In addition to checking for visible signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning, your doctor will likely order blood and urine tests to check blood alcohol levels and identify other signs of alcohol toxicity, such as low blood sugar.
Alcohol poisoning treatment usually involves supportive care while your body rids itself of the alcohol. This typically includes:
- Careful monitoring
- Prevention of breathing or choking problems
- Oxygen therapy
- Fluids given through a vein (intravenously) to prevent dehydration
- Use of vitamins and glucose to help prevent serious complications of alcohol poisoning
Adults and children who have accidentally consumed methanol or isopropyl alcohol may need hemodialysis — a mechanical way of filtering waste and toxins from your system — to speed the removal of alcohol from their bloodstream.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Home remedies for alcohol poisoning won't work. This is an emergency situation.
You can't reverse the effects of alcohol poisoning, and you could actually make things worse through some actions. Here's what doesn't work:
- Sleeping it off — you can lose consciousness while asleep
- Black coffee or caffeine ― this does not counteract the effects of alcohol poisoning
- A cold shower — the shock of cold can cause a loss of consciousness
- Walking it off ― this does not increase the speed at which alcohol leaves your body
July 21, 2016
- Overview of alcohol consumption. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- Alcohol overdose: The dangers of drinking too much. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/AlcoholOverdoseFactsheet/Overdosefact.htm. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- A word about alcohol poisoning. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-poisoning. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- Alcohol poisoning deaths. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/alcohol-poisoning-deaths/. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- Drinking too much too fast can kill you. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. https://www.ncadd.org/images/stories/PDF/DrinkingTooMuchTooFastCanKillYou-NCADD.pdf. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- Alcohol. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/alcohol.html. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- Cowan E, et al. Ethanol intoxication in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- Baum CR. Ethanol intoxication in children: Epidemiology, estimation of toxicity, and toxic effects. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- Alcohol toxicity and withdrawal. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/special-subjects/recreational-drugs-and-intoxicants/alcohol-toxicity-and-withdrawal. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- Sivilotti MLA. Isopropyl alcohol poisoning. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- Sivilotti MLA, et al. Methanol and ethylene glycol poisoning. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- Risk and protective factors. Youth.gov. http://youth.gov/youth-topics/substance-abuse/risk-and-protective-factors-substance-use-abuse-and-dependence. Accessed June 20, 2016.
- Alcohol use in older people. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/alcohol-use-older-people. Accessed June 21, 2016.