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7 Things That Will Affect How Drunk You Get

Updated on February 16, 2016
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Cindy has been a Substance Abuse/Mental Health case manager since 2012 and believes that a healthy mind is a happy mind.

A person’s level of intoxication is measured according to how many grams of alcohol are present per 100 grams of blood. For instance, a BAC of .05 would be .05 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood. When alcoholic beverages are consumed, there are many factors that determine the level of intoxication of the drinker. Two people can consume the same amount of alcohol, yet be affected quite differently.

How The Body Processes Alcohol

All alcohol must be absorbed into the body from the stomach. Once in the stomach, a portion of it is absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to the brain and other parts of the body where it is then processed and eliminated. The more alcohol in the stomach, the more it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The bloodstream and other body organs simply cannot ‘keep up’ when too much alcohol is consumed too fast, so it builds up. The more it builds up, the more intoxicated a person becomes.

Which Drink Contains The Most Alcohol

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The Following 7 Factors Will All Influence A Person’s BAC And The Rate In Which They Become Intoxicated.

Sex- Women tend to become intoxicated easier than men. Muscle mass absorbs alcohol quicker and easier than water. Men not only have more muscle than women, but they have more blood in their bodies with which to dilute and process excess alcohol.

Rate of consumption- The body can eliminate roughly one ounce of alcohol per hour. The faster the alcohol is consumed, the higher the BAC.

Medications- Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning it slows down and represses the functions of the brain and nervous system. Many medications, especially other depressants can interfere with, and intensify the effects of, alcohol in the body. Antihistamines, benzodiazepines, anti-depressants, cough and cold medicines and even aspirin can be dangerous when mixed with alcohol.

Time of last meal- Any food in the stomach will absorb a portion of the alcohol, which then will pass through the intestines instead of being absorbed into the blood stream. Foods high in proteins tend to be the most effective. This is why bars and clubs often provide appetizers such as chicken fingers and burgers.

Type of drink- The amount of alcohol in a beverage is measured by volume. Different types of beverages contain different amounts of alcohol by volume (ABV). A can of beer (3-10%), a glass of wine (8-14%) and 1 oz. of distilled liquor (20-70%, either straight or in a mixed drink) are each considered one drink, but they are far from equal. All these factors will affect the rate of absorption.

Type of mix- When a drink is mixed with juice or water, the absorption is slowed. But carbonated mixers will speed up the rate of absorption, and the effects of the alcohol are intensified.

Be Safe

If you know you're going to be consuming alcohol, take a few precautions against intoxication.

Limit your alcohol consumption to what you can realistically handle. The body absorbs and disposes of roughly 1 ounce of alcohol or 1 standard size drink per hour.

Eat a meal 1/2 hour before heading out or order appetizers with your drinks. Foods like chicken, burgers and cheese will absorb alcohol, which is why they are often served in bars.

Always get a designated driver if you are going to be drinking. There is never a good excuse to drink and drive.

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