Acute care for alcohol intoxication. Be prepared to consider clinical dilemmas

Postgrad Med. 2002 Dec;112(6):14-6, 21-2, 25-6. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2002.12.1361.


The clinical assessment of an acutely intoxicated patient should be performed with meticulous care and include repetitive examinations to properly determine the patient's condition. Multiple factors, such as trauma and concomitant use of other drugs, can confuse the diagnostic picture and affect the choice of therapy. In this article, Dr Yost reviews the diagnostic considerations, appropriate treatment, and clinic discharge for the intoxicated patient.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication* / complications
  • Alcoholic Intoxication* / diagnosis
  • Alcoholic Intoxication* / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ethanol* / adverse effects
  • Ethanol* / blood
  • Ethanol* / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Ethanol