Blurred Lines: The Difference Between Fun and Fatal

Ask any seasoned bartender or party-hardened college student, and chances are that they have been a witness to many of “over-consumption episodes” both in bars and on campus. Not everybody handles their liquor the same, but no matter what your behavior while consuming alcohol, it is important to make safety your number one priority. Today, we would like to share some important information about how to tell if someone is over-intoxicated, what to do to help a friend that is drunk and also how to drink socially while still living a healthy lifestyle.


“I’m not that drunk…”

Physical signs are usually the most obvious. Some of these physical signs of over-indulgence include:

  • Poor eye contact ability

  • Poor motor function

  • Slurred speech

  • Inability to walk/stumbling

Any combination of these signs usually indicates over intoxication.

Alcohol has the ability to turn your best friend into an enemy so you must be aware of the behavioral changes that can occur as well as the physical changes. When people become too drunk, they might behave in an erratic, aggressive or withdrawn manner. They might say or do things that they wouldn’t normally say or do. Keep an eye out for anything that seems unusual or out of the ordinary for that person’s character.

A Fine Line

There comes a point in a drinking timeline where a person might take it a little too far. They may have displayed all the symptoms mentioned above and are now headed towards alcohol poisoning. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Shortness of breath; slowed or stopped breathing

  • Irregularity in heartbeat

  • Hypothermia/hypoglycemia can result in seizures or organ failure

  • Dehydration leading to vomiting

  • Paleness or bluish skin color

  • Unconsciousness

“I got you, bro.”

So what do you do if someone you’re with seems like they may be suffering from alcohol poisoning? If you have been drinking, find a sober person and make them aware of the situation. Decision making while intoxicated usually doesn’t end well, so it’s best to have a sober person decide which steps need to be taken.

The first thing you should do is make sure the person is relaxed. However, if they would like to lie down MAKE SURE THEY LAY ON THEIR SIDE. An over-intoxicated individual who lies on their back may vomit and cause themselves to choke, leading to unconsciousness or death.

Monitor their breathing and heartbeat; if you are uneasy and unsure, do not be afraid to call 911—the consequences of doing so are much worse than calling for an emergency vehicle. They are here to help!

Some drinkers believe that there are methods you can implement to sober a person up: water, showering, food, etc. However, time is the ONLY method that works. If you are able to get the person to drink water it is never a bad idea, but it will not sober them up. Many people believe that if you can get them to eat something like bread or crackers, it will at least help their stomach ache in the morning, but, again, it will NOT make them sober.

Stay Classy

Although drinking has its consequences, it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle while being a drinker. Save it for occasions! Or even the weekends—when you start to drink too frequently it can have hazardous effects on your health, family and work. PACE YOURSELF! Generally most people find that if drinking a glass of water for every beer/shot/drink you have slows you down, so that you are less likely to become intoxicated. If you keep this in mind, while also being conscientious of the consequences of drinking, you can keep a balance between drinking and your other responsibilities.

There are several variables involved in evaluating if a person is over intoxicated or has alcohol poisoning. What can you do to ensure you and your friends are safe while drinking?

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