How Long Does Alcohol Poisoning Last? What You Need to Know

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Every year, around 2,467 people die from alcohol poisoning. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to this condition. However, how long does alcohol poisoning last? 

The answer might surprise you. While the immediate effects can be resolved, there are long-term consequences. 

Keep reading to learn more about alcohol poisoning and how to get help. 

What Is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning occurs when excessive amounts of alcohol are consumed in a short period. It is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Unlike a typical hangover, which may leave you feeling groggy or nauseous, alcohol poisoning is much more serious.

When we consume alcohol, it enters our bloodstream and affects various organs in our body. The liver plays a crucial role in metabolizing alcohol. However, when we drink excessively, the organ struggles to keep up with the detoxification process.

As a result, toxic byproducts build up in the body and can lead to alcohol poisoning.

How Many Drinks Are Safe? 

When considering how many drinks are safe, it’s essential to listen to your body and know your limits. Different individuals may have varied tolerances for alcohol. What might be considered safe for one person may not be for another.

It’s always advisable to follow guidelines provided by reputable sources such as government health organizations or consult with healthcare professionals if you have any concerns. 

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

 Knowing the symptoms of alcohol poisoning is crucial in order to recognize a potentially life-threatening situation. The signs of alcohol poisoning can vary depending on the individual.

Confusion or Disorientation

Someone experiencing alcohol poisoning may appear confused. They may struggle to speak clearly or seem unaware of their surroundings.


Another telltale sign is vomiting. If someone has consumed excessive amounts of alcohol and starts vomiting uncontrollably, it could be a sign that they are suffering from alcohol poisoning.

Slow or Irregular Breathing

If you notice someone taking shallow breaths or struggling to breathe properly after drinking heavily, it’s important to seek medical help immediately. This could indicate a severe case of alcohol poisoning.

Skin Color

Pale or bluish skin color and seizures are also potential indicators that an individual may be experiencing this dangerous condition. Remember that these symptoms should never be ignored or taken lightly; prompt action can save lives.

Long-Term Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Excessive alcohol consumption can have severe long-term effects on the body. Even after recovering from alcohol poisoning, individuals may experience ongoing symptoms that can be detrimental to their health and well-being.

Liver Damage

The liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol. Excessive drinking over time can lead to inflammation and scarring, known as alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis. 

This can impair the liver’s ability to function properly and may result in serious complications such as liver failure.

Brain Damage

Alcohol has a toxic impact on brain cells. This can lead to the following:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty with coordination and balance

These effects may become more pronounced over time if excessive drinking continues.


This condition can be fatal if not treated promptly. If you’re experiencing symptoms of alcohol poisoning, contact your local emergency services. 

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System? 

It’s important to note that even after you’ve stopped drinking and appear sober again, there may still be traces of alcohol in your blood and urine for several hours. In fact, some tests can detect alcohol up to 24 hours after consumption.

Men vs. Women

Women tend to have a lower tolerance for alcohol than men. This is because they typically have a higher percentage of body fat and lower levels of certain enzymes that help break down alcohol. This means that alcohol is more concentrated in their blood compared to men who may have a similar amount of drinks.


The rate at which your body metabolizes alcohol can vary from person to person. Generally speaking, the liver processes about one standard drink per hour. However, this can be influenced by various factors such as age, weight, and overall health.

Type and Amount of Alcohol

Additionally, the type and amount of alcohol consumed will also affect how long it stays in your system. Different alcoholic beverages have varying levels of alcohol content, with spirits typically having a higher concentration than beer or wine.

Drinking History

Chronic heavy drinkers or individuals with liver damage may take longer to eliminate alcohol from their bodies compared to occasional drinkers.

This is because the liver is responsible for breaking down and metabolizing alcohol in the body. Chronic heavy drinking can lead to inflammation and scarring of the liver, also known as cirrhosis. This damage can impair the liver’s ability to function properly, including its ability to break down alcohol.

How Long Does Alcohol Poisoning Last? 

When it comes to alcohol poisoning, one question that often arises is: how long does it last? The duration of alcohol poisoning can vary depending on several factors, including the amount of alcohol consumed and the individual’s overall health.

Typically, the effects of alcohol poisoning can last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. 

Getting Help for a Drinking Problem

The first step towards recovery is acknowledging that there is a problem. If you drink too much or can’t control how much you drink, you should seek professional help.

There are numerous resources available for individuals seeking support and treatment for alcohol abuse.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a support group that provides a safe and non-judgmental space. People can share their experiences and get guidance from others in similar situations.

Additionally, seeking the assistance of a healthcare professional or addiction specialist can provide valuable insight into personalized treatment options. 

Start Your Path to Recovery Online

How long does alcohol poisoning last? There is no clear-cut answer. Get treatment as soon as possible and let professionals guide you. 

Are you struggling with excessive drinking? Treatment can help. Recovery Delivered offers evidence-based, patient-centric care. 

We remove barriers to treatment by providing online access to care. Download our app and start treatment today. 

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