Alcohol Awareness

What Happens to Your Body When You Get Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (which prevents choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions.

It is common for someone who drank excessive amounts of alcohol to vomit since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach. There is then the danger of choking on vomit, which could cause death by asphyxiation in a person who is unconscious because of intoxication.

A person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even while he or she is passed out. Even after a person stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. It is dangerous to assume the person will be fine by “sleeping it off.”

Click to learn about the signs & symptoms of alcohol poisoning and what to do if you suspect a friend or peer of having alcohol poisoning. 


Source: CollegeDrinkingPrevention.gov, created by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).