Drinking rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is not safe for human consumption and is highly toxic.
There are three main types of alcohol classified by chemists: isopropyl, methyl, and ethyl alcohol. These alcohols have different properties and applications, and it is essential to distinguish them for safety reasons.
- Isopropyl alcohol, commonly known as rubbing alcohol, is mainly used as an industrial solvent, paint remover, and photocopier developer. It is also utilized as a fuel for internal combustion engines due to its ability to prevent freezing.
- Methyl alcohol, or methanol, is often referred to as wood alcohol and is used as an industrial solvent as well. It serves as a fuel additive and is commonly found in windshield wiper fluid and canned fuels for boats or camp stoves.
- Ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol, is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages and has recreational uses. Ethanol is the only type of alcohol safe for human consumption, while the other types are toxic and not suitable for ingestion.
This guide to the dangers of drinking rubbing alcohol explores the following issues:
- Can you drink rubbing alcohol?
- is rubbing alcohol safe to drink under any conditions?
- Can drinking rubbing alcohol kill you?
- Why can’t you drink rubbing alcohol?
- What happens if you drink rubbing alcohol?
- What is the difference between drinking alcohol and rubbing alcohol?
- How can you connect with alcohol addiction treatment in Ohio?
What Happens if You Drink Rubbing Alcohol?
Some individuals, particularly those struggling with alcohol addiction, might be tempted to consume rubbing alcohol to achieve intoxication. If you are wondering, “Can I drink rubbing alcohol”, it is extremely dangerous due to its toxic nature. Isopropyl alcohol is not metabolized in the same way as ethanol and is broken down into acetone, a harmful chemical found in nail polish remover. Consumption of rubbing alcohol can lead to acetone poisoning, resulting in severe gastrointestinal issues, central nervous system depression, and other life-threatening consequences.
Drinking rubbing alcohol can have severe and life-threatening consequences. Rubbing alcohol is typically isopropyl alcohol with concentrations of 68% to 99% alcohol in water. It is not the same as the ethanol found in alcoholic beverages and is extremely toxic to the human body. If ingested, even in small amounts, rubbing alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal.
Composition and differences
Rubbing alcohol is composed of isopropyl alcohol, which is commonly used as an industrial solvent, paint remover, and antiseptic in medical settings. It is colorless, has a bitter taste, and smells like fingernail polish remover. The ethanol found in alcoholic drinks, by contrast, is known as ethyl alcohol and is safe for human consumption when consumed responsibly. The two types of alcohol have different chemical compositions and metabolize differently in the body.
Isopropyl alcohol poisoning
When isopropyl alcohol is ingested, it is rapidly absorbed by the body, leading to a peak in blood levels between 30 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion. The body metabolizes isopropyl alcohol differently from ethanol, converting it into acetone, a toxic chemical found in nail polish remover. Acetone is a gastrointestinal irritant that can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bleeding in the stomach and intestines, and even bladder rupture. Additionally, it triggers severe depression of the central nervous system, leading to dizziness, headaches, inebriation, and potentially coma.
Increased risk of alcohol poisoning
Rubbing alcohol is much more potent than ethanol found in alcoholic beverages. It is more intoxicating at comparable concentrations and more likely to produce impaired consciousness, dangerously low blood pressure, and even cardiopulmonary collapse if you drink rubbing alcohol. Drinking rubbing alcohol can lead to a range of life-threatening conditions, including internal bleeding, depressed cardiovascular function, shock, organ damage, and death.
Treatment and prevention
If someone ingests rubbing alcohol, seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 or contacting the local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Early medical intervention can be life-saving in cases of alcohol poisoning. It is essential to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking rubbing alcohol, especially for those struggling with alcohol addiction. Seeking professional help and treatment from a reputable rehab center is the safest and most effective way to overcome alcohol addiction.
Isopropyl alcohol is not meant for human consumption, and its ingestion can result in alcohol poisoning and organ damage. The risks associated with drinking rubbing alcohol far outweigh any potential benefits, and it should never be used as a substitute for alcoholic beverages.
Drinking rubbing alcohol is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe health complications and even death.
Rubbing Alcohol Vs. Drinking Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol and drinking alcohol are two distinct substances with significant differences in their composition, uses, and effects on the human body.
- Composition: Rubbing alcohol is mainly made from isopropyl alcohol, often mixed with water. It may also contain other alcohols like methanol, added at high concentrations to deter consumption. It is denatured, making it poisonous and toxic to humans. Drinking alcohol, also known as ethanol, is the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and spirits. It is produced through the fermentation or distillation of sugars and is relatively safe for human consumption when used responsibly.
- Concentration: Rubbing alcohol is close to 100% alcohol, typically containing concentrations of 70% isopropyl alcohol. It is highly potent and dangerous to ingest, even in small amounts.
- Drinking alcohol: The concentration of ethanol in alcoholic beverages varies depending on the type. For example, beer typically contains 4% to 12% alcohol by volume, wine contains 8% to 14%, while spirits can have alcohol concentrations of 40% or higher.
- Use and safety: Rubbing alcohol is not intended for human consumption and is toxic to ingest. Drinking even a small amount of rubbing alcohol can lead to severe health issues, including alcohol poisoning and organ damage. Ethanol in alcoholic beverages is intended for adult consumption in moderation. When consumed responsibly, it may provide some social and recreational benefits. However, excessive and irresponsible drinking can lead to health problems, addiction, and other negative consequences.
- Effects on the body: Ingesting rubbing alcohol affects the central nervous system and can lead to coma, painful throat and airway burns, swelling, seizures, dangerously low blood pressure, and heart attack. Ethanol is a central nervous system depressant and can cause intoxication with symptoms such as slurred speech, sedation, and unsteadiness. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to impaired judgment, motor skills, and coordination.
- Toxicity and poisoning: Rubbing alcohol contains toxic alcohols, such as methanol, which are hazardous and can quickly cause brain damage or death if ingested. While excessive consumption of drinking alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning, it is less toxic than the alcohols found in rubbing alcohol, and its effects are rarely life-threatening in typical drinking scenarios.
Why do people drink rubbing alcohol?
People may drink rubbing alcohol as a substitute for regular alcoholic beverages due to its high alcohol content, low cost, and accessibility. Some individuals with alcohol use disorder might seek stronger forms of alcohol to achieve a desired level of intoxication, leading them to consume rubbing alcohol. However, drinking rubbing alcohol is extremely dangerous and can quickly lead to alcohol poisoning.
Can you die from drinking rubbing alcohol?
Yes, consuming rubbing alcohol can be lethal. Rubbing alcohol contains isopropyl alcohol, which is a powerful solvent and is toxic to the human body when ingested. Drinking rubbing alcohol can lead to severe health consequences, including alcohol poisoning, organ damage, shock, and even death.
Is it safe to drink rubbing alcohol?
No, it is not safe to drink rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is not intended for human consumption and is highly toxic. Consuming rubbing alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning, gastrointestinal issues, central nervous system depression, and other severe health problems.
Can you dilute rubbing alcohol with water to drink?
Diluting rubbing alcohol with water does not make it safe to drink. Rubbing alcohol, even when diluted, remains toxic and should never be consumed. The ingestion of rubbing alcohol can lead to a range of dangerous effects, including damage to organs, impaired consciousness, and even death. Drinking rubbing alcohol is a life-threatening practice and should be avoided at all costs.
Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction at Ohio Recovery Centers
At Ohio Recovery Centers, we provide specialized addiction treatment programs for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction, prescription medication dependency, or illicit drug abuse.
Our comprehensive approach combines pharmacological, behavioral, and holistic therapies to support your journey towards recovery. Whether you are dealing with mild or moderate addiction, our IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) and outpatient programs are designed to cater to your specific needs while ensuring flexibility and affordability. Throughout your treatment, you will acquire relapse prevention strategies, coping techniques, and access to ongoing therapy if necessary.
For personalized assistance and immediate support, please contact our admissions team at 877-679-2132.