Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol Poisoning

Binge drinking and especially excessive drinking in a very short period of time can be the cause of acute alcohol poisoning.  As the average body is able to process roughly one unit of alcohol per hour drinking an excessive amount within a short amount of time causes the levels of alcohol in the blood to become dangerously high resulting in alcohol poisoning.  Alcohol poisoning can cause the heart to stop beating; victims may be unable to breathe and could possibly choke on their own vomit.

There is no minimum dose of alcohol required in order for alcohol poisoning to occur as it depends on age, sex, size, weight, how much food has been eaten, whether other drugs have been used and how fast someone has been drinking. Alcohol is known to affect the nerves that control the heartbeat, breathing and gag reflex.

If the gag reflex is not working it is possible to die from choking or accidentally inhaling vomit into the lungs.

The symptoms of alcohol poisoning are:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Blue-tinged or pale skin
  • Seizures
  • Stupor (being conscious but unresponsive
  • Irregular or slow breathing (less than 8 breaths a minute)
  • Unconsciousness
  • Low body temperature

Alcohol poisoning can be fatal or lead to coma and brain damage. In extreme cases victims

  • Stop breathing
  • Have a heart attack
  • Vomit
  • Choke on their vomit
  • Inhale vomit which will can lead to serious lung damage

If you come across someone who has alcohol poisoning there are some do’s and don’ts that
you should follow:


  • Call 999 – you could be saving a life.
  • Try to keep them sitting up and awake.
  • Keep them warm.
  • Stay with them and keep track of their
  • Give them water if they can drink it (not
    too much).
  • If they pass out lay them on their side
    in the recovery position.


  • Give them coffee (It will cause further
  • Walk them around.
  • Put them under a cold shower.
  • Let them drink more alcohol.
  • Leave them alone at any time.
  • Allow them to lie on their back.