Whereas some drugs will stay in the body for a long period of time, alcohol doesn’t stay in the system too long. Of course, if you’re wondering just how long alcohol will remain in your body, the answer is, “it depends.”

There are three common ways to find out how much alcohol is in the body, including checking the blood, the saliva/breath, and urine.

What Happens When You Drink Alcohol?

When you drink alcohol, the liquid enters the stomach. It doesn’t really get digested much there. About 20% of the alcohol will head to the brain via blood vessels. Once the alcohol enters the small intestines, it gets absorbed into the blood.

If you’ve eaten food, this process takes a little bit longer, which is why most people will advise others to refrain from drinking on an empty stomach. With no food in the belly, the alcohol affects the brain much faster, causing some people to get drunk faster than they normally would.

The alcohol travels to the liver for processing and usually metabolizes alcohol at the same rate regardless of someone’s sex or weight. But the rate at which alcohol leaves the body will vary depending on someone’s age, body fat, body mass, water levels, whether or not there is food in the stomach, the pace at which the alcohol was consumed, and what types of medication the person is taking.

According to a study done at Brown University Health Education., the amount of water in a body can have an effect on the alcohol levels. Men tend to have a higher water content over women, and because water helps dilute the concentration of alcohol in the body, men may absorb the alcohol at a slower rate than women.

Normally, about 1 ounce of alcohol is metabolized by the liver each hour. This means that if you drink one ounce of alcohol, your blood alcohol level will increase to about 0.015. This means that after an hour passes, about 0.015 will leave the body.

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Urine Tests

Normally, alcohol will still show up in urine tests up to about 36 hours after ingesting it. This will depend on various factors, of course, like how much alcohol was consumed or what type of urine test you’re using. Some of the more technically advanced urine tests can detect alcohol up to about 80 hours after drinking.

Blood Tests

Alcohol can usually be detected by a blood test up to about 12 hours after the last drink.

Breath & Saliva Tests

Using a breathalyzer, alcohol will show up for about 24 hours after drinking. Using saliva, alcohol will show up usually between 1 to 5 days after drinking. Alcohol traces can be found in hair for up to about 3 months.

Your body may absorb alcohol at a certain rate, but everyone’s body will burn off that alcohol at about 0.016 BAC per hour. This means that doing things like walking, drinking coffee, water, showering, vomiting, etc. won’t make your body get rid of that alcohol faster.

Are You Struggling With Alcohol Abuse?

There are nearly 20 million Americans who are struggling with alcohol dependence. There are even more that are drinking, but they don’t really want to drink as much as they do. However, it’s hard for them to stop.

Does this sound like you? Do you wish you could cut down or stop drinking all together? Have you tried to no avail?

If so, know that there is help available. There are various treatments and paths to recovery that can help you get free from alcohol dependence. The key is making that commitment to doing so and then reaching out for help if necessary.

When you come to understand more about alcohol and how it works in the body, you can better know how to drink responsibly or quit if necessary. People die every year from alcohol poisoning because they drink so much they’re body cannot handle it. Other people over-drink and experience accidents, incidents, or get into legal issues due to being inebriated.

When you understand better, you’ll make better choices. If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, please consider reaching out for help today. Whether you’ve been drinking for a year or thirty years, you can create a life for yourself where alcohol is not controlling it. Take that brave step today and get some help.

Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-276-2886 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.

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