How to Recognize If a Person Is Under the Influence of Alcohol

Alcohol consumption is commonplace in many societies and can negatively impact physical, psychological and social aspects of a person’s life; intoxication can also lead to dangerous and unpredictable behaviors. Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs of a person who is under the influence of alcohol. Here are some key signs look for to tell if a person has been drinking and might be intoxicated.

1. Smell of Alcohol

Typically, the smell of alcohol is one of the more obvious signs of someone who has been drinking. The best way to detect it is by standing in close proximity to the person’s face. The smell may also linger on the person’s clothes or breath. If someone is drinking heavily for a prolonged period of time, it may take longer for the smell to dissipate.

2. Slurred Speech

One of the telltale signs of a person who is under the influence of alcohol is slurred speech, which is characterized by mumbling and disorganized words. They may also be having difficulty forming complete sentences and vomiting during conversation. It is important to note, however, that some people, such as those with a speech impediment, may naturally have slurred speech that is independent of intoxication.

3. Unsteady Balance

Alcohol can affect balance and coordination. Thus, a person who is intoxicated may be unstable on their feet or unable to stand up straight. This is especially noticeable when walking in a straight line or attempting to perform a balancing test.

4. Poor Decision Making

Alcohol can impair the cognitive functioning of the brain, influencing someone’s decision-making abilities. A person who is under the influence of alcohol is more likely to take increased risks, such as driving while intoxicated, or engaging in behavior with potential long-term consequences.

5. Dilated Pupils

Alcohol can cause a person’s pupils to dilate, which is noticeable in a low-light environment. It is also important to note that dilated pupils can also be a symptom of other substances, such as amphetamine and cocaine, and should not be used as a sole indicator of intoxication.

6. Slow Reaction Times

Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, including reaction times. For this reason, someone who is intoxicated may be slower to response to stimuli or commands. Furthermore, they may seem confused or disoriented in certain situations and struggle to concentrate.

7. Behavioral Changes

Excessive drinking can lead to significant changes in behavior and personality. A person who is under the influence of alcohol may become more impulsive, irritable, or inappropriate in their behavior. They may also demonstrate physical signs of aggression, such as pushing or shoving, if provoked.

Recognizing when someone has been drinking can be tricky, as some signs, such as smell and slurred speech, can be attributed to other factors. If you suspect that someone is under the influence of alcohol, it is best to observe their behavior and look for combinations of signs. It is also important to remember to remain aware of potential safety concerns associated with alcohol consumption, such as driving or violence.