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Signs & symptoms of drunkenness

Updated March 20, 2017

Several visual changes occur in a person's behaviour as they become drunk. The signs and symptoms of intoxication are progressive according to many factors. Although alcohol affects everyone similarly, the speed of the effects are determined upon gender, weight, rate of consumption and the amount of food consumed prior to drinking.

Physical Signs and Symptoms

An intoxicated person may display several physical signs and symptoms. Common physical symptoms include smelling of alcohol, involuntary eye movements, bloodshot eyes, difficulty standing, swaying and staggering, vomiting, making inappropriate sexual advances, bumping into things, falling down, inability to sit straight, violent behaviour, carelessness, clumsiness and sleepiness.

Verbal Signs and Symptoms

Verbal signs and symptoms are often the first indication that a person is drunk. Common verbal signs and symptoms include talking loudly, slurred speech, rambling conversations, foul language, complaining, arguing and being overly aggressive or obnoxious.

Emotional Signs and Symptoms

Although intoxication can affect the emotions of people differently, it often causes a roller-coaster of emotions within a short period. A person who is drunk can be overly happy and showing bravado, and turn crude and argumentative without warning.

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About the Author

Angela M. Wheeland specializes in topics related to taxation, technology, gaming and criminal law. She has contributed to several websites and serves as the lead content editor for a construction-related website. Wheeland holds an Associate of Arts in accounting and criminal justice. She has owned and operated her own income tax-preparation business since 2006.