Medically the review by Cynthia Taylor Chavoustie, MPAS, PA-C — created by Louisa Richards on may 28, 2020

How numerous drinks that takes for someone to become intoxicated can vary from person to person. Because that example, it have the right to depend top top how regularly they drink, their size, and also whether or no they have consumed anything recently.

This article looks at alcohol absorption and also metabolism, what reasons someone to feel drunk, and what reasons hangovers.

It likewise looks in ~ measuring alcohol and drinking limit recommendations, levels of intoxication, and also some commonly asked questions.

Share ~ above PinterestA person’s size can influence the variety of drinks the takes because that them to obtain drunk.

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As alcohol beginning someone’s upper gastrointestinal tract, the is absorbed through the stomach lining right into the bloodstream.

According to the nationwide Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol enters the bloodstream really quickly.

The blood carries then the alcohol v the body and also into the brain.

If someone has food in their stomach, it have the right to slow the process of alcohol absorb down. Otherwise, the body absorbs alcohol very rapidly, and also the effects can start to display after only 10 minutes.

What causes a human being to feel drunk?

Alcohol has an result on many different systems and organs in the body, i beg your pardon can reason the sensations that human being associate v feeling drunk.

Some that alcohol’s effects on the body are as follows:

It can also cause the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, resulting in a human being feeling relaxed.It downregulates glutamate, which renders someone’s brain slower to respond to stimuli.It additionally activates gamma-aminobutyric acid, i beg your pardon makes civilization feel calm.
What causes hangovers?

The complying with are few of the determinants that contribute to a hangover:

Immune factors

Alcohol has actually a significant effect on the immune system.

Scientists indicate that increases in inflammation immune cells add to the nausea, fatigue, and headache associated with hangovers.

Disrupted sleep

Alcohol can disrupt a who sleep. This can cause a human to feel tired the following day.

According to the NIAAA, spend alcohol can reason fragmented sleep and also cause a human to wake earlier.


After absorption, the human body metabolizes alcohol into acetaldehyde, which reasons toxic effects and tissue damage.

This may cause some hangover symptoms, consisting of nausea, sweating, and also headache.


In the hangover phase, the body can concentrate and metabolize the methanol current in alcohol into toxic compounds.

The body just metabolizes methanol after ~ it has actually cleared the ethanol indigenous the system.

Researchers think that this may explain why “the hair of the dog” helps hold-up a hangover. Ethanol itself likewise produces a hangover, however.


Congeners space substances current in alcohol. Researchers think the these may contribute to hangover severity.

According come an older 2010 review, beverages containing fewer congeners — such as vodka — may reason fewer hangover symptoms than beverages such together bourbon.

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the portion of alcohol in someone’s blood.

Law enforcement can measure and detect a who BAC within 30–70 minute of them spend alcohol.

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In the unified States, a BAC level of 0.08% is the traditional to recognize legal intoxication. However, some states have added standards, such as a BAC lowered to 0.04% for drivers of commercial vehicles.

Many states impose harsh penalty for chauffeurs whose BAC is especially high.

People can use a calculator to uncover out your approximate BAC level. However, they must not depend on this to determine whether or not they room fit to job-related or drive.

Although the traditional to recognize legal intoxication is a BAC of 0.08% in the U.S., people can come to be intoxicated at levels lower than this.

Levels that intoxication can depend ~ above a who weight and also age. How regularly castle drink and when they last ate have the right to also impact their intoxication level.

As shortly as someone takes a sip the alcohol, the starts to get in their bloodstream. The impacts can be noticeable in as little as 10 minutes. As someone’s BAC increases, they can become much more impaired through the effects of intoxication.

The results of alcohol intoxication might include:

slurred speechreduced inhibitionsimpairment of engine abilitiesconfusionmemory problemsconcentration problems

More extreme impacts of intoxication can incorporate breathing problems, coma, and, in rarer cases, death.

The adhering to are one alcoholic drink equivalents:

12 liquid ounces (oz) the beer through 5% alcohol5 liquid oz of wine v 12% alcohol1.5 liquid oz the spirits through 40% alcohol

People should consider the size of the beverage and also its alcohol content when calculating just how much castle have had to drink.

For example, a beer might be more than 12 oz, so even if the alcohol content is still 5%, it would be an ext than one drink equivalent.

Mixed beverages and cocktails vary in your alcohol content and can save on computer a variable variety of drink equivalents.