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Can You Drink Rubbing Alcohol? The Dangers and Consequences

Person struggling with alcohol abuse

Have you ever considered drinking rubbing alcohol? This dangerous act can lead to devastating health consequences and even death. As a caring treatment provider, we strongly advise against consuming this toxic substance. Our qualified staff stands ready to guide you to recovery should an addiction or dependence develop. This article will explore the dangers of drinking rubbing alcohol and provide hope through proven treatment methods. We aim to inform and protect our community. Your wellbeing is our priority. There are better solutions than resorting to drinking harmful chemicals that can damage your body and life. Support and effective treatment are available. Call us at 888.450.2285 today.

Can You Drink Rubbing Alcohol?

While rubbing alcohol is not meant for consumption, some may wonder if it’s safe to drink. The harsh reality is that ingesting isopropyl alcohol, a key ingredient in rubbing alcohol, can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal.

Toxic Effects

Rubbing alcohol is poisonous if ingested, causing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headaches, and even coma or death in severe cases. Even small amounts can lead to alcohol poisoning, liver damage, and respiratory failure.

Addiction Risks

Drinking rubbing alcohol can be highly addictive, leading to alcohol use disorder and the need for professional treatment like medical detox, alcohol addiction rehab, 12-step programs, group therapy, and relapse prevention. The consequences simply aren’t worth the risk.

Rubbing alcohol should only be used externally as directed. If struggling with alcohol addiction, seek immediate medical help from addiction specialists. Your health and safety should always come first.

What Is Rubbing Alcohol?

A Commonly Used Substance

Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is a widely available chemical compound. It is a colorless liquid with a distinct, harsh odor.

Versatile Applications

This type of alcohol has many household and industrial uses. It is commonly found in cleaning products, disinfectants, and even some beauty products like hand sanitizers. However, it is poisonous if ingested and should never be consumed.

Not for Human Consumption

Despite its ubiquity, rubbing alcohol is not intended for drinking or any form of internal use. Ingesting it can lead to severe, potentially life-threatening consequences. Safer alcoholic beverages made for responsible adult consumption are readily available through licensed retailers.

Is Rubbing Alcohol Toxic?

Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is a highly toxic substance when ingested. While it is an effective disinfectant and cleaning agent, it should never be consumed.

Dangerous Effects

Drinking rubbing alcohol can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness. In severe cases, it may lead to breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, or even death. The body cannot metabolize isopropyl alcohol effectively, leading to poisoning.

Seek Help

If rubbing alcohol has been ingested, seek immediate medical attention. Alcohol detox and addiction treatment programs provide comprehensive support, including relapse prevention therapy and group counseling. A 12-step recovery program approach addresses the physical, mental and emotional aspects of alcohol abuse.

What Happens if You Drink Rubbing Alcohol?

Drinking rubbing alcohol can have disastrous, potentially fatal consequences. Rubbing alcohol contains isopropyl alcohol, which is extremely toxic when ingested.

Poisoning Effects

  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain
  • Dizziness, disorientation, headache
  • Slurred speech, stupor, coma

Organ Damage

Even small amounts can cause blindness, brain damage, kidney and liver failure. Ingesting rubbing alcohol is considered a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment.

Addiction Risks

Rubbing alcohol does produce a feeling of intoxication, leading some to abuse it as a cheap substitute for beverage alcohol. However, this can rapidly escalate into physical dependence and life-threatening alcohol poisoning or overdose.

The potential dangers make it crucial to avoid consuming rubbing alcohol under any circumstances. If struggling with alcohol abuse, seek professional help for rehabilitation and recovery support.

Symptoms of Rubbing Alcohol Poisoning

Gastrointestinal Issues

Ingesting rubbing alcohol can lead to severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The high concentration of isopropyl alcohol is extremely irritating to the digestive tract.

Central Nervous System Effects

Rubbing alcohol poisoning can cause dizziness, headache, slurred speech, confusion, and drowsiness. In severe cases, it may progress to seizures, coma, and respiratory depression.

Vision Problems

Ingesting isopropyl alcohol can damage the optic nerve, leading to blurred vision, double vision, or even permanent blindness in some cases.

Other Symptoms

Other potential symptoms include low blood sugar, low blood pressure, kidney damage, and even heart failure in extreme overdoses. Prompt medical treatment is crucial for any suspected rubbing alcohol ingestion.

Treatment for Rubbing Alcohol Poisoning

If rubbing alcohol is ingested, seek immediate medical attention. The treatment focuses on managing life-threatening complications and supportive care.


  • Induced vomiting or gastric lavage may be performed to remove any remaining alcohol.
  • Activated charcoal may help reduce absorption.

Infographic with details related to alcohol abuse


Close monitoring is crucial, as rubbing alcohol poisoning can rapidly deteriorate. Blood tests track alcohol levels and organ function.

Preventing Rubbing Alcohol Poisoning

Be Aware of the Dangers

Rubbing alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol, is highly toxic when ingested. Never consume it, as even small amounts can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness and abdominal pain. Larger quantities lead to far more severe – potentially fatal – consequences.

Keep Out of Reach

The first step is ensuring rubbing alcohol products are stored securely, out of reach of children and pets who may accidentally ingest them. Child-resistant caps help, but proper storage is crucial.

Seek Immediate Treatment

If rubbing alcohol poisoning is suspected, call the Poison Control Center immediately and follow their instructions. Prompt medical treatment can be lifesaving, so act quickly if exposure occurs.

Alcohol Detox and Addiction Rehab

Professional Support

Quitting alcohol is extremely difficult without professional support. Alcohol detox and alcohol rehab programs provide medical supervision, counseling, and proven therapies to help overcome physical and psychological dependence safely.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Care

Inpatient or residential treatment centers allow you to focus solely on recovery away from triggers, with 24/7 support. Outpatient programs offer more flexibility while living at home.

Evidence-Based Treatments

Effective alcohol addiction treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, 12-step facilitation, and medications for cravings/relapse prevention. Group therapy programs build vital peer support networks.

Continuing Care

Recovery is an ongoing process. Aftercare planning, sober living, alumni support groups, and relapse prevention skills help maintain sobriety long-term. With commitment and professional guidance, you can reclaim your life from alcohol addiction.

FAQ: Can You Drink Rubbing Alcohol?

Absolutely not. Rubbing alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol, is highly toxic and drinking it can cause serious health issues like:

Nausea and Vomiting

Even small amounts can lead to severe nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Larger quantities increase the risk of dangerous alcohol poisoning.

Organ Damage

Ingesting isopropyl alcohol can damage the kidneys, liver, lungs, and brain. Long-term exposure heightens the chances of organ failure or death.

Coma and Death

In high doses, rubbing alcohol can trigger a life-threatening coma or respiratory failure resulting in death. The consequences are extremely severe – it should never be consumed under any circumstances.


In closing, while you may be tempted to ingest rubbing alcohol in a moment of desperation, this action puts your health and life at grave risk. Seeking support through evidence-based treatment programs can help you overcome any alcohol addiction and reclaim your wellbeing. By reaching out for help when you need it most, you open the door to a happier, healthier future free from dependency. Focus on taking things one day at a time, connecting with others in recovery, and building the fulfilling life you deserve. Though the path may not always be easy, you have the inner strength necessary to heal and thrive.

Begin Your Journey with Evoke Wellness

If you or a loved one is considering treatment, Evoke Wellness at San Marcos invites you to contact us. Our compassionate team is ready to answer your questions, discuss your needs, and help you take the first steps toward recovery. At Evoke Wellness, you will find more than just a treatment program – you’ll discover a community dedicated to your wellness and success. Together, let’s embrace the journey to recovery and the promise of a new beginning. Call us at 888.450.2285 today or reach out online.