Stages Of Being Drunk: What Are The Levels of Intoxication

What Are The Levels of Intoxication

Alcohol has become so much a part of human society that it could be found practically everywhere in the world, even in places where it is supposedly culturally prohibited.

As such, it’s no wonder that so many have developed a heavy dependence on it. The irony of chronic alcoholic intake is that so many look forward to it, and then as they go through the stages of being drunk, their thoughts vary from wanting to drink more as the depressant effect relaxes them, and later on never wanting to ever drink again as the toxicity makes them sick.

The morning after is usually the worst of it as dehydration gives a heavy feeling of being ill. For chronic heavy drinkers, however, this ill feeling does not seem to last long, as they look forward to being able to drink once more as soon as possible.

What Drives A Person to Drink So Much?

Drinking alcoholic beverages has become so ingrained in people that many studies have been done on it. It is, perhaps, the one recreational activity that so many people have devoted so much study, research, and understanding to, more than any other of its kind.

Thus, more academic studies have established at least three motives for why people drink so much, based on actual interviews done with chronic drinkers. Their reasons for doing so include:

Coping Mechanisms Against Stress

From the time that people unconsciously understood that stress needed relief, alcohol has always been the top go-to substance. The image of a person having a drink or two at the end of a taxing day has become iconic in practically every part of the world.

This practice of alcohol being a stress reliever even transcends age, social standing, and gender, as anyone who has simply had too much of the day would welcome glass of their preferred drink. Technically speaking, there is nothing in alcohol that would relieve a person of stress.

If anything else, drinking alcohol would only add even more stress to the body, as the toxicity affects every organ and body part that could be reached by it. The stress relief people feel from alcohol is more due to the depressant effect it has on the central nervous system. A person simply becomes too drunk to feel the stress they had previously, and the memory impairment that comes with inebriation gives them a reprieve from having to worry about things.

Response to Social Influences

Unless it is an event that specifically prohibits drinking alcohol of any kind, most gatherings will almost certainly have drinking in them. The presence and consumption of alcohol have become a defining point of most adult gatherings. This has become so commonplace that the lack of any alcohol at a social gathering could sometimes turn the entire thing into an awkward situation.

Studies done on this particular reason for drinking indicate that in most interviews, people would admit that they do not have a particular reason for drinking while present at such a social gathering. Most would admit that they took alcohol because everyone else in the event was doing it.

This kind of reasoning appears to resonate with the main reason why young adults would also choose to drink when at a social gathering of their peers: to fit in. This particular reason is why support groups for former alcoholics are among the most numerous peer support groups. Just as large groups of people who consume alcohol would influence the behavior of those around them, large groups of people who choose not to take alcohol are also seen to influence and strengthen the resolve of those who would like to avoid drinking.

Incidental Reaction to the Presence of Alcohol

This last reason why people drink alcohol might appear to be the most mundane, but for many, it is also the most honest response to the question of why they chose to drink alcohol: because it was there. This is particularly true for those who choose to drink alone and are not influenced by others to do so.

This also figures largely for those who get their alcohol from convenience stores to consume at home. These people drink alcohol not to drown out their stress or because they had other people visiting them. They could take a bottle of alcohol and consume it along with dinner, or while watching their favorite programs. It is just something that they have grown accustomed to. While these people might not fall into the category of binge drinkers such as those found in social gatherings, they do tend to regularly consume alcohol every day, during specific hours or activities.

What Are the Stages Of Being Drunk

What Are the Stages Of Being Drunk?

The effects of alcohol intoxication are cumulative, although the state of being intoxicated is somewhat dependent on the continued consumption of alcohol. After some time, the person will start to expel bodily liquids as the system tries to eliminate the toxicity caused by drinking, mostly through frequent urination.

The build-up to the point where toxicity becomes dangerous, however, is not an instantaneous process. There are stages that a person goes through while drinking alcohol to get to the high levels of toxicity that could be life-threatening.

These stages of alcohol intoxication are as follows:

Stage 1 - Low-level Intoxication

Also referred to as sobriety or subclinical intoxication, people at this level hardly seem to have taken alcohol at all, save for a few telltale signs, such as alcoholic breath, or in people who are prone to the symptom, flushed skin.

Relative to testing, people at this level usually have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01 – 0.05. This level could typically be achieved with as little as a single drink. Depending upon the threshold and tolerance of the person, there could be little to no discernible impairment at this stage due to alcohol.

Stage 2 - Euphoria

When a person achieves a BAC of 0.03 to 0.12, which loosely translates into one to four drinks for a woman or two to five drinks for a man (variations may occur due to body weight). At this stage, which most refer to as being “tipsy”, people will gradually experience a lessening of their natural inhibitions, and they could become more confident. talkative, and animated.

This is all due to the slight feeling of euphoria that most experience with this amount of alcohol in their system. Even at this early stage, the dangers brought on by alcohol become evident. Judgment, memory, alertness, and coordination will begin to become slightly to moderately impaired at this level, and many figures in vehicular accidents while in this stage because they mistakenly believed they had all their senses about them.

Stage 3 - Excitement

With an increased BAC of 0.09 to 0.25, the person now moves into stage 3 of intoxication, which is known as the excitement stage. Critical judgment becomes moderately impaired at this point, accompanied by a significant delay in reaction time.

People in this stage will also manifest these symptoms at this stage:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired perception
  • Blurred vision
  • Decreased peripheral vision
  • Delayed glare recovery
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

At this stage, people will be visibly drunk.

Stage 4 - Confusion

At stage four, where the BAC is at 0.18 to 0.30, people enter the confusion stage, which is when most people get into trouble with others. A marked change in attitude, emotions, and behavior becomes apparent, and the person manifests signs of being disoriented.

Severe disorientation, impaired memory, vision problems, and loss of balance all contribute to endangering the person, which is why people at this stage often figure in fights or acts of violence. At this stage, however, intoxicated people are more likely to hurt themselves than others, as by now their loss of balance is so severe that getting up and staying up is almost impossible.

Stage 5 - Stupor

When BAC hits 0.25 to 0.40, people are now in the stupor stage, where they become extremely intoxicated and are at great risk of alcohol poisoning. Depending on their existing condition, current health, and what they do during this stage, people are at a high risk of death.

The significant loss of motor function, greatly diminished vision, very slow response time, and highly impaired stimuli response all guarantee that if the person does not stay still and sit or lie down, they are highly likely to fall and suffer injury.

At this stage, people also tend to lose control of certain body functions, such as bladder and bowel movements, leading to embarrassing situations. Vomiting is also more frequent at this stage, which could be dangerous because the loss of consciousness is also highly likely at this stage. An unconscious person who vomits could suffocate on their vomit.

Stage 6 - Coma

At a BAC of 0.35 to 0.45, the likelihood of slipping into unconsciousness and becoming unresponsive to reviving is greatly increased. Breathing and heart rate become greatly decreased at this stage, and the body’s ability to regulate internal temperature fails, causing the body temperature to drop.

This stage is referred to as the coma stage because many who reach this stage slip into a coma. The toxicity in the body is so great that it causes severe impairment of all major functions, pushing the body to slowly shut down.

Stage 7 - Death

Once the body hits a BAC of 0.45 or more, death is almost a certainty. The toxicity in the body at this stage is so great that it is unable to sustain vital life functions, including the ability to breathe. This is the end of the levels of intoxication.

Take Your Life Back At Sana Lake BWC

It’s never too late to save yourself from the dire effects of chronic alcohol abuse. The damage could be repaired, and your life could be made whole again, but first, you need to start walking in the right direction.

Let Sana Lake BWC show you the direction that leads to sobriety and life, as we have done for so many others. We believe everyone deserves a happy and healthy life, free of the burden of dependency issues like alcohol and substances. Talk to us now so we can get you back on the right track.