Blood alcohol concentration, commonly abbreviated to BAC, is an expression of how much alcohol develops in the blood after consuming alcoholic beverages.
BAC levels can span from 0% (no alcohol in the system) to 0.4% and above (a potentially deadly blood alcohol concentration level).
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC), also known as blood alcohol level, expresses the amount of alcohol in the blood.
The chemical name for alcohol is ethanol or ethyl alcohol. This intoxicating ingredient is found in:
When you consume an alcoholic beverage, your small intestines and stomach absorb most of the alcohol. From here, alcohol enters your bloodstream. Since alcohol is a toxin, your liver metabolizes alcohol so it is filtered out of your blood.
If you consume alcohol more rapidly than your liver is able to process the substance, blood alcohol concentration increases. When this occurs, you might start feeling the effects of intoxication, informally known as drunkenness.
The liver is capable of processing one standard drink per hour. According to NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), a standard drink is:
Blood alcohol levels are influenced by many situational and physical variables, including:
All of the above factors can impact BAC levels and also the extent of impairment caused by alcohol.
This is how different blood alcohol concentration levels can affect your body and mind:
There is no alcohol in your blood and you are sober.
You will start to feel relaxed with some reduction in judgment and multitasking abilities.
Alcohol at this level starts to exert some mood-altering effects, too.
Alertness levels reduce at this BAC level. Your judgment will be further impaired and you will feel less inhibited.
At this blood alcohol concentration level, you will find it harder to track moving objects, making it dangerous to drive.
Response times will decrease when your BAC level reaches 0.05%.
You will lose muscle coordination and balance at these BAC levels.
Driving at these BAC levels is dangerous as you will have difficulty regulating speed and you will struggle to react quickly enough to emergency situations.
Judgment and reasoning are both impaired. You are at increased risk of injuries.
Reaction times are impaired, your thinking and speech are slurred.
Altered mood, loss of balance, nausea, and vomiting are commonplace reactions to BAC levels of 0.15%.
The most common physical effects at these BAC levels are:
This range of blood alcohol concentration is liable to trigger alcohol poisoning, also known as alcohol overdose. This can bring about a loss of conscious and can be life-threatening.
BAC levels over 0.4% are potentially lethal, potentially involving:
Alcohol has a half-life of between four and five hours. After this point, you will have no alcohol in your system.
The following tests can detect alcohol in your system:
If you want to address any abusive patterns of alcohol consumption or addiction in the form of alcohol use disorder, we can help you at Gratitude Lodge.
We have affordable luxury treatment centers located in San Diego, Newport Beach, and Long Beach. At these inclusive and pet-friendly rehabs, you can access the following services:
After a week or so of alcohol detox, you can engage with ongoing treatment at an appropriate level of intensity. MAT (medication-assisted treatment) is proven effect for the treatment of alcoholism. This pharmacological intervention is most effective delivered in combination with behavioral interventions. You can also access these therapies at Gratitude Lodge:
When you are ready to reclaim your life from alcohol abuse, reach out to Gratitude Lodge by calling 888-861-1658.
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