Trying to discover your alcohol tolerance is both good and bad. On one hand, it is good to know what your limit is as it may be less than you think. On the other hand, trying to drink until your absolute limit is a dangerous game.
According to statistics on holiday drinking and driving fatalities, 11% of fatalities are caused by those who say they were only “buzzed driving”. 1 Furthermore,It is important to remember that driving after consuming any amount of alcohol can have dangerous consequences. A recent study showed that even a single drink significantly affects your driving ability. 2 So always keep in mind that drinking and being responsible should go hand in hand. Someone else’s life or yours may depend on it!
What factors influence alcohol tolerance?
Knowing your tolerance is tricky because many factors influence alcohol tolerance. These factors include ethnicity, body type, gender and metabolism. Drinking on an empty stomach will also cause your body to absorb alcohol faster. Even though there are several factors to take into consideration, the main cause of a high alcohol tolerance is frequent and excessive alcohol consumption.
How do I know what my alcohol tolerance is?
Online you can find various alcohol consumption calculators that can give you an idea of what your tolerance is based on the above mentioned factors, but these methods are not foolproof. You should not use such calculations and intentionally try to drink that amount.
The best method to determine your true limit will be observation. Have a trusted friend that is not drinking take note of when your behavior changes due to the effects of alcohol and cut you off as soon as they notice them.
Also, keep in mind that the average person can reach the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 in as little as two drinks in one hour.
Is having a high alcohol tolerance a good thing?
Higher alcohol tolerance can put you at a higher risk of alcohol related accidents, alcoholism and health complications. This is because those that have the ability to drink a lot without feeling drunk tend to drink more than those who are cautious and know they have a low alcohol tolerance.
It is never a good idea to judge your intoxication based on how drunk you feel. This is not a good indication of how intoxicated you actually are. A friend or family member will most likely notice the effects of alcohol on you before you will.
The danger of raising your alcohol tolerance
The more often you drink, the more you can develop a tolerance to some of the effects of alcohol. You may then discover that drinking the same amount you usually drink does not produce the same effect it once did.
If you have developed a high alcohol tolerance, it will require greater amounts of alcohol to feel the same effects you used to feel with less drinks. Not having alcohol interfere with your behavior and ability to function like it used to sounds like a positive occurrence, however, the development of alcohol tolerance can:
Encourage greater alcohol consumption
Affect task performance
Contribute to the ineffectiveness of medications
Increase the toxicity of other drugs
Anyone can raise their alcohol tolerance until it reaches a point where he or she needs alcohol to feel normal. Beware of this if alcoholism runs in your family. People with a family history of alcoholism are up to four times more likely to develop a dependency themselves. 3
How to lower your alcohol tolerance
If you consume more than two drinks per day, you are at risk for developing problems and need to lower your tolerance. You should be able to lower your alcohol tolerance to one that is similar to what it was when you first started drinking.
Reducing your alcohol tolerance is not difficult to achieve. Although, it can be hard for you to commit to if you have developed a dependency for alcohol. Many individuals can decrease their dependency greatly by committing to a month of alcohol abstinence. Slowly reducing your consumption over a few weeks will help as well. If you need help, we would love to provide you with some resources. Please reach out!
1 Alcohol Monitoring Systems. 2018. Drinking & DUIs During the Holidays.
2 CBS News. 14 “facts” about drinking: Are you misinformed?
3 The Recovery Village. Why Alcoholism Runs in Families.
Our material is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for counseling with a qualified professional.