Alcohol is a type of drink that majorly contains ethanol which is produced by fermentation of grains, fruits or other sources of sugar. Alcohol plays with our nervous system in a way that it acts as a depressant which has psychoactive effects. The alcohol reaches the brain in only five minutes and has a comparatively shorter life in our body than other psychoactive drugs.
The immediate effects of alcohol start within 10 minutes and it takes 20 minutes for the liver to start processing the alcohol. But the real question is that how long do those effects remain and how long does the alcohol actually remains in our system? And what are the specific tests used to check the levels of alcohol in the body and how do they actually work? So here we are, to answer some of these questions.
How Long Does it Take for the Effects to Wear Off?
Alcohol is processed and metabolized at a constant rate which is 20 milligrams per deciliters. But there are few people who feel the effects of alcohol longer than others. This could be because of the concentration of alcohol in the blood. The Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC differs on the basis of many factors such as,
- Food consumed before having alcohol
- Liver conditions
- Binge drinking
Apart from these factors, it is also important to not the alcohol content in the drink that you are having. For example, few beers have more alcohol content and hence the effects could last longer.
To give a general idea, here is a list of common drinks and the amount of time it takes for them to metabolize:
- Small shot of alcohol – Minimum 1 hour
- One pint of beer – Minimum 2 hours
- One large glass of wine – Minimum 3 hours
- Couple of hard drinks – More than 4-5 hours
How to Reduce the Effects of Alcohol
There are a number of ways through which effects of alcohol can be reduced. Some of them are:
1. Eat something. Having a proper meal can help the body absorb alcohol and metabolize it sooner.
2. Drink plenty of water. There is a reason why people ask to stay hydrated when you are having alcohol. Having a good amount of water, will help the body to reduce its BAC and will take comparatively lesser time to metabolize the alcohol.
3. Avoid caffeine. You might have seen a lot of people having coffee or other energy drink after they consume alcohol. But this is not healthy. Caffeine actually alleviates the intoxication.
4. Have lemonade. Having lemon juice hydrates the body and activates it to metabolize the alcohol faster.
Tests to Detect Alcohol Levels
The most common tests to detect alcohol levels include breath tests and urine tests. In general, urine tests can detect the alcohol in your system for much longer than breath tests or breathalyzers. An average urine test can detect alcohol in your urine for anywhere between 12 to 48 hours. But because of the advancement of technology, tests have been come up that can detect alcohol in the urine for up to 80 hours.
Breath tests detect alcohol in your system for a shorter time frame but it is quite easy and quicker then other tests. There is a machine called breathalyzer and it can detect alcohol in the system within seconds after you blow into it.
Other major tests that detect alcohol content in the body are:
- Blood Test – Up to 6 hours
- Breathalyzer – 12 to 24 hours
- Saliva Test – 12 to 24 hours
- Urine Test – 12 to 48 hours
- Hair – Up to 90 days
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