Stage 1: Subliminal Intoxication
It takes just five minutes for alcohol to reach the brain once it’s absorbed into the bloodstream. The level of intoxication depends on how much the person drinks and how much they weigh. During the first stage, known as subliminal intoxication, just one drink is enough to impair a person’s behavior and judgment. People also have slower reaction times during this stage of intoxication.
Stage 2: Euphoria
The second stage of intoxication typically results in increased confidence and happiness. These changes occur because alcohol stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain, creating a sense of euphoria.
Stage 3: Excitement
During the third stage, people typically display slurred speech, confusion, slower reaction times and a loss of fine motor skills. These changes occur because alcohol affects the temporal lobe, occipital lobe and frontal lobe of the brain.
Stage 4: Confusion
If a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches 0.18 to 0.3, confusion sets in. During this fourth stage of intoxication, loss of consciousness is likely to occur. Some people even black out, or experience temporary memory loss, due to dysfunction in the hippocampus.
Stage 5: Stupor
The fifth stage of intoxication is characterized by a BAC of 0.25, which causes significant impairment of physical and mental functioning. The risk of injury increases significantly during this stage.
Stage 6: Coma
When a person’s BAC reaches 0.35, the risk of coma increases due to poor motor control and changes in breathing and circulation.
Stage 7: Death
At a BAC greater than 0.45, the brain can’t control breathing and other vital functions, increasing the risk for death.