdose on Alcohol?

The National Institute on Drugs and Alcohol (NIH) states that anyone can overdose on alcohol. Anyone who consumes too much alcohol too quickly may be in danger of an alcohol overdose. This is especially true of individuals who engage in binge drinking, defined as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .08 percent or higher, typically occurring after a woman consumes four drinks or a man consumes five drinks in about 2 hours; as well as extreme binge drinking (also known as high-intensity drinking), defined as drinking two or more times the binge-drinking thresholds for women and men.

We Are Here to Help with Alcoholism

Stay alert to keep your friends and family safe. And remember—you can avoid the risk of an alcohol overdose by drinking responsibly if you choose to drink or by not drinking at all. But if you know a family member or a loved one at risk of alcohol overdoes because of excessive drinking, we at Allure Detox can get them on the right track.

We deliver safe, compassionate, and highly individualized care on a medical basis. Remember that no one has to stay addicted. We’re available around the clock to consult with you. We’ll explain to you exactly how our inpatient alcohol detox works. More importantly, we’ll listen to your concerns and answer your questions. You’ll feel better just by calling a professional who truly cares. You’ll hang up the phone and go back to your life feeling hopeful, confident that Allure Detox will get you or your loved one’s life back on track.