What are the clinical indications of alcohol poisoning?

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Excessive consumption of alcohol over a short span of time can overwhelm and eventually poison the body. Always remember that binge drinking poses as a risk for alcohol poisoning. It is important that you know how to recognize the indications of alcohol poisoning so that medical treatment can be started in order to minimize the risk of damage to the brain, lasting lung injury or even death.

Confusion and stupor

It is important to note that alcohol is considered as a central nervous system depressant. Once the blood level of alcohol rises, the depressant effect on the brain heightens. Even though intoxicated individuals manifest altered brain function, alcohol poisoning can cause severe level of brain impairment.

Confusion is a vital indication of alcohol poisoning. An individual suspected with alcohol poisoning might not be aware of his/her location, how he/she got there and other orienting details. Confusion eventually progresses to stupor which is characterized by the evident decrease in the consciousness and inability to interact. An individual under stupor is barely conscious and unlikely to physically or verbally respond to questions.

Alcohol poisoning
Continuous or violent vomiting is a usual indication of alcohol poisoning. The quick increase of blood alcohol instigates the vomiting reaction.


Continuous or violent vomiting is a usual indication of alcohol poisoning. The quick increase of blood alcohol instigates the vomiting reaction. Take note that this reaction can manifest even among those who already lost consciousness. An individual who vomits while unconscious can choke on the stomach contents or even inhale them, causing lung injury. An individual suspected with alcohol poisoning must be placed in a sitting position or on his/her side to prevent choking on the vomit. You can learn more about first aid measures to perform by enrolling in a first aid class today.

Discoloration of the skin

Bluish or pale skin can indicate alcohol poisoning. The skin will become cool and clammy due to the reduced body temperature. An individual who is intoxicated with pale, cool skin should be given immediate medical care.

Reduced or erratic breathing

Always bear in mind that alcohol causes a suppressing effect on the respiratory control center in the brain. Once the blood alcohol level increases, the breathing rate drops. Irregular or slow breathing is an indicative sign of alcohol poisoning. A breathing rate that is slower than eight breaths in a minute or breathing ceases for 10 or more seconds, it is a medical emergency.

Loss of consciousness

Stupor induced by alcohol frequently progresses to unconsciousness or coma. The individual appears asleep but could not be awakened. An individual under a state of coma with alcohol poisoning faces a higher risk since the alcohol level can continue to climb as the alcohol is still being absorbed from the GI tract. Medical care is required for those who have been drinking and experiences confusion, stupor or loss of consciousness. As long as treatment is provided early, it can lead to a good outcome for the individual.

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