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Intoxication

A condition that follows the administration of a psychoactive substance and results in disturbances in the level of consciousness, cognition, perception, judgement, affect, or behaviour, or other psychophysiological functions and responses. The disturbances are related to the acute pharmacological effects of, and learned responses to, the substance and resolve with time, with complete recovery, except where tissue damage or other complications have arisen. The term is most commonly used with regard to alcohol use: its equivalent in everyday speech is "drunkenness". Alcohol intoxication is manifested by such signs as facial flushing, slurred speech, unsteady gait, euphoria, increased activity, volubility, disorderly conduct, slowed reactions, impaired judgement and motor incoordination, insensibility, or stupefaction.

Intoxication is highly dependent on the type and dose of drug and is influenced by an individual's level of tolerance and other factors. Frequently, a drug is taken in order to achieve a desired degree of intoxication. The behavioural expression of a given level of intoxication is strongly influenced by cultural and personal expectations about the effects of the drug.

Acute intoxication is the term in ICD-I0 for intoxication of clinical significance. Complications may include trauma, inhalation of vomitus, delirium, coma, and convulsions, depending on the substance and method of administration.

Habitual intoxication (habitual drunkenness), applied primarily to alcohol, refers to a regular or recurrent pattern drinking to intoxication. Such a pattern has sometimes been treated as a criminal offence, separately from the individual instances of intoxication. Other general terms for intoxication or intoxicated include: drunkenness, high, under the influence, inebriation.

WHO Lexicon of alcohol and drug terms