Wellness Guide: How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your Body?

Wellness Guide: How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your Body?
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Alcohol is a depressant with an average lifespan in the body of two hours. The liver is responsible for metabolizing it to prevent alcohol poisoning. Once alcohol enters your bloodstream, its breakdown begins at a rate of 20 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) by enzymes such as ADH and ALDH.

Factors such as your age, gender, or even how much food you eat can determine how quickly this process occurs. Contrary to what most people think, sleeping or drinking water won't increase the rate at which your body eliminates alcohol.

So to better understand its duration, you have to learn the different factors that come to bear on this process. This post covers these factors in detail and the test that can detect alcohol use; continue reading to find out more.

Duration of Alcohol Effects

Depending on the type of test and body system, you can detect alcohol in the body after different periods. But generally speaking, alcohol detection tests such as the DOT drug test can measure blood alcohol after 6 hours. Several other testing methods can detect alcohol after much longer periods.

But the metabolism of alcohol occurs at a constant rate. However, different people will experience the effects for different durations. The explanation for this is simple. Two individuals may take, say, three cups of alcohol but have different blood-alcohol concentrations.

BAC refers to how much of your body's water the alcohol occupies. For instance, if you and a friend have 20 mg/dL in your system. This would take an hour to metabolize in both your bodies. However, yours might be more diluted since you're taller, and it takes longer to feel its effects. Some of the main factors that impact BAC and your body's reaction to alcohol are:


-Liver condition

-Empty stomach



-Binge drinking

It's crucial to know the percentage of alcohol in any drink you consume because that will determine which two things happen more quickly:

-The amount you metabolize.

-The effects on your body.

Continue reading to learn how the body metabolizes alcohol.


How The Body Metabolizes Alcohol

After drinking alcohol, it enters your body and its first stop in the digestive system. However, the body doesn't digest it like other drinks. About 20% of a single alcohol drink goes directly into the blood vessels. The blood transports it to the brain while the remaining 80% moves through the small intestines before absorption into the bloodstream.

Your liver will take care of removing any remaining alcohol from the body, so if there are issues with this organ, this can considerably slow down the rate of alcohol metabolism. Hence, leading to potential complications depending on the amount consumed.

This entire mechanism can slow down if the stomach contains food. The food inhibits the process by absorbing some alcohol and preventing its contact with the stomach lining. Also, a full stomach slows the transfer of alcohol from the stomach into the duodenum, which forms the first part of the small intestines.

Once it enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain, you begin to feel its effects.

Effects of Alcohol on The Body


Alcohol comes second, after tobacco, as the most widely abused substance in the US. Approximately 86% of the adult population will try it at least once in their lives, according to reports from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Even though this substance can cause feelings of happiness, pleasantness, and calmness for a short while, its long-term use can pose devastating effects. Some of these effects include learning disabilities and mental issues like anxiety or depression.

But alcohol is more than just a mind-altering substance. It may be deadly even when consumed in moderation. Evidence suggests it has several effects on the body too. Critical among these effects, it increases the chances of heart diseases and cancer-related death.

No wonder it's estimated to claim the lives of about 95,000 men and women each year. Among these numbers, over half are due to health effects such as liver disease or heart conditions.

Testing for Alcohol

Alcohol can stay in your urine for between 12 to 48 hours on average. However, alcohol exposure is detectable up to 80 hours after drinking using more advanced testing methods that measure metabolites of the substance rather than simply looking for the presence or absence of the substance itself.

Alcohol levels measured by breathalyzers are comparable and show time frames with detections of up to 24 hours on average. On the other hand, higher concentrations may show up in tests after 90 days, depending on how much you drank at any given point during this timeframe. Temporary detections are possible through other means like sweat, saliva, and breath.

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning can be deadly. It happens when the body receives too much alcohol over a short period and struggles to metabolize it at a safe rate. The leading causes are binge drinking or consuming several drinks at a go. Some tell-tale signs of alcohol poisoning to look out for include:

-Reducing breathing at about eight breaths per minute or lower

-Lower blood temperature


-Passing out

-Seizures or convulsions

The second you spot any signs of alcohol poisoning in your friend or loved one, contact your local emergency services immediately. Also, place the person on their side to prevent any potential choking incidents resulting from vomiting.



Understanding alcohol metabolism and how it affects your blood alcohol levels can help you prevent unintended over-intoxication or accidental death due to alcohol poisoning. You can still Look Fantastic but some risks come with drinking, including the dangers of addiction. Knowing this will allow you to avoid the vicious cycle of alcohol use that gradually increases tolerance and physical dependence.