Skip to content


4 Ways to Tell if Someone is Intoxicated

Intoxication Ways to Tell if Someone is Intoxicated
Posted - August 18, 2023
4 Ways to Tell if Someone is Intoxicated

Some people are able to hide things well, whether there is something going on mentally or physically beneath the surface. Take exercise, for example. You might not know someone is struggling by their face alone, but they may be breathing hard or have a high heart rate.

The same can go for intoxication.

If you're in a role where you serve alcohol, it's often your responsibility to ensure the people you serve aren't overly intoxicated. In fact, you could potentially face legal troubles if you serve someone alcohol who commits a crime. But how do you know if someone is intoxicated or not?

Here are four ways to tell if someone is intoxicated:

  1. Redness/Flush Face

One of the easiest ways to tell if someone is drunk is if their cheeks are flush or their face is red. According to Medical News Today, “If the body cannot metabolize alcohol effectively, too much of a substance called acetaldehyde can build up. This is toxic and can cause a histamine release, resulting in flushing and other symptoms.” If the person has been drinking already, this is a good sign, but be aware that some people flush due to other reasons (e.g., reactions with food, high temperatures, dancing, etc.).

  1. Walking/Moving Abnormally

Another telltale sign of someone drinking too much is if they’re stumbling or struggling to walk, move or navigate the room normally. If someone is continuously bumping into chairs, spilling their drink or knocking into other patrons, it may be a sign to cut them off. Accidents are always possible, but continued instances of walking or moving abnormally are a warning sign that someone may be intoxicated.

  1. Overly Nice/Aggressive

Most alcohol servers would be pleasantly surprised by a large tip. But if the patron is repeatedly tipping large amounts or is overly nice or communicative, it could mean they’ve had one too many drinks. One good way to differentiate between a nice person and someone who is being nice because of alcohol consumption is to watch for any mood swings. Those who are intoxicated are prone to drastic changes in mood and will frequently change from being nice to aggressive as the drinking goes on.

  1. Slurring/Mumbling Speech

Slurred speech is a warning sign for a variety of troubling conditions. For starters, it could be a sign that someone is intoxicated, but it could also be a symptom of a stroke or medical condition. If your patron is slurring their speech, stop serving them alcohol until they can either sober up or get themselves checked out by a medical professional.

These are just four ways to tell if someone is intoxicated. If you’d like more tips on how to tell if someone is drunk or other alcohol serving best practices, consider signing up for the TABC Certification from American Course Academy. Even if you aren’t in a role that serves alcohol, this knowledge can help you, your friends and your family members in a variety of scenarios.

Stay in the Know

The form is loading