Signs that an
intoxicated person might need medical evaluation
An injury. An intoxicated person may not feel pain normally, so he or she may not be aware of an injury or realize how serious it may be. It is not uncommon for an intoxicated
person to vomit once. But an intoxicated person who is confused or not
acting normally and vomits more than once may have a more serious problem, such
as a head injury.
consciousness. Frequently tap or gently shake the
person and shout, "Are you okay?" He or she should become more alert as time
passes. If the person is becoming harder to arouse, it may mean his or her
condition is getting worse. Sometimes a person's condition may get worse
because the alcohol or drugs have not yet been completely absorbed into the
Most people can be cared for at home by family or friends when they
are intoxicated. If you think the intoxicated person's condition is getting
worse and you are concerned you will not be able to provide a safe environment,
seek medical help.
To help an intoxicated person:
Stop the person from taking more alcohol or
drugs. You may have to remove the person from a bar or party. If he or she is
at home, remove the alcohol or drugs from the house.
Stay with the
person or have someone else stay with the person until his or her condition has
Provide a safe place for the person to rest. Do not allow
the person to drive a vehicle or operate machinery. Take steps to prevent
Find out what the person has used: alcohol, illegal drugs,
or prescription or nonprescription medicines. The use of alcohol with
medicines or illegal drugs may increase the
intoxicating effects each has on the body. You might want to call the poison control center (1-800-222-1222) for help if you don't know anything about any drugs the intoxicated person has taken.
Find out whether the
person has other health problems that could affect his or her current
condition. For example, diabetes or a seizure disorder could make the person
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine