Can You Get Drunk From Rubbing Alcohol?
Isopropyl alcohol (“rubbing alcohol”) is a type of denatured alcohol with a strong odor and bitter taste. Mostly sold in stores for first aid at home and in medical settings, rubbing alcohol can be as strong as 99% and it may induce intoxication, but it is not fit for human consumption, and drinking it will cause harmful side effects.
You can buy rubbing alcohol in varying strengths based on alcohol content, and the high purity can make it tempting to people facing alcohol addiction and teenagers looking to experiment.
However, isopropyl alcohol is a type of denatured alcohol, which means it is unfit for human consumption. Here’s what you need to know.
If you or someone you love is taking serious risks, Zinnia Health can help. We offer treatment for alcohol abuse to help individuals overcome addiction and get on the path to living a long, fulfilling life. Ready to learn more? Call our free alcohol addiction hotline at (855) 430-9439 and get answers to your questions.
Will Drinking Rubbing Alcohol Get You Drunk?
Isopropyl alcohol can cause intoxication if consumed in large enough quantities. It is a central nervous system depressant that can produce effects similar to those of ethanol (the type of alcohol contained in most beverages).
The risk of severe poisoning and potentially lethal side effects is much higher with isopropyl alcohol than with ethanol, and the difference in potency makes it much easier to overdose on isopropyl alcohol.
The NCBI says that approximately 80% of isopropyl alcohol will be absorbed by the bloodstream in just 30 minutes.
Is Isopropyl Alcohol Safe for Human Consumption?
No, isopropyl alcohol is not safe to drink. Rubbing alcohol is very different from the ethyl alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, which is safe for human consumption in moderation.
Unlike ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol is a toxic substance that can cause harm if ingested, including damage to the nervous system, liver, and kidneys.
The reason why rubbing alcohol is unfit for human consumption is because the alcohol has been “denatured.” Denaturing alcohol is a process where chemicals are added to discourage people from drinking it. These added chemicals give rubbing alcohol a noxious odor and bitter taste.
Rubbing alcohol and other types of denatured alcohol can still be used for industrial or medical purposes but they are not safe to consume.
If someone has ingested rubbing alcohol, you should reach out to a poison control center immediately for guidance.
Dangers of Drinking Isopropyl Alcohol
Ingesting even small amounts of isopropyl alcohol can lead to symptoms, such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe abdominal pain
- Internal burning sensation in the digestive tract
- Low blood pressure
Ingestion of larger amounts can cause more severe symptoms, such as:
- Organ damage
- Cardiopulmonary collapse
Drinking isopropyl alcohol can also lead to death, which is why medical attention should be provided immediately to anyone who has ingested this substance.
The risks may be even greater if isopropyl alcohol was mixed with over-the-counter or prescription medications, or recreational substances. Making all substances that you have consumed known to medical staff is critical to getting the proper care.
Are you worried about alcohol addiction? Zinnia Health can help. Our team of addiction specialists can answer your questions on substance abuse, alcohol use, and mental health. Call our helpline at (855) 430-9439 for more information.
Tips to Prevent Rubbing Alcohol Ingestion
Children are naturally curious, which makes them vulnerable to accidental poisonings. However, due to its alcohol content, isopropyl alcohol can also be tempting to teenagers and adults, especially those dealing with mental health conditions and a history of substance abuse.
To help prevent rubbing alcohol poisoning, it’s essential to take the necessary precautions to keep it out of reach when possible.
- Store Rubbing Alcohol Securely: Keep rubbing alcohol in locked cabinets or drawers. You may also consider marking the bottle’s level with a permanent marker and your initials after each use so that you can detect when it’s being used without permission.
- Don’t Repackage It: While you might think switching rubbing alcohol into a new container can conceal it, doing so can increase the risk of accidental poisoning. Always keep isopropyl alcohol in its original bottle where the alcohol percentage is clearly marked.
- Write Down Poison Control Center Information: You likely have a state or local poison control center and they may be easier to get through to than the national number, but it’s worth writing down the information for both, especially if you have a child, teen, or someone recovering from alcohol addiction in your home.
- Supervise and Educate Teens and Children: Educating teens and children about the dangers of isopropyl alcohol can save a life. Also, young children should be supervised at all times when they are around substances like rubbing alcohol.
If you’re particularly worried about someone misusing rubbing alcohol in your home, you also have the option of buying lower alcohol concentrations or buying alcohol-free alternatives for first aid and cleaning purposes.
Just because you keep the substances out of your home, doesn’t mean your family is safe.
Getting help with alcohol addiction or substance use takes courage, but there are flexible and confidential treatment programs available to help you or your loved one stay safe.
Addiction Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse
When many people think about recovering from alcohol addiction, a group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or a 12-step program might come to mind.
In truth, addiction recovery has come a long way and today’s recovery specialists realize that treatment looks different for everyone.
Here are some of the important things to consider when choosing a recovery specialist:
- Personalized treatment pathways that cater to your current needs, challenges, and long-term goals
- Various forms of therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), peer support groups, family counseling, and state-of-the-art programs like art and music therapy
- Treatment for co-occurring disorders like ADHD and PTSD
- An LGBTQ+ friendly environment that is welcoming to everyone
- On-going support long after you complete your formal treatment program to help ensure your lasting sobriety
If you’ve ever felt that an alcohol treatment center wasn’t right for you, give Zinnia Health a chance. We believe in offering caring, customized care for each individual.