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Can You Drink Rubbing Alcohol?

A person can drink rubbing alcohol, but it is not recommended. Inhaling and ingesting rubbing alcohol can rapidly lead to alcohol poisoning or even death. There are three types of alcohol that have been classified by chemists: methyl, ethyl alcohol, and isopropyl. 

Most types of rubbing alcohol are created from isopropyl alcohol, with concentrations of about 68-90% alcohol in water. The question that will be answered is, “Can you drink rubbing alcohol?” A person can, but it’s not suggested and comes with the risk of numerous dangers.

What Is Rubbing Alcohol?

Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropanol is the most commonly found when it comes to rubbing alcohol. It is a solution that generally contains about 30% water and 70% isopropanol. Isopropanol or isopropanol alcohol is a colorless and clear liquid with a bitter taste and a slightly fruity odor. 

Rubbing alcohol is utilized in a wide variety of commercially available products such as: 

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Disinfectants
  • Aftershaves
  • Antifreeze
  • Sanitizers
  • Cosmetics
  • Cleaners
  • Solvents
  • Lotions
  • Inks

One of the most common toxic alcohol ingestion is isopropanol ingestion, as reported by the Poison Control Centers in the United States every year. Even though most of the isopropanol exposures are considered unintentional, and occur in young children less than 6 years old, there were over 4,000 cases of intentional isopropanol ingestion. 

Why Do People Drink Rubbing Alcohol?

smiling doctors discussing alcohol abuse treatment People engage in drinking rubbing alcohol for several reasons. One of the reasons is that it is much stronger than ethanol, which is the intoxicating agent produced by distillation and sugar fermentation. This is discovered in most common alcoholic beverages. 

Individuals engage in drinking rubbing alcohol to become intoxicated, or in a few cases, harm themselves. When individuals are struggling with alcohol abuse, they might turn to stronger substances such as rubbing alcohol to reach a specific level of intoxication. Sometimes, rubbing alcohol is substituted for ethanol due to its widespread availability and much lower cost. 

For instance, a 16-ounce bottle of rubbing alcohol costs a little more than $1.00 and can be purchased anytime at a 24-hour drug store. When a person engages in drinking rubbing alcohol, it’s vital to remember that it is much more powerful than ethanol. It’s also quickly absorbed into a person’s bloodstream. 

These same characteristics will allow an individual to get intoxicated more swiftly. It is responsible for the extreme dangers and risks associated with drinking rubbing alcohol. 

The Dangers and Risks of Drinking Rubbing Alcohol

There are several dangers and risks of drinking rubbing alcohol. It is more dangerous compared to drinking ethanol. Isopropanol is much more intoxicating than ethanol at proportional concentrations and more likely to produce the following effects:

  • Dangerously low blood pressure
  • Decreased body heat production
  • Cardiopulmonary collapse
  • Impaired consciousness
  • Slurred speech
  • Stumbling
  • Sedation

Rubbing alcohol is swiftly absorbed by the body, with blood levels peaking between about 30 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion. Due to the overall chemical makeup of rubbing alcohol, it’s metabolized much differently than ethanol. It causes the body to become overwhelmed by toxins. 

In essence, rubbing alcohol is broken down into a toxic chemical discovered in nail polish remover called acetone. Acetone is considered a gastrointestinal irritant that can cause several of the following digestive tract issues such as:

  • Bleeding in the intestines and stomach
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Bladder rupture
  • Vomiting blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

Acetone can also trigger serious depression in the central nervous system. This can result in the following threatening conditions:

  • Headaches
  • Intoxication 
  • Dizziness
  • Coma

It’s important to understand that rubbing alcohol is extremely dangerous if it’s consumed at any quantity. Engaging in massive ingestion is hazardous and can cause the following: 

  • Cardiovascular function 
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Shock 
  • Death

How Does Rubbing Alcohol Differ From Alcohol You Drink?

Rubbing alcohol differs because rubbing alcohol contains isopropyl alcohol among various other ingredients, such as water. Isopropyl alcohol is a colorless liquid with a sharp odor. There aren’t any other ingredients in an isopropyl alcohol bottle. The majority of rubbing alcohol brands contain about 70% isopropyl alcohol. Many individuals addicted to alcohol engage in drinking rubbing alcohol. 

What Happens When You Drink Rubbing Alcohol?

Since rubbing alcohol is a gastrointestinal irritant, it can cause abdominal pain, vomiting blood, and nausea. Additionally, “due to having a higher molecular weight than ethanol, isopropanol is much more intoxicating than ethanol.” This can produce the following effects:

  • Cardiopulmonary collapse
  • An altered sensorium 
  • Hypotension 
  • Hypothermia

What Should a Person Do If They Drink Rubbing Alcohol?

doctors talking about what happens if you drink rubbing alcohol If a person has consumed rubbing alcohol, whether by accident or on purpose, they should immediately call 911. An individual can also contact the American Association of Poison Control to receive immediate, and expert guidance from the local prison control specialists serving in your specific area. If you or someone you know has considered drinking rubbing alcohol, below are the treatment options available for you. 

Alcohol Rehab Options

When you come to Casco Bay Recovery, you’ll be able to closely work with our team to determine the reason behind your drinking. From there, you’ll be able to discover how to eliminate it from your life fully. Our team is dedicated and respectful; they will provide you with hands-on tools to assist you in relapse prevention. 

The range of our therapy programs includes: 

Medication-assisted treatment: With the assistance of FDA-approved medications, it’s possible to remove the onset of hurtful cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It’ll make it easier for the individual to stop engaging in alcohol use. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This therapy approach focuses on identifying negative thought patterns, such as those related to drinking alcohol or stress. The result is being able to turn things around. 

Holistic therapy: This therapy approach is designed to empower a full mind, spirit healing, and body. The patient will have the opportunity to engage in yoga, meditation, and other holistic styles to promote healing.

Relapse prevention: In this therapy, there will be strategies to assist with coping with addiction. This will include better management of health, improving stress management, and identifying your underlying addiction triggers. The main goal is to teach patients how to avoid relapse.

Dual diagnosis: Many individuals drink alcohol and struggle with mental health disorders too such as anxiety, trauma, and depression. In this therapy plan, both conditions are worked towards simultaneously. 

Examine Alcohol Addiction Options at Casco Bay Recovery

It is time to break free from addiction. “Can you drink rubbing alcohol” is answered in this blog, along with “What happens when you drink rubbing alcohol”. If you’re ready to learn more about our treatment programs, give us a call. Your road to recovery starts now. Contact us. 

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