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

How many drinks the takes for someone to become intoxicated can vary from human being to person. Because that example, it deserve to depend ~ above how often they drink, their size, and also whether or not they have eaten anything recently.

This write-up looks at alcohol absorption and metabolism, what reasons someone to feel drunk, and also what causes hangovers.

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

Share on PinterestA person’s size deserve to influence the variety of drinks that takes because that them to acquire drunk.

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As alcohol start someone’s top gastrointestinal tract, it is soaked up through the stomach lining into the bloodstream.

According to the national Institute ~ above Alcohol Abuse and also Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol beginning the bloodstream an extremely quickly.

The blood carries climate the alcohol through the body and also into the brain.

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

What causes a human to feel drunk?

Alcohol has actually an effect on numerous different systems and organs in the body, which can cause the emotion that civilization associate through feeling drunk.

Some the alcohol’s impacts on the body space as follows:

It can additionally cause the relax of the neurotransmitter dopamine, bring about a human being feeling relaxed.It downregulates glutamate, which provides someone’s brain slower come respond come stimuli.It likewise activates gamma-aminobutyric acid, i beg your pardon makes world feel calm.
What reasons hangovers?

The following are some of the components that add to a hangover:

Immune factors

Alcohol has a far-ranging effect on the immune system.

Scientists imply that boosts in inflammation immune cells contribute to the nausea, fatigue, and also headache associated with hangovers.

Disrupted sleep

Alcohol have the right to disrupt a who sleep. This can cause a person to feel exhausted the following day.

According to the NIAAA, consuming alcohol can cause fragmented sleep and also cause a person to wake earlier.


After absorption, the body metabolizes alcohol right into acetaldehyde, which causes toxic effects and also tissue damage.

This may reason some hangover symptoms, including nausea, sweating, and headache.


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

The body only metabolizes methanol ~ it has cleared the ethanol indigenous the system.

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


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

According come an enlarge 2010 review, beverages containing under congeners — such as vodka — may cause fewer hangover symptoms than beverages such as bourbon.

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

Law enforcement deserve to measure and detect a person’s BAC within 30–70 minutes of them spend alcohol.

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In the joined States, a BAC level that 0.08% is the traditional to identify legal intoxication. However, some claims have additional standards, such as a BAC lowered to 0.04% for motorists of commercial vehicles.

Many claims impose harsh penalties for drivers whose BAC is especially high.

People can use a calculator to find out their approximate BAC level. However, they have to not count on this to determine whether or no they room fit to work or drive.

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

Levels the intoxication deserve to depend top top a who weight and age. Just how regularly castle drink and also when they last ate deserve to also influence their intoxication level.

As shortly as someone takes a sip that alcohol, the starts to go into their bloodstream. The effects can be obvious in as little as 10 minutes. As someone’s BAC increases, they deserve to become an ext impaired through the results of intoxication.

The results of alcohol intoxication may include:

slurred speechreduced inhibitionsimpairment of motor abilitiesconfusionmemory problemsconcentration problems

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

The complying with are one alcohol addict drink equivalents:

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

People should think about the size of the beverage and its alcohol content as soon as calculating exactly how much castle have had actually to drink.

For example, a beer can be an ext than 12 oz, so also if the alcohol contents is quiet 5%, it would be an ext than one drink equivalent.

Mixed beverages and also cocktails vary in your alcohol content and also can contain a variable variety of drink equivalents.