We Have Beds Available! Call for Same Day Admission.855-722-6926
We Have Beds Available! Call For Same Day Admission. 855-722-6926

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms vs. Drunk Symptoms

Are They Drunk or Overdosing on Alcohol?

Understanding the critical distinction between alcohol poisoning symptoms and the typical signs of being drunk is paramount for individuals who have encountered or are currently grappling with alcohol abuse. The experts at Banyan’s addiction treatment facilities recognize the urgency of providing clarity and guidance on this crucial subject. We have drawn a clear distinction between alcohol poisoning symptoms vs. drunk symptoms to empower those in need to recognize the red flags of a potentially life-threatening condition. Knowledge, we believe, is the first step toward recovery, and it is our mission to equip you with the information that can make all the difference in your journey toward a healthier, alcohol-free life.

What Is Alcohol Poisoning?

Also known as alcohol overdose, alcohol poisoning occurs when a person consumes an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period, leading to potentially life-threatening consequences. Alcohol overdose is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate attention.

When an individual consumes alcohol at a rate that their body cannot metabolize, alcohol poisoning occurs. Key signs of alcohol overdose include:

  • Mental confusion or stupor
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
  • Unconsciousness or an inability to wake up
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Many don’t realize that alcohol poisoning can lead to severe complications such as respiratory depression and aspiration (inhaling vomit into the lungs), and, in severe cases, it can be fatal.

Alcohol Poisoning vs. Drunk: What’s the Difference?

Alcohol poisoning symptoms vs. drunk symptoms are distinct states often confused due to their shared connection with alcohol consumption. However, recognizing the differences between the two is essential for your well-being or the well-being of a loved one. Below, we will delve into the key differences between being drunk and alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms

  • Hypothermia: A drop in body temperature, manifesting as paleness and cold, clammy skin, is a significant indicator of alcohol poisoning.
  • Mental confusion: Those experiencing alcohol poisoning may exhibit severe confusion or stupor, often to the point of being unable to communicate or respond appropriately
  • Seizures: In some cases, alcohol poisoning can lead to seizures, a severe and alarming symptom.
  • Slowed or irregular breathing: Respiratory depression can occur, leading to dangerously slow or irregular breathing patterns
  • Unconsciousness: Individuals may lose consciousness or be unable to awaken, even when vigorously shaken.
  • Vomiting: Frequent and persistent vomiting, sometimes with no apparent improvement, is a common symptom of alcohol poisoning.

Drunk Symptoms

  • Euphoria or excitability: Intoxication often results in heightened mood, increased sociability, and a sense of euphoria.
  • Flushed skin: Blood vessels dilate when drinking, causing flushed or reddened skin.
  • Impaired coordination: Being drunk commonly leads to clumsiness, slurred speech, and poor motor skills.
  • Nausea and vomiting: While vomiting can occur when drunk, it is typically less severe and persistent than in alcohol poisoning.
  • Slurred speech: Difficulty articulating words and forming coherent sentences is a classic sign of drunkenness.

It is crucial to grasp these differences, as alcohol poisoning demands immediate medical attention, while drunkenness often simply requires time and rest. Understanding these distinctions can be lifesaving, and seeking treatment for alcohol misuse is the path to a healthier, addiction-free future.

Can You Get Alcohol Poisoning Without Being Drunk?

Yes, it is possible to get alcohol poisoning without exhibiting the typical signs of being drunk. Alcohol intoxication is not the same as poisoning because alcohol poisoning is not solely dependent on the level of intoxication or the visible symptoms of drunkenness. Instead, it is primarily related to the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream and its effect on the body's vital functions.

Alcohol poisoning can occur if a person consumes a large quantity of alcohol rapidly, even if they do not appear visibly drunk. This is especially relevant in situations where individuals have built up a high tolerance to alcohol due to chronic or heavy drinking. In such cases, their body may not show the usual signs of drunkenness, such as slurred speech or impaired coordination, but they may still be at risk of alcohol poisoning.

The key indicators of alcohol poisoning are related to the body's physical response to alcohol, including symptoms like confusion, vomiting, slow or irregular breathing, hypothermia, unconsciousness, and seizures. These symptoms can be present without the person appearing visibly intoxicated.

It is essential to understand that anyone who has consumed a dangerous amount of alcohol, regardless of whether they seem drunk or not, should seek immediate medical attention. Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency, and timely intervention is critical to prevent life-threatening complications.

What to Do If Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning

If you suspect someone has overdosed on alcohol or is exhibiting symptoms, call 911 or your local emergency services immediately. Things can worsen and quickly become deadly, but doctors and paramedics can save their lives. While waiting for emergency responders to arrive, your 911 operator may instruct you to lay the person on their side to prevent choking.

After the immediate threat of alcohol overdose has been dealt with, treatment is needed to address the alcohol use disorder. At Banyan Treatment Centers, we offer alcohol addiction treatment and detox services to help people overcome struggles with alcoholism and binge drinking.

For more information about our addiction treatment services, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 or reach out to us online to schedule a one-on-one consultation.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.