How Alcohol can kill you


Alcohol kills about 3 million people worldwide, that is 1 person every 10 seconds!  Alcohol impairs the user’s judgement, cognitive actions, inhibits excessive risk-taking and increases aggressive tendencies, and other actions that reduces the ability to make decisions that could lead to an accident or death.  This article is about how alcohol can kill you!

Quick Facts

  • In 2013, 10,073 people died in drunk driving crashes.
  • Acute alcohol poisoning kills over 1,000 people each year
  • 18,146 people died in 2013 of alcoholic liver disease
  • In 2013, there were 29,001 alcohol-induced deaths (excluding accidents and homicides)
  • In 2010, over 50% of fire deaths had high blood-alcohol levels
  • A quarter of all emergency room admissions, 1/3 of suicides, and more than half of homicides and domestic violence have been results of alcohol related incidents

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is when someone consumes more alcohol in less time than intended for their body weight.  The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines “binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours.”

This type of drinking will raise the BAC and make the drinker drunk very fast.  Drinking the same amount over several of hours, with food, will not effect the BAC the same way.

Binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning.

how alcohol can kill you

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is also known as, Acute Alcohol Intoxication.  It is when the drinker consumes a very large amount of any alcoholic beverage.  Women have a higher chance of getting alcohol poisoning, because of the difference in body chemistry.

When alcohol is consumed, it slows down some body functions, including the heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing.  If enough alcohol is ingested, the drinker can become unconscious.  If the drinker becomes unconscious, they have drank enough alcohol that it becomes dangerously close to fatality.  Alcohol poisoning can result in brain damage.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), critical signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Passed out, unconscious or semiconscious.
  • Slow respiration (breaths) of eight or less per minute, or lapses between respiration of more than eight seconds.
  • Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin.
  • Vomiting is a sign of alcohol poisoning and can cause choking, asphyxiation and death.

how alcohol can kill you

Drinking and Driving

After someone has consumed alcohol and then drives, they could kill not only their self, but someone else.  After consuming alcohol, a driver decreases their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.  The more alcohol consumed, the greater the effect on the driver.  There are many factors that depend on the person, how fast they may have consumed the alcohol, weight, gender, and even down to the amount of food that is in their stomach.  It is advisable to not drink and drive at all!

Reckless Behavior and False Bravery

When heavy under the influence of alcohol, some people feel that they are completely invincible to everything!  They may become over confidence or a massive boost in bravery.  This could lead to violence or trying to do something dangerous, all possibly resulting in death.

For example, this man who was drinking in a tree and died because he fell and impaled himself on a metal, spike fence.

Domestic Violence

This may go in hand with reckless behavior, but there are reports of domestic violence that have been linked to alcohol.  Domestic violence could happen to the spouses, children, or any other relatives living in the home.  The death could be a result of the abuser, because the victim is defending their self or the victim dies of the domestic violence.  It is also possible the drunken abuser could murder a member of the home, because they acted in such a violent way.

how alcohol can kill you

Impaired Reflexes and Poor Balance

A drunk person’s reflexes are impaired after consuming alcohol. It is dangerous for a drunk person to walk along where very fast, moving vehicles may be operating at.  This could result in poor balance and they fall in front of a car and they may have a delayed reaction time from getting out of the way.  There have been deaths resulting in falling down a flight of stairs or even from just standing and falling while hitting a vital part of the body just right.

how alcohol can kill you

Health Issues

There are some health issues that could lead to a death due to alcohol.  Consuming alcohol over long period of time can really take it’s toll.  Alcohol consumption can increase the chances of a stroke, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, and even esophageal cancer.

Combining alcohol with other drugs can result in death.  Alcohol and pain medication, tranquilizers, and sleep medications can be a very dangerous combination, because it slows down the person respiratory and they could even choke on their vomit.

how alcohol can kill you

How alcohol can kill you could be categorized in many different ways!  If you would like to speak with someone about your alcoholic problem or about someone you care about, please contact Bridgeway Behavioral Health at!

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