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Alcohol: The factors that impact you

There are many factors that affect how your body responds to alcohol. These factors could mean that you become intoxicated faster than others. For instance, if you weigh 100 pounds and your friend weighs 150, the same amount of alcohol is more likely to cause you to become intoxicated than your friend.

Factors that affect intoxication include your biological or genetic risk, gender and ethnicity. The speed at which you drink alcohol also plays a role in how fast you get drunk. Drinking large amounts quickly is likely to result in a higher blood alcohol content, or BAC.

Another few factors that impact your BAC include whether or not you've eaten, if you're dehydrated, carbonation and your weight. Heavier people tend to require more alcohol to become as intoxicated as their lighter counterparts. Dehydration results in faster intoxication and may promote more significant signs of intoxication. Carbonation speeds up alcohol absorption, and energy drinks encourage you to drink more by giving you energy and masking symptoms of intoxication.

Interestingly, the amount of sleep you've had, your mood and your hormones can also impact how quickly you become intoxicated. When you don't get enough sleep or are taking hormone-altering medications, you may feel impaired at a lower BAC level or have a higher BAC faster.

To avoid getting into a drunk driving crash or to avoid getting a ticket or DUI, you need to know how alcohol affects you. If you're caught off guard, the best thing you can do is look into your legal options to protect yourself against prosecution.

Source: Bowling Green State University, "Factors That Affect Intoxication," accessed April 26, 2018

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