Binge Drinking Dangers: Alcoholic Poisoning

What’s your idea of the dinner party from hell? Perhaps it’s having your mother-in-law or your bullying boss round for tea. Or maybe it’s a potentially wonderful evening getting ruined by a burnt meal that you’ve slaved over for hours (and probably worried about for weeks!).

One dinner party host who has nothing but dreadful memories of what was supposed to be “an enjoyable night to remember for family and friends” is Katie – a 34-year-old data analyst in Oxfordshire:

“It wasn’t the food that was the problem; it was the drink. And I don’t mean a couple of the guests having a glass of wine too many and ending up squabbling or getting up to all sorts of crazy pranks around the house or out in the street. What happened at the dinner party I threw in the summer of 2012 was much more serious than that. It actually ended up with an ambulance being called.”

At the dinner, Katie’s sister-in-law, Pia, drank so much that she suffered alcoholic poisoning.

“It was horrendous,” Katie explains. “We all noticed Pia drinking excessively as the night went on, but all our attempts to get her to slow down fell on deaf ears. Urging her to get a grip that night resulted in her drinking even more! When the paramedics arrived in the small hours and asked us how much Pia had had to drink, none of us could answer accurately. She just seemed to drink the house dry, to be quite honest.”

Lethal consequences
Any liquid that can potentially have lethal consequences can be categorised as a poison. Therefore, alcohol is a poison. It can pollute and destroy. But only when not imbibed sensibly, i.e. to recommended levels.

When the amount of alcohol in someone’s bloodstream is dangerously high, they are at same risk of death as someone suffering a heart attack, a collapsed lung, or any other type of life-threatening condition where only an emergency response could possibly save their life.

Every week throughout the UK, 600+ people are admitted to hospital due to alcohol poisoning. Typical symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Irregular or slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
  • Blue-tinged or pale skin
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Stupor – when someone’s conscious but unresponsive
  • Unconsciousness – passing out

Source: Drink

All these are signs of possible acute alcohol poisoning – a condition from which over 170 people lost their lives in England last year.


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