How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

Are you heading out tonight to get some drinks and wondering how long will it take for the effect to wear off?

Are you wondering which one of your friends would remain tipsy for that much longer?

We will answer all these questions for you today.

Even though alcohol is metabolized at a constant rate for everyone, some people feel its effects longer than others. That is because the time for alcohol to metabolize in the body depends on various factors. These factors come into play because people have different blood alcohol concentrations (BAC). The factors that affect BAC are:

  • Age: Young people have fast metabolism. Consequently, they process alcohol faster.
  • Gender: Some experts believe that women process alcohol faster than men but this opinion is still under debate
  • Weight: Two people of same age and gender but different weight will process alcohol differently
  • Overall Health: Most of the alcohol is processed through liver. Having a good overall health means you have a healthy liver. Individuals with liver damage will have more problem processing alcohol.
  • Medication: The medications and certain drugs you take affect the time your body takes to process alcohol.
  • Time of last meal: Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach and drinking after eating will affect body differently. Alcohol is absorbed more slowly if you drink after a meal.

A general rule of thumb is that your body takes one hour to break down one unit of alcohol. This is standard unit which equals 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. How much of your drink makes one unit of alcohol depends on what you are drinking.

For instance, there are two units in a pint of low strength beer. It makes three units if you take same amount of high strength beer.

The key to understand why the effects of alcohol wear off the way they do is to understand how the body processes it. Only 10% of the alcohol leaves through breath, perspiration and urine. The amount of alcohol that directly enters the bloodstream travels to the liver. A large amount of what you drink is absorbed into the small blood vessels of the stomach and the small intestine. The excessive alcohol that the liver cannot process will accumulate in the blood and body tissues.

Whether alcohol will be detected in a test depends on the test you are taking. Urine test may come positive within the range of 14 to 48 hours. A breath test may detect alcohol for the next 24 hours after consuming alcohol. A blood test is a reliable way to tell if alcohol was consumed within a couple of hours. The most accurate way of testing for alcohol consumption is the hair follicle test. It is an expensive way of testing but works within 90 days of consumption.

People tend to believe in many myths when it comes to eliminating alcohol from the system faster. Exercising, having a heavy meal, puking, consuming caffeine, drinking lot water will not make the process faster.

These activities will not help you sober up fast.

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