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How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

The liver breaks down alcohol. But, factors like age, gender, weight, and the amount of food they have eaten influences how quickly the body processes alcohol. For example, It can metabolize about one drink per hour for men. The rate of alcohol digestion does not increase by drinking water or sleeping it off.

How long alcohol stays in your system:

  • Blood-6 hours or less
  • Breath-12-24 hours
  • Urine-12-24 hours
  • Saliva-12-24 hours
  • Hair-90 days

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcoholism, alcohol rehab can help. Read on to understand more about how long alcohol stays in your system, blood, urine, and treatment options for alcoholism.

Alcohol and Metabolism: The Process

How long does it take to sober up? Metabolism plays a big factor in alcohol consumption. Even though alcohol moves through the digestive system, it doesn’t undergo extensive digestion in the digestive tract the same way as food does.

When alcohol enters the upper gastrointestinal tract, a portion becomes absorbed right into the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestines. Once alcohol is in the bloodstream, it is carried to the body and moves to the brain.

This absorption in the body can slow down slightly when there is food in the stomach. Food absorbs alcohol, keeping it from coming into contact with the stomach lining, and slows this transition from the stomach to the duodenum. Without food in the stomach, alcohol absorbs rapidly into the bloodstream.

Amount of Time Until Alcohol Effects Begin

A person who is in good health will generally feel the effects of alcohol within 15 to 45 minutes of consuming. Most men with a low tolerance will start exhibiting signs of intoxication when their blood alcohol level (BAC) rises to 0.05%.

They become unable to drive at 0.7%. They then reach intoxication at 0.10%. A woman who weighs roughly 150 pounds will reach intoxication at 0.1% if she consumes four cocktails within an hour.

Identifying Intoxication

The more your BAC rises, the more likely you’ll show signs of intoxication, which include:

  • Confusion
  • Memory issues
  • Slurred speech
  • Breathing issues
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Concentrating issues
  • Impaired coordination

Risks that come with intoxication include:

  • Violence
  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Unhealthy behavior
  • Motor accidents
  • Accidental death 

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in the Blood?

Alcohol becomes broken down through the liver’s alcohol dehydrogenase. Usually, the liver can metabolize one drink per hour for men. Additionally, to processing through the liver, about 10% of alcohol in the blood is also excreted through urine, sweat, and breath.

The suggested one drink per hour to maintain coherence is as listed:

  • 12oz of beer
  • 5oz of wine
  • 1.5oz of 80 proof alcohol

Factors that affect how quickly alcohol breaks down in the body include:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Metabolism
  • Medications
  • Alcohol proof
  • Food consumption

What Causes Alcoholism?

Many people don’t understand what causes alcoholism, but there is no simple answer to this question. Alcoholism‘s development can happen by multiple factors, including environment and genetics. Studies have confirmed a potential link between depression and genetic vulnerability to alcoholism development.

It is also suggested that the element of consuming alcohol at a young age puts people at a higher risk of developing alcoholism. Other factors that may cause alcoholism are still being investigated. Analysis has also shown that an individual’s home environment might affect their chances of becoming an alcoholic.

What Alcohol Does to Your Body

Consequences to the body because of alcohol consumption include: 

  • Immune system – The immune system fights off viruses, germs, and other illnesses. Alcohol slows down the immune system, making the bacteria-fighting white blood cells slower and less efficient. Heavy alcohol drinkers are more likely to succumb to pneumonia or tuberculosis and could develop various cancer forms.
  • Skeletal system – Abusing alcohol suppresses new bone production, putting people at risk of osteoporosis and bone breaks. It also causes muscle cramps, weakness, and atrophy.
  • Reproductive system – A common side effect of alcohol abuse in men is erectile dysfunction. Hormone generation could also be inhibited, causing infertility. With women, alcohol consumption causes menstruation issues and infertility. It also increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Circulatory system – Just one heavy drinking session can cause trouble for the heart. Therefore, heavy drinkers are more likely to have heart problems than casual drinkers. This risk may be even higher for females. Heart problems include high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and irregular heartbeat. 
  • Digestive system – Alcohol makes it difficult for the intestines to control bacteria and absorb nutrients, which leads to malnutrition.
  • Central nervous system – Alcohol changes behavior by inhibiting speaking and causing slurred speech and coordination. It affects memory and impulse control, which can lead to blackouts. Alcohol causes weakness, numbness, and temporary paralysis. Long-term alcohol abuse shrinks the brain’s frontal lobe.
  • Excretory system – This system removes waste products like alcohol from the body. Alcohol abuse causes the pancreas to loses average insulin production to increase toxic substances that lead to destruction. Too much alcohol can lead to cirrhosis, hepatitis, and eventually destroy the organ. Alcohol abuse also causes bladder, kidney, and prostate inflammation.

Risks of Alcohol Abuse

Data shows that about 14.5 million American citizens aged 12 or older suffered from alcohol use disorder in 2017. This figure factors 5.3% of all people in this age group. Deaths related to alcohol are the third leading cause of preventable mortality across the nation. Roughly 88,000 people die every year from liver failure, drunk driving, overdose, and other accidents.

Understanding how alcohol is metabolized and registering your blood alcohol levels can help prevent intoxication and alcohol poisoning. Recognizing the dangers of alcohol abuse also helps avoid alcohol intolerance, insobriety, and a compulsive alcohol abuse pattern that leads to dependence.

Treatment for Alcoholism 

For most people, the first step in treating alcoholism is with medical detox. People suffering from alcohol dependence and attempt to stop cold turkey could experience severe complications, including withdrawal seizures. A supervised medical detox program is usually needed to keep somebody safe and comfortable throughout the withdrawal process.

For those at high risk of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, multiple inpatient treatment days at a rehab facility to medically manage alcohol withdrawal may be crucial to the recovery process. After completing a successful alcohol detox, more comprehensive rehab will commence. The different treatment settings for various alcohol treatment programs include:

  • Residential treatment – These treatment programs are short term lasting 28 to 90 days or longer. Residential treatment is for those who need continuous supervision to maintain sobriety.
  • Intensive outpatient treatment – These treatment programs require patients to come to a facility to three days per week, 3 to 5 hours per session. Outpatient treatment members can continue living at home if the home environment is stable. These programs are built for those who have completed residential treatment, suffer from a lesser severe form of an alcohol use disorder, or have obligations at home like work, school, or a dependent love one. 

Addiction Treatment Approaches

Whether treating alcoholism in an inpatient or outpatient therapy program, most rehab centers will use a combination of several treatment approaches which include:

  • Dialectical behavioral therapy – This form of treatment includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) along with motivational enhancement. Each approach focuses on helping patients suffering from alcoholism to think differently about their disorder. CBT concentrates on recognizing maladaptive behaviors and acquiring new coping skills to manage sobriety and avoid relapse.
  • Family therapy – This form of therapy includes helping family members set boundaries and behaviors to enhance an alcoholic family member’s recovery.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment – This form of treatment includes an integrated treatment plan for alcoholism and mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Treating both conditions at once helps to sustain recovery from both disorders.
  • Group therapy – Group therapy meetings like 12-step and alcoholics anonymous (AA) emphasize alcoholics recognition and ongoing support recovery.

MAT for Alcoholism Recovery

Some people suffering from alcoholism can benefit from medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by minimizing cravings and decreasing the risk of relapse. When coupled with behavioral therapy, MATs can help people become sober. Some MATs for alcoholism include:

Campral: This medication works with the GABA and glutamate neurotransmitter systems by controlling anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia co-occur with alcohol withdrawal. It can help patients maintain long-term sobriety, especially for those who are heavily dependent on alcohol.

Disulfiram: This medication keeps patients from drinking when they are motivated to quit. If somebody uses disulfiram and then consumes alcohol, the result is nausea, flushing, and rapid heart rate feeling.

Naltrexone: This treatment type acts on the opioid receptors to prevent the rewarding feeling of consuming alcohol, which potentially reduces cravings. The extended-release form known as Vivitrol is an injection that is only administered once a month.

Topiramate: This medication is sometimes used to help decrease drinking behavior and recovering patients.

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one is suffering from an alcohol use disorder, getting treatment is critical for your body and lifestyle. Here at Free By The Sea, our treatment staff can get you back on track to living a healthy and happy sober lifestyle. Do not hesitate any longer; contact us today at Free By The Sea and allow our specialists to answer any question.

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