I have a friend who swears he drank to the point of alcohol poisoning, and felt like he was dying, but used sheer willpower to combat it. He was about to contact 911/emergency services, but did not due to embarrassment. He claims he was:

1.Lapsing in and out of consciousness.

2.Had trouble standing up.

3.Had very high anxiety and trouble breathing.

4.Mild hallucinations, confusion, dizziness and shaking.

Consumed half a bottle of 90 proof within 20 minutes at 180 lbs. bodyweight and never drinks.

Claims he was almost certain he was feeling a near brink of death coming, but fought it by forcing every bit of mental capacity he had to get himself to the kitchen and excessively binge eat and drink water while lapsing in and out and being partially hallucinating/dizzy/confused. Surprisingly, he remembers all of it. He woke up six hours later and was partially paralyzed, and vomited repeatedly and had trouble moving because of extreme pain in his head and felt extreme dizziness/trouble breathing still and took a few days for him to feel normal again. No medical attention.

Was this the first case of someone surviving alcohol poisoning without medical attention?

  • he probably needs to go see a doctor as I would assume there is some internal damage. He SHOULD have called the AMBULANCE because they don't care about who he is, they just want to save people.
    – Bradman175
    Jun 5, 2016 at 2:26

1 Answer 1


Sorry, not even close to the first to be that intoxicated and survive with no medical attention. Probably about 100 million people before him over the last 10,000 years got even drunker and survived just fine without medical attention.

If by "a bottle" you mean a 750 ml bottle and he drank half, or 375 ml of it, then he drank about 8.5 "shots" (a standard US shot is 44 ml).

I believe this calculator to be as accurate as any calculator can be without a breath or blood sample. Given that he drank 90-proof liquor rather than standard 80-proof whiskey, I told the calculator that he drank 10 shots rather than eight. So when I entered his male gender, 180 pounds, and 10 shots of whiskey in less than half an hour, the calculator says his blood alcohol content would have been approximately .25.

The table here will give you an idea how drunk .25 is. In short, it's falling down, stupid, puking, blacking out drunk for a novice like your friend. His death would most likely come from falling down a flight of stairs or passing out and choking on his own vomit rather than the alcohol toxicity itself. (With a chronic alcoholic it might not even be obvious they've been drinking.)

Many people reach levels much higher than .25 on a daily basis, receive absolutely no medical treatment, and survive just fine. The long-term prognosis for them isn't so rosy if they keep it up, but a single "big drunk" has been survived by millions of people over thousands of years.

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