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How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your System?

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

While alcohol is legal to purchase and consume in the United States for anyone who is 21 years or older, it is one of the most addictive and dangerous substances on the planet. In addition to the health risks, alcohol also causes thousands of deaths every year due to alcohol poisoning, drunk driving collisions, or other accidents that resulted from alcohol intoxication. So, while the United States has a “party culture” that often promotes reckless behavior and excessive drinking, the reality is that alcohol abuse is becoming widespread among people in nearly every age group and demographic.

Alcohol is particularly nefarious because it is so pervasive. You cannot turn on the TV or even go to a restaurant without being tempted by advertisements or alcoholic beverages. This is one of many reasons that it is so hard for alcoholics to get over their addiction. It is the most dangerous legal drug on the planet and it is easily accessible all over the world. Fortunately, the experts at Prosperity Haven are ready and willing to help anyone suffering from an addiction to alcohol.

However, you probably still have a lot of questions about how alcohol works in the human body. For example, how long does alcohol last in your system? How long does it stay in your pee? How long does it stay in your blood? How long does it stay in your hair? In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at some of the effects of alcohol and how long these effects are felt in the body.

How Long Are Effects Of Alcohol Felt In Your Body?

There are essentially two ways to look at the short-term effects of alcohol. First, you can examine the effects of being “drunk” or intoxicated with alcohol. These effects tend to wear off after about 4 to 8 hours, depending on how much you have had to drink. The short-term effects of drinking alcohol include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Depressed physical or mental state
  • Euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lowered inhibition
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Distorted vision and hearing
  • Impaired judgment
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Decreased perception and coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Unconsciousness
  • Anemia
  • Blackouts (complete memory lapses)
  • Yellow or red eyes
  • Flushed skin on the face
  • Aggressive behavior

As you can see, many of the short-term effects of alcohol use are not good. However, it is important to note that most of these are associated with heavy alcohol consumption. You will not blackout from having one glass of wine or beer. However, if you consume 4 or more drinks within a short time span (1 to 2 hours), you could put yourself at risk of some of the negative effects.

Additionally, you might have noticed that some of the effects seem to counter one another. For example, alcohol can make you feel euphoric, but it can also make you feel depressed. Alcohol is a depressant, but its short-term effects can depend on a wide range of factors, from your current mood and mental health to the type and amount of alcohol you consume.

Now that we have covered the effects of being intoxicated with alcohol, it is time to look at the other type of short-term effects: the hangover or detoxification. When you consume a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time, your liver struggles to process it all. More importantly, alcoholic drinks contain ethanol, a toxic chemical that causes you to urinate more, often leading to dehydration. As a result of these processes, many people experience hangovers after drinking. Symptoms of a hangover can include:

  • Mental and physical fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Body soreness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of shame or regret
  • Difficulty remembering events
  • Irritability
  • Persistent sweating
  • Increased blood pressure

Many people who experience a very bad hangover swear off alcohol. However, the addictive nature of alcohol makes many people come back for more, creating a vicious cycle of abuse. Over the long-term, this can lead to even more negative effects, many of which are permanent. Some of the long-term effects of alcohol abuse include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Higher risk of heart disease
  • Increase risk of stroke
  • Liver disease or failure
  • Digestive issues
  • Increased risk of certain cancers, particularly of the liver, mouth, throat, and colon
  • Permanent changes in brain structure

For How Long Can Alcohol Be Detected?

Now that you know some of the short and long-term effects of abusing alcohol, we will look at how long alcohol can actually be detected in your body. There are various drug tests that can be done to detect alcohol. That said, the half-life of alcohol is roughly 5 hours. Nonetheless, it can take far longer for the body to completely get rid of the drug.

So, here are a few average timelines for alcohol detectability based on the type of drug test used:

  • Urine Test – Alcohol does not stay in urine for very long. A standard urine test will only be able to detect alcohol for up to 48 hours. However, there are certain kinds of urine tests (EtG) that can detect alcohol in your pee for up to 5 days.
  • Blood Test – Alcohol leaves your bloodstream relatively quickly. Blood tests can detect alcohol for about 12 hours after you have been drinking, though this number can vary based on many different factors, particularly how much alcohol you consumed.
  • Saliva Test – Saliva tests are less common when looking for alcohol, but they can still detect the drug for up to 24 hours after the last usage.
  • Hair Test – A hair test is by far the most effective method for detecting recent alcohol usage. By testing a single hair, laboratories can tell if you have used alcohol anytime within the last 90 days (or roughly 3 months).

Factors Which Affect How Long Alcohol Lasts In Your System

As we have discussed, the amount you drink is one of the biggest factors when determining how long alcohol stays in your body. That said, there are many other factors that play a role in the timeline of alcohol detectability, including:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Gender
  • The amount of food eaten before drinking

How To Get Help For Alcohol Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, the first step is recognizing that there is a problem. If you can recognize that you are addicted to alcohol before it has had time to do lasting damage to your mind and body, you can get help without experiencing many of the negative long-term effects. Unfortunately, many people do not want to admit that they are abusing alcohol because it is so widely accepted. Moreover, many alcoholics try to hide their addiction by drinking alone.

Fortunately, there is hope. By reaching out to the experts at Prosperity Haven, you can get the medical and therapeutic assistance you need to kick your alcohol habit for good. This way, you can live a happier, healthier, and more stable life going forward.

Are you, your child, friend, coworker, parent, or spouse struggling with their alcohol addiction? Are you looking for alcohol addiction treatment options that target each patient’s specific needs? Finally, are you in need of a comprehensive drug rehab center that provides a wide range of effective solutions? If so, feel free to contact the experts at Prosperity Haven to learn more about getting treatment for alcohol addiction.

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