Substance Use

How Do Blood Alcohol Levels Affect Your Body?

TABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents

breathalyzer for blood alcohol levels

Blood Alcohol Levels and Their Effects

You’ve probably heard that drinking alcohol can be bad for your health. But what does that actually mean? How do blood alcohol levels affect your body, and what are the risks? In this article, we’ll discuss how alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, how it affects different body parts, and the dangers of drinking too much.

For those who may be struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, we’ll also touch on some resources that can help you get the treatment you need. To speak to one of our specialists, call us at (855) 430-9439.

What is blood alcohol concentration (BAC)?

When you drink alcohol, it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of your stomach and intestines. The amount of alcohol in your blood is measured in terms of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and it depends on a variety of factors, including your weight, sex, age, how much food is in your stomach, and how much you’ve had to drink. Generally speaking, the more alcohol you consume, the higher your BAC will be.

How alcohol works

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver by enzymes, resulting in several by-products that are eventually excreted in the urine. The rate at which alcohol is absorbed and metabolized varies depending on factors including gender, weight, and the type of drink consumed.

The effects of alcohol use on the body depends on the amount of alcohol consumed. A small amount of alcohol will result in feelings of relaxation and euphoria, while more significant amounts can cause slurred speech, vomiting, blackouts and impaired motor function. Extremely high blood alcohol content can lead to alcohol poisoning, coma, and death.

Blood alcohol levels are measured using grams of ethanol per deciliter (g/dL). A blood alcohol level of 0.08 g/dL or higher in the United States is considered drunk, and over the legal limit for driving.

What affects how alcohol is metabolized by the body?

Several factors affect how quickly your body absorbs and metabolizes alcohol.

When it comes to weight, the heavier you are, the more water your body has to dilute the alcohol. This means that someone who weighs 200 pounds will have a lower blood alcohol level than someone who weighs 150 pounds after consuming the same amount of alcoholic drinks.

The type of drink you consume also affects how quickly your body absorbs alcohol. Hard liquor, such as vodka or whiskey, is absorbed more rapidly than beer or wine, and this is because hard liquor has a higher concentration of alcohol.

It’s important to remember that everyone metabolizes alcohol differently. Some people may feel the effects of alcohol after just one drink, while others may be able to drink more without feeling any effects. If you drink, it’s essential to do so responsibly and always have a designated driver. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including liver damage and addiction.

Addiction can quickly lead to alcohol tolerance, which means you need to drink more and more alcohol to feel the same effects. This can lead to serious health problems that must be treated by a medical professional. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, contact Zinnia Healing today. Our goal is to help you get on the road to recovery and live a sober, healthy life.

What does BAC mean for your body?

When you have a high BAC level, it means that there’s a lot of alcohol in your bloodstream. Alcohol can affect different parts of the body in specific ways:

  • The liver: The liver helps break down alcohol so it can be eliminated from the body. When you drink too much, however, the liver can’t keep up and begins to process other toxins as well instead. This can lead to serious health problems like cirrhosis or liver failure.
  • The brain: Alcohol disrupts the way the brain works by interfering with communication between nerve cells. This can cause mood swings, slurred speech, and impaired judgment.
  • The heart: Alcohol can cause high blood pressure and irregular heart rate. It can also make it difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively, leading to a heart attack.
  • The pancreas: Drinking too much alcohol can cause inflammation of the pancreas, which can lead to pancreatitis (a severe and potentially life-threatening condition).

Common side effects associated with drinking?

There are many risks associated with drinking too much alcohol. One of the most well-known effects of alcohol is that it can impair your motor function, making it difficult to walk or drive. This is because alcohol affects the part of the brain that controls movement. As your BAC increases, your coordination and reflexes will worsen, and you’ll be more likely to make mistakes or have accidents. Some more common side effects can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of judgment
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of consciousness

Alcohol abuse

Alcohol abuse or excessive binge drinking is when someone drinks too much and becomes dependent on alcohol. Alcohol abuse can have various harmful consequences for the individual drinking and those around them.

This can lead to some negative consequences, including:

  • Relationship problems: Alcohol abuse can lead to fights with loved ones, missed work or school, and even divorce.
  • Financial problems: Heavy drinking can lead to missed work, job loss, and legal troubles that result in expensive fines or jail time.
  • Health problems: Excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver damage, heart disease, pancreatitis, and other health problems.
  • Social isolation: Drinking too much can make it challenging to maintain healthy relationships or make friends. It can also lead to behavioral changes and even homelessness.
  • Criminal activity: Alcohol abuse can lead to violence, property damage, and other illegal activity.

Alcohol addiction treatment

Thankfully, several resources are available for those struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction. Alcohol addicts can get help through many different types of treatment, including:

  • Detoxification: This is the first step in alcohol addiction treatment. During detox, the body will eliminate all the alcohol in the system. This can be difficult and sometimes dangerous, so detoxing under medical supervision is essential.
  • Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation programs can help people learn how to live without alcohol. These programs typically involve group therapy, individual counseling, and educational classes.
  • Medication: Many medications can be used to treat alcohol addiction. These include disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone (Revia), and acamprosate (Campral).
  • Support groups: Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon can provide peer support and guidance for those struggling with alcohol abuse and their loved ones.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, don’t hesitate to get help. There are many resources available to those who need them, and treatment can make a world of difference. Getting help from a healthcare center before things spiral out of control is the best course of action. Remember, you are not alone.

Final thoughts

Drinking too much alcohol can have several harmful consequences for your body. It’s essential to be aware of the risks associated with drinking and to get help if you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction. There are multiple treatment options available.

Zinnia Healing offers resources needed for a successful journey on the road to recovery. If you or someone you know needs help, our specialists are available to speak with you. Please reach out to us online or call us at (855) 430-9439.