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How Much Must You Drink to Cause Alcohol Poisoning?

Learn how much you'd have to drink to cause alcohol poisoning in this Howcast video featuring addictions specialist Paul J. Rinaldi, Ph.D.


People often want to know, "What is the amount that one needs to drink to cause alcohol poisoning?" That's a very difficult question, because there's many things that could contribute to alcohol poisoning. What you see often, just like in terms of people getting inebriated, you could have two people drinking together who are drinking the exact same amount of alcohol, and it can have a very different effect on one person versus the other. You could have someone who drinks two drinks and feels drunk, and someone else who drinks two drinks and doesn't even feel the effects at all. And why is that? Well, that's because, many reasons. One, because it may be body stature with the one person who feels the effect quickly may be a small person with very little body fat, and also may not drink very often. Whereas the other person may drink much more, and so have a higher tolerance to alcohol. They also [inaudible 00:01:04] bigger person where it takes longer for their body to metabolize the alcohol, and to feel the effects.

Well, that's true with alcohol poisoning, because alcohol poisoning is always over drinking, but over drinking is a relative term, the effects of over-drinking are different with individuals. So, it's a question that has to be answered through the individual again, based on many, many things, their body stature, and the amount of alcohol they normally consume. When people go to the hospital with alcohol poisoning, it's usually because in that episode of drinking they've ingested a large amount more than they've ever have in the past.

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