Certainly we don't feel the effects of alcohol forever, but should you worry about driving the next morning after drinking the night before? An expert explains just how long it takes your body to rid itself of alcohol.
Most people know common symptoms of consuming alcohol too much, the most obvious being harm to your liver.
The liver filters blood from the digestive tract to the rest of your body and in the process of breaking down the alcohol you consume, your liver encounters toxins.
Heavy drinking can lead to the reduction of blood flow as your liver will have to break the alcohol down. This can cause liver cells to die, halting liver function that plays a vital role in much more than detoxification.
Individuals break down alcohol at different rates, but in general, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism director George Koob says most people can metabolize half a drink every hour. He also explains it in terms of your blood alcohol content (BAC), which is calculated as a percentage of the grams of alcohol you've consumed per 100 milliliters of blood.
"If you're at 0.08 BAC, if you don't drink anymore, in two hours you'd probably be [at] about 0.05," he said, as quoted by health.com. This means the average person's BAC lowers at about 0.015 an hour.
A breathalyzer measures your BAC by calculating how much alcohol is in the air you blow onto it. For reference, you can get a DUI if you drive while having a BAC of 0.08 or higher.
If you weigh around 70 kilograms, just four strong drinks can put you there.
Nevertheless, every person's body reacts differently to alcohol. The above findings are simply averages when it comes to alcohol use. The effects of many drinks on your friends might not be how you feel if you try to drink as quickly, leading to misjudgments when it comes to tolerance.
For reference, a small glass of red wine has around 1.5 units of alcohol, as one unit of alcohol is eight grams or 10 milliliters of pure alcohol.
A pint of strong beer has around 3, and a small shot of liquor has about 1.
After seeing the hours it takes to fully metabolize alcohol for an average person, how long would it take for alcohol to become undetectable in the body?
According to American Addiction Centres, "Alcohol is detectable for up to 6 hours in blood; about 12 to 24 hours in breath, urine and saliva; and up to 90 days in hair."