What Happens If You Drink Rubbing Alcohol? 7 Dangerous Things That Could Happen

Categories: Alcoholism
Rubbing Alcohol

Can you drink rubbing alcohol? This is a very common question often asked by people who are confused about whether rubbing alcohol is similar to the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. Some people are curious about whether it is safe to substitute rubbing alcohol for vodka or gin. Because rubbing alcohol is much cheaper and readily available, some are wondering whether it could be an alternative.

People who are struggling with alcohol abuse may also be considering the same thing. When they run out of options and they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, they might turn to rubbing alcohol to feed their addiction.

Of course, there are also people who ingest rubbing alcohol accidentally. Rubbing alcohol is a clear liquid that’s why many children accidentally drink it. For parents, this could cause them a lot of panic and worry.

The answer to the question of whether you can drink rubbing alcohol is NO – it is not safe to drink rubbing alcohol. The type of alcohol found in most rubbing alcohol is called isopropyl alcohol or isopropanol. Most rubbing alcohol has 70% to 99% isopropyl alcohol often mixed with water.

On the other hand, the alcohol found in beer, wine, and other liquors is called ethanol or ethyl alcohol. What many people are not aware of is that the chemical makeup of isopropyl alcohol is very different from ethyl alcohol.

So, what happens if you drink rubbing alcohol? When you drink isopropyl alcohol, this is broken down by the body into acetone which can be toxic to the body. Yes, this is the same acetone used to remove nail polish. This could then lead to many serious side effects.

Here are 7 possible consequences that could result from drinking rubbing alcohol, whether intentionally or accidentally.

1. Intoxication

Rubbing Alcohol DangersBeing drunk or intoxicated is one side effect of drinking rubbing alcohol. Signs of intoxication could include loss of physical coordination, dizziness, slurred speech, sedation, and vomiting. While these are similar to the effects caused when you drink alcoholic beverages, that does not mean it is safe to drink rubbing alcohol if you want to get drunk.

Intoxication is only one of the side effects of drinking rubbing alcohol and you could end up experiencing much worse. Rubbing alcohol should not be used as a substitute for alcoholic beverages in any situation or for whatever reason.

2. Stomach problems

Drinking rubbing alcohol can severely irritate your digestive tract including your intestines and your stomach. This could lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. You could also experience pain, cramping, and bleeding in your stomach and intestines.

3. Seizures and Shock

After drinking rubbing alcohol, your body could go into shock and it is also possible to experience seizures. Seizures could happen when your body becomes dehydrated from nausea and bleeding.

4. Irregular breathing and slow heartbeat

Alcohol is a known depressant so when you drink rubbing alcohol it could cause your breathing and your heartbeat to slow down or to become irregular. When your breathing becomes irregular, this could lead to oxygen deprivation. You could also experience low blood pressure.

5. Internal Burns

Rubbing Alcohol Negative EffectsRubbing alcohol has very high alcohol content compared to your regular beer or wine. When you drink rubbing alcohol, this could cause chemical burns when the liquid comes in contact with the mucous membranes of your nose and mouth, throat, esophagus, and respiratory tract. These internal burns can be extremely painful.

6. Organ Damage

Another serious side effect that could happen after drinking rubbing alcohol is organ damage. Drinking rubbing alcohol can severely affect the central nervous system as well as cause inflammation of the lungs.

7. Death

Drinking a large quantity of rubbing alcohol can result in overdose and alcohol poisoning, which could lead to death. After ingesting rubbing alcohol, you will start feeling intoxicated and it is possible for you to blackout. The alcohol poisoning could set in within one hour.

A lethal dose of rubbing alcohol with 70% isopropanol can be between 1 ml to 4 ml per kilogram of body weight. If you weigh 70 kilograms (154 lbs.), consuming 70 ml to 280 ml of rubbing alcohol can potentially be fatal. There have been fatalities reported with adults ingesting 240 ml of rubbing alcohol which is 1 cup.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, help is available.

Contact Anaheim Lighthouse today.

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