Prepare to be carrying these folks into a cab after a night out. Alcohol is a major cause of motor vehicle accidents and poor decision-making. If a person chooses to consume alcohol, they should do so safely and take whatever steps are necessary to avoid putting themselves and others in harm’s way. It sedates certain areas of the brain that control judgment, self-control, and inhibitions. As such, this can lead to excitable behavior as a person loses their inhibitions. Alcohol roughly leaves the body at an average rate of 0.015 grams per 100 milliliters per hour.

This stage usually occurs at a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01 to 0.05 and occurs with one drink or less per hour for most people. When people drink on an empty stomach, the alcohol moves more quickly from the stomach to the small intestines, where it’s then absorbed into the bloodstream. As a result, not only does the alcohol reach the blood much faster, but one experiences a rapid rise in their blood alcohol level.


The risk of an accident increases significantly when you drink. While a BAC of .08 or over can get you into legal trouble, any amount of alcohol can interfere with your ability to drive safely. Female bodies also tend to contain less water to dilute alcohol and produce less of the enzyme dehydrogenase, which helps the liver break down alcohol. You’ve knocked back a few drinks and things start looking a little fuzzy. It’s getting late but you are nowhere near ready to stop the party. You do not care if your buddy has got work in the morning or if your sister has to get home to the babysitter — NO!

  • Chronic drinking can even cause dementia by causing a dangerous vitamin B-1 (thiamine) deficiency.
  • A feature of this stage is blacking out or losing memory while drinking.
  • They are also at risk for respiratory depression, so medical attention should be sought.
  • As you drink, alcohol goes into your bloodstream and affects your brain and body functions.
  • More than half (nearly 52 percent) of our survey participants revealed that they’d had depressing thoughts while drinking alcohol.

It can be helpful to know the signs of being drunk so you can avoid possible harm to yourself by continuing to drink. For example, a BAC of 0.05 means that the person’s blood is 0.05% alcohol. Like other poisons, the body works to rapidly remove it from the blood, which makes a lot of work for the liver and kidneys. Heavy drinking tends to cause more serious intoxication and may eventually cause serious health issues, such as blackouts or kidney failure. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information.

Is there a safe approach to drinking?

In addition, women typically have lower alcohol dehydrogenase levels, which is an enzyme that helps break down alcohol. Mixing different types of alcoholic drinks can rapidly bring up BAC levels and make a person feel and appear intoxicated much more quickly than if they stick to one kind only. However, this is more likely due to how mixing drinks may cause a person to consume a larger amount of alcohol in a short period of time.

  • You do not care if your buddy has got work in the morning or if your sister has to get home to the babysitter — NO!
  • You may think that you’re sober once you’re able to walk in a straight line, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t drunk.
  • In 2020, drunk driving accidents in the U.S. killed 11,654 people.
  • While in the brain, ethanol wanders around, causes feel-good dopamine to be released and links up with nerve receptors.
  • Alcohol forces our bodies to create an increased amount of serotonin and endorphins, which are responsible for regulating our emotions and our sense of relaxation and happiness.

At this stage, people are at increased risk of alcohol poisoning. The gag reflex may stop working properly, and it may be the feeling of being drunk possible to choke on vomit. They are also at risk for respiratory depression, so medical attention should be sought.

What Does It Feel Like to Be Drunk?

BAC is the amount of alcohol in your blood compared to the amount of water in your blood. In the United States, you’re considered legally drunk if you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter (dL). Your liver can metabolize about one standard drink per hour, but that doesn’t mean that your buzz will wear off that quickly. How alcohol affects you, how drunk you get, and how long it lasts depends on several factors.

the feeling of being drunk

You can’t really predict how long you’ll stay drunk, and try as you might to stop being drunk faster, there’s nothing you can do to lower your BAC once you’ve started drinking. This is the time of the night when you hear your favorite song and make sure that everyone in the bar knows that you know all of the lyrics. You hit the dance floor and sing/scream about 90% of the lyrics, sippin’ on your drink whenever your brain comes up short. Delaying emergency care increases the risk of serious health issues, including death. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 70.1% of adults in the United States report drinking alcohol during the past year. For a while, I thought I was maybe an alcoholic – or at the very least a troubled drinker by proxy.

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