What is alcohol poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning is an overdose caused by drinking a large volume of alcoholic beverages over a short time period. One common cause of alcohol poisoning is binge drinking, which is the rapid ingestion of several alcoholic drinks one after another. When heavy drinking causes blood alcohol levels to climb high enough, coma or death can result. Therefore, urgent treatment at a hospital emergency department is necessary. If you believe someone has suffered alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately.

 Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
Emergency Medicine

Poisoning from any substance is attained when that substance impairs any of your body's normal abilities to function. Alcohol can do this at various amounts dependent on the person's size and the person's liver's ability to function.

Here I am not talking about low alcohol consumption which has positive cardiac and sleep effects just to name two benefits.

Large amounts taken within a short period of time causes poisoning and even death by suppressing breathing. All of us have different tolerances and liver function so the exact amount that would be considered poisoning for one may not be for another.
As with any poison effects start to show and worsen dependent on amount and time from exposure. It takes time to be absorbed into circulation travel to your organs and cause alterations in function. In the brain it suppresses mental alertness, effecting response time and coordination. A hangover is a mild form of alcohol poisoning commonly helped with hydration. 

Continue Learning about Poisoning

Are Your Grandkids at Risk From Your Meds?
Are Your Grandkids at Risk From Your Meds?
Three generations of Matthews have played in the NFL: Clay Matthews, Sr., played four seasons for the San Francisco 49ers. His eldest son, Clay Matthe...
Read More
Is aluminum harmful?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Aluminum is a metallic element that is found combined with other elements in the earth's crust. It i...
More Answers
How can I prevent severe poisoning?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Follow these rules to prevent poisoning:• Choose products in containers that are hard for children t...
More Answers
What forms can poison take?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
In order to know when and how to treat someone who has come into contact with a poisonous substance,...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.