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What Are the Signs of Alcohol Intoxication?

The amount of alcohol the body can tolerate varies from person to person. If you exceed this tolerance level, chances are you will suffer from alcohol intoxication or drunkenness. Signs or symptoms which indicate an individual may be drinking include the following:

  • Behavioral changes such as being too aggressive, cheerful, loud and animated
  • Having trouble staying awake
  • Looking confused or having difficulties remembering things
  • Swaying or walking unsteadily
  • Jerky movements
  • Slurred speech
  • Blacking out
  • Flushed face
  • Sweating
  • Complaining of headaches or dizziness

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A person who appears to be intoxicated or drunk should be checked for confirmation. This is because there could be other reasons why the person is exhibiting such symptoms. One possible explanation for such behavior is an illness. Without proper medical assessment, it would be hard to distinguish symptoms of intoxication from certain diseases or health conditions such as low blood sugar, concussion, and even pulmonary embolism.

Degrees of Intoxication

  • Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, a person can experience varying levels of intoxication. Based on blood-alcohol level or blood-alcohol concentration, you might exhibit the following symptoms:
  • Euphoria – for BAC Definition of the word BAC ranging between .03 and .12 percent, characterized by increased sociability.
  • Lethargy - for BAC ranging between .09 and .25 percent, characterized by delayed reactions.
  • Confusion - for BAC ranging between .18 and .30 percent, characterized by staggering.
  • Stupor - for BAC ranging between .25 and .40 percent, characterized by decreased heart rate.
  • Coma - for BAC ranging between. 35 and .50 percent, characterized by unconsciousness.

Taking Care of an Intoxicated Individual

A person who is suffering from mild alcohol intoxication can be taken home and monitored. In addition, you will need to make sure that the person is kept away from dangerous machines and from driving. You also need to ask the person if any medication or illegal drug was ingested together with the alcohol. To rule out injuries or illnesses, you should check the individual’s responsiveness.

In extreme cases, treatment for alcohol intoxication will require the following:

  • Medication for nausea, anxiety or tremors
  • Dialysis
  • Dextrose
  • electrolytes Definition of the word electrolytes
  • Administration of thiamine

Laws governing alcohol intoxication are different in each country. In Canada, if you drive while under the influence of alcohol, you can be charged with impaired driving. A blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent is considered to be the legal limit and if caught for the first time; you can be fined $600 Canadian and not allowed to drive for a period of one to three years. A second offense means 14 days of jail time and driving restrictions for as long as five years.

There is good alcohol treatment detox in Alberta where you can be safely taken off the alcohol.

References: http://www.drugs.com/cg/alcohol-intoxication.html

Meet an Expert

Sylvain Fournier

Sylvain Fournier | Bio

Across Canada, there are many different treatment options to choose from, private, government-funded, inpatient, and outpatient. See More