Author: Alex Thompson

How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your Blood?

how long does alcohol stay in your blood

Your experience of the condition’s toxic effect differs depending on whether you are in the acute or chronic phase. Your body processes alcohol at the rate of around one standard-sized drink per hour, but booze can be detected in your blood, breath, and pee for a long time afterwards. Blood alcohol tests are more reliable than breathalyzers and are less likely to produce false positives. Results can take a few weeks but will be based on alcohol consumed in the 6 to 12 hours before the test. Alcohol blood tests are much less susceptible to false positives than breath tests, such as breathalyzers.

When you consume alcohol, the metabolising process is done primarily by your liver. On average, a person will metabolise the equivalent of one alcoholic drink per hour, but this can vary based on your weight, height, gender and body composition. Drinking water cannot sober you up, but it can prevent you from drinking too much too fast.

how long does alcohol stay in your blood

You can learn more about alcohol blood tests by reading the answers to some common questions below. Alcohol blood tests and breathalyzers are both used to measure intoxication, but there are key differences. Factors that determine how long alcohol stays in your body include liver size, body mass and the amount of alcohol consumed.

For example, senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to alcohol because of age-related changes to their bodies. Older people experience a decrease in body water, loss of muscle tissue and decreased metabolism — all of which affects alcohol absorption. Saliva tests can detect alcohol two hours after consumption, and hair tests can detect alcohol for up to 90 days. Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine and liquor break down differently in each person’s body. The substance is absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach and the walls of the small intestines, affecting the kidneys, bladder, liver, lungs and skin.

The amount of time alcohol can be detected in the blood will depend on how much you had to drink and other factors. When you drink alcohol, it is quickly absorbed in the stomach and small intestines. From there, it enters your bloodstream to travel to the liver. But the problem is that once you’ve gotten to this level, you’re totally beyond good judgment calls. So, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t realize how drunk you are (or that it’s time to stop drinking ��).

What Factors Can Affect How Long Alcohol Stays In Your Blood?

The liver breaks down most of the alcohol, though the substance also passes through the kidneys, urine, skin and lungs. We do not receive any compensation or commission for referrals to other treatment facilities. If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact at All Addiction Resource content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible. Additionally, drinking can lead you to urinate more often and cause dehydration, so you can prevent any negative effects by taking in the water. Alcohol use disorder affects many, but some are at a higher risk than others of receiving the diagnosis.

how long does alcohol stay in your blood

The liver gets most of the attention when it comes to alcohol metabolism. After a drink, this is how long can you expect the alcohol to stay in your blood, urine and other areas of the body. The helpline at is available 24/7 to discuss the treatment needs of yourself or a loved one.

When to be concerned about alcohol poisoning

It’s hard to say for sure, and you could probably take some at-home measures to mask the rankness. But the stench can definitely be picked up on a breathalyzer test for that long. Once the alcohol gets into your bloodstream, it starts flowing to all of your organs — reaching your brain in around 90 seconds. According to a 2013 research review, alcohol is technically a toxin. So, as soon as you drink it, your body starts working on getting it out of your system ASAP. However, regular use of alcohol is not without risk, and the alcohol can remain in the system for quite a while, depending on several factors.

  1. Someone who feels that they are drinking too much or is having difficulty cutting back should speak with their doctor for advice on quitting.
  2. One of the most important factors that determine how long it takes for alcohol to leave the blood is how much you’ve had to drink.
  3. When someone is drinking alcohol particularly quickly, the liver cannot process all the alcohol at the same rate, so it remains in the body.
  4. For example, some beers have a higher alcohol content, affecting how much alcohol you consume from one drink.

The results of a breathalyzer are instant, but the results of an alcohol blood test can take weeks. The time it takes for you to get the results will likely depend on the reason the test was required. The organ breaks down the alcohol into acetaldehyde, a chemical the body recognizes as toxic. Acetaldehyde metabolizes into carbon dioxide, which the body can eliminate. Heavy drinking can eliminate vitamins and minerals from the body, which can lead to a hangover.

Risks of alcohol abuse

The most common reasons are blood samples that aren’t handled correctly, or that become contaminated during testing. Alcohol typically stays in the bloodstream between 6 and 12 hours. While these techniques create the illusion of sobriety, they have no effect on BAC.

Biological Sex and Body Weight

How long you feel the effects of alcohol depends on the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, which varies from person to person (even from just a beer). Around 20 percent of the alcohol a person drinks is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream through the stomach. A further 80 percent approximately is absorbed by the small intestines.

And when tested in the hair, especially at the root, alcohol can be detected up to 90 days after a person has stopped drinking. If someone with alcohol problems also battles depression, their symptoms may worsen when drinking. When you take a test that measures how much alcohol is in your system, it’s not the total amount of alcohol drunk that’s measured.

The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is how much alcohol is in your blood and is the most precise way to measure intoxication. Breath tests for alcohol can detect alcohol within a shorter time frame, at about 4-6 hours. Any number above 0.02% is unsafe since you experience some loss of judgment and a decline in visual functioning. Someone who is quickly drinking one alcoholic drink after another is more likely to experience stronger effects in a shorter amount of time.