If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line or call 911: 1-800-273-8255, press 1 or Text 83825

What Does Alcohol Do to You

Have you ever drank the same amount as your buddy, but one of you gets drunk quicker than the other? Or maybe you left a party early last weekend because that beer made you feel sick, when it usually doesn’t. That’s because many different factors play into how quickly you feel the effects of drinking. And some of these factors vary every time you drink.

Check out these eight factors that can affect how quickly you start feeling buzzed, tipsy or drunk:
  • Your age: Bottom line, as you get older, it takes less alcohol for you to feel buzzed, tipsy or drunk. There are two reasons. 1) As people get older, the amount of water in their body decreases. The less water in your body, the quicker each drink will affect you. 2) It takes longer for your body to process alcohol as you age.
  • Your gender: The recommended limits for men and women are different. The recommended drinking limit per day for women is one drink and for men it is two drinks. This is because each gender absorbs and processes alcohol at different speeds.
  • Your race: Every race has a different genetic make-up that may change the speed that your body breaks down alcohol. Find tips on how to drink responsibly so that you can own your limit.
  • Your physical condition (weight, fitness level, etc.): Physical condition directly effects how long it takes for alcohol to process through the body. Meaning, someone with more muscle will have a lower BAC compared to someone with more fat. And if your physical condition changes (like if you lose weight), alcohol is going to hit you much quicker than before the weight loss. Remember to take this into account when you decide how much you’re going to drink.
  • The amount of food and water you had before drinking: The less food and water you have in your system before drinking, the quicker you get drunk. That’s because food and water slow down how quickly the body absorbs alcohol. Make sure you and your buddies hydrate and eat enough before drinking so that you can hit the town the right way.
  • How quickly you drink: Your body can break down no more than one standard drink each hour. If you decide to down three shots in an hour, your BAC will rise and you’ll get drunk much faster than you might want.
  • Your use of drugs or medication(s): Substances, such as drugs or medications (prescription and over-the-counter included), interact with alcohol which could be harmful to your body or make the medication less effective. Talk to your doctor before mixing any amount of alcohol with other drugs.
  • Any family history of alcohol use problems: If a close relative or sibling has struggled with alcohol use, the chances increase that you may also struggle with it. Ask your family about their alcohol use history and talk to your doctor about questions you may have on how to manage your alcohol use.

Own Your Limit: It is always a good idea to talk to your doctor and/or family about the above factors and how they may affect you. Stay within your limit or say no to alcohol to protect yourself and your future.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line or call 911: 1-800-273-8255, press 1 or Text 83825