How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System

Alcohol is metabolised by the human body at a rate of about one standard drink per hour on average.

However, as we already know, the human body functions differently in each individual depending on their age, gender, body composition, metabolism, and general health.

All of these things affect how long alcohol stays in a person’s system and how long it takes to show its effects.

Our understanding of how alcohol is broken down in our bodies can only be gained by studying the human body’s path of consumption.


Alcohol enters the stomach and small intestines, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream via the tissue lining of the stomach and small intestines. When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it travels to the brain where it has an effect on the central nervous system.

Note: When the stomach is full, the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the body decreases.

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How Long Does It Take for Alcohol to Leave You?

How long alcohol remains in your system depends on a variety of factors, just like how alcohol is processed in the human body, as we previously stated.

A more common concern is how long alcohol can stay in our systems after a night of heavy drinking; this is the one that worries the majority of drinkers.

We can estimate that it takes about an hour for our bodies to break down alcohol (we are talking about one standard drink). In order for the body to fully process/metabolize and eliminate alcohol, it must take its own time.

The amount of time that alcohol stays in your system depends on a variety of factors, including the type of drug used to detect it.

Alcohol can be detected in the blood for up to 12 hours and is eliminated from the blood stream at a rate of 0.015 per hour.

Using the ethyl glucuronide (EtG) test or the traditional methods, alcohol can be detected in the urine for up to 10-12 hours after consumption using the urine as a urine sample.

Hair Follicle Drug can detect alcohol for up to 90 days using hair samples, primarily hair follicles.

Alcohol’s Effects on the Human Body

Once alcohol enters your system, the process or pathway it follows is straightforward, which is why the concentration of alcohol in your system and the amount you consume are linked.

Alcohol, like any other food or drink, enters the digestive system through the mouth, stomach, and small intestine after consumption. On average, the stomach only absorbs around 20% of alcohol.

The rest is absorbed in the small intestine. Alcohol enters the bloodstream after absorption and is transported throughout the body, which explains why it has such a wide range of effects on the body.

As a result of the liver’s alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme, most of the alcohol absorbed in the blood is metabolised.

The rate at which alcohol is metabolised in the body has a direct impact on the effects of the drink. One ounce of liquor or one standard drink can be processed by our livers in about an hour on average.

You’ll only get an alcohol hangover if you go over this limit and try to drink more than your body can handle. A person’s body becomes saturated with alcohol and any additional amount is metabolised slowly by the liver until it is able to do so.

This is why excessive alcohol consumption can cause brain cell damage and other bodily harm, and it can also lead to alcohol poisoning.

To avoid alcohol poisoning, the human brain and body can process alcohol very intelligently, quickly, and efficiently if it is consumed at a standard rate.

90% to 98% of the alcohol consumed is absorbed and metabolised, and the rest is expelled through urine, faeces, sweat, or vomit.

BAC (Blood Alcohol Level) 

The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) measures how much alcohol is in a person’s bloodstream after they’ve consumed it (BAC). The mass of alcohol per volume of blood is used to calculate BAC, which is a measure of how much ethanol is present in a person’s system.

An ounce of alcohol has a blood-alcohol content of approximately 0.015 percent. This explains why, 10 hours after consuming alcohol, a person with a blood alcohol concentration of.015 will have little or no alcohol in their system.

As a result, it’s critical to remember that the more alcohol someone consumes, the longer it will stay in their system. When a person’s blood-alcohol level rises above 0.5 percent to 0.55 percent, alcohol has a negative impact. There is a shift in mood from a state of calm to one of irritability and disorientation.

Our sense of balance and motor skills begin to deteriorate at a level of 0.8 to 0.9 percent of blood alcohol concentration. At this point, some people may begin to vomit or feel nauseous; this generally occurs when the body’s ability to process and metabolise alcohol is exceeded.

A person is considered intoxicated and cannot operate a motor vehicle in the United States if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is greater than 0.8 percent.

Processed Alcohol Is Affected by Several Factors

The rate at which alcohol is metabolised in the human body is fairly standard, but as previously mentioned, it can be affected by a variety of factors.

It is possible that some people will experience the aftereffects of alcohol consumption more quickly or for a longer period of time than the majority. As a result, there can be a variety of reasons why the effects of alcohol consumption can fluctuate.

Although it may come as a surprise, it has been found and proven that the longer a person is in their twenties or thirties, the longer alcohol stays in their liver before it is metabolised or released into the bloodstream.

Another factor that contributes to a higher BAC is the fact that the amount of water we consume decreases as we get older. An older person’s liver is also more likely to be burdened by the side effects of multiple medications.

The Science of Sex

There is no doubt in our minds that the female body functions in a unique manner from the male.

The female body metabolises alcohol at a slower rate than the male body for a variety of physiological reasons; alcohol remains in the female body longer than it does in the male body.

To a greater extent than in men, this is due to the fact that women’s bodies contain more fat and less water.

Even if we compare two people of the same height, weight, and alcohol consumption, the male body has a higher percentage of water, which means that their body will dilute alcohol at a higher rate than the female body.

Hormone levels also play a role in how well a person can process alcohol, and women tend to have a higher BAC when they drink right before their period.

In addition, studies have shown that women’s bodies have lower levels of the alcohol-processing enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase.

Consumption of Food

When the stomach is full, the absorption of alcohol is reduced. When it comes to absorption, we can say that eating food before or after drinking has a significant impact on the stomach’s capacity.

Because food dilutes and slows down the absorption of alcoholic beverages, this method works as follows:

When compared to someone who eats before drinking, a person with an empty stomach may have a BAC three times higher than someone who eats before drinking.

In order to reduce the rate of alcohol absorption in the body, it is recommended to eat regular meals or snacks prior to or in conjunction with alcohol consumption.

Size of the Body 

Size and composition of a person’s body, as well as the rate at which alcohol is metabolised, play a significant role.

People with more body fat tend to have higher blood alcohol concentrations because the fatty tissue in their bodies that is low in water cannot absorb alcohol as quickly as fatty tissue that is high in water can.

A person who is extremely muscular but short in stature will have a higher percentage of BAC than someone of the same composition who is taller than them.

Prescription Drugs

If you’re taking a medication that interferes with the body’s metabolism, it may alter how the body metabolises alcohol. As a result, alcohol enters the bloodstream more quickly, which can lead to overconsumption and other health problems.

Higher BAC levels and a more rapid onset of intoxication are the result of this. One or two medications, such as those listed below, are known to interact with alcohol:

medications for anxiety such as Xanax or Adderall are among the most commonly prescribed medications. Chlorpropamide, for example, is a diabetes medication.

It is true that many people who drink underestimate the amount of alcohol they have consumed because they do not use standard drink measurements. If you’re going to have a standard drink, you’re going to get a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of liquor like whiskey or vodka, or a 5-ounce wine glass.

A Drink Will Stay in Your System For How Long?

If we’re talking about science, then the breakdown of alcohol molecules in the liver by an enzyme called Alcohol Dehydrogenase is the process of alcohol absorption (synthesized in the liver).

Men’s livers can typically metabolise or break down one standard drink per hour, or about 0.015g/100mL/hour, i.e., 0.015/hour can reduce blood alcohol levels. In addition, 10% of ingested alcohol is excreted in the body’s waste products like sweat, breath, and urine.

As a point of reference, a “standard” beverage is defined as:

Approximately 12 fl oz of beer, 8-9 oz of malt liquor, 5 oz of wine, and a 5 oz shot of the following distilled spirits: vodka, whiskey, gin

As has already been stated.

Are Water and Coffee Helpful in Sobriety?

Having a glass of water or a cup of coffee after drinking won’t do much to speed up the breakdown and elimination of alcohol or help you feel more alert than you did when you were drunk.

Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will rise as long as you consume alcohol at a rate greater than the rate at which it is eliminated from your system.

After How Many Hours of Breathalyzing?

The type of test used has a significant impact on the time it takes to detect alcohol in your system.

Consumption of alcohol leaves alcohol in the bloodstream for up to six hours afterward.
After drinking, take a breathalyser test 12 to 24 hours later.

After a night of heavy drinking, the body produces a small amount of saliva, which can last for up to 24 hours.

Ethanol metabolites, such as ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulphate, can be detected in urine after 12 to 24 hours using traditional methods and 72 hours or more using more recent methods.

For as long as 90 days.

Because alcohol is quickly metabolised, most clinicians rely on observations of alcohol use, such as slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, and hangovers.

In addition, a breathalyser test is commonly used to determine whether or not a subject is intoxicated or has recently consumed alcohol.

What is the Lethal Alcohol Intake?

If we consume too much alcohol, the consequences can be both serious and life-threatening, such as alcohol overdose or poisoning.

This can include a slowing or failure of vital bodily functions like breathing, heart pumping, and pulse rate if there is too much alcohol in the system.

A person may begin to feel the negative effects of intoxication if the body’s ability to expel alcohol exceeds the body’s ability to absorb it.


Speech, memory, attention, and coordination are all negatively affected by a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.06 percent and 0.15 percent, and while balance is only slightly affected, driving is severely hindered.

Speech, memory, attention, balance, reaction time, and coordination are all severely impaired at a blood alcohol concentration of 16 percent or lower, making driving a potentially deadly proposition. One’s capacity for sound judgement and sound decision-making is also compromised at this level.

If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is between 31% and 445%, you’re at an increased risk of death and a life-threatening overdose.

The following is a short list of signs and symptoms that you may be suffering from an alcohol poisoning:

  • A state of profound mental disarray.
  • Insanity, stupor, and coma.
  • Vomiting.
  • Clamshell-like skin.
  • Pale or bluish skin colour.
  • Body temperature is too low.
  • Slow heart rate.
  • Breathing that is sluggish or irregular.

Alcohol overdose is more likely to occur if a person consumes four or more drinks in two hours for a woman or five or more drinks in two hours for an individual.

Extreme binge drinking is defined as consuming 20 or more drinks in a single sitting above the recommended daily limit. The liver’s ability to absorb and eliminate alcohol is outpaced by rapid alcohol consumption, resulting in a rapid rise in blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Combined with opioid or sedative-hypnotic medications like painkillers, sleep medications, or anti-anxiety drugs, the risk of overdose may be even greater.

The respiratory system is primarily affected by these drugs, which suppress breathing. These effects are amplified when alcohol is consumed, and even moderate amounts of alcohol can result in an overdose.

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Until now, we’ve talked about how long alcohol remains in our bodies. Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), the body’s process, limits, levels, and effects, as well as the standard volume of alcohol, and the amount of alcohol that can kill or have life-threatening effects, are all part of alcohol.

As a result of all of this, we can be aware of the dangers of alcohol overdose and even prevent it from occurring by understanding blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and the rate at which the liver breaks down alcohol.

You may want to seek professional help if you are still struggling with the after-effects of alcohol consumption, even if you are drinking in moderation.