How long does alcohol stay in your System? Alcoholism, Metabolism, Breastfeeding & Alcohol Poisoning
How long does alcohol stay in your system? Alcoholism
Alcoholism is clinically referred to as alcohol use disorder (AUD). It is a common, chronic, and progressive medical condition that involves the compulsive consumption of alcohol. Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic. However, anyone whose life is negatively affected by alcohol on a consistent basis is considered to have an alcohol use disorder.
Examples of this include failing to fulfill work, family, or social obligations as a result of recurrent drinking. Moreover, regular or frequent drinking means drinking alcohol most days and weeks. If you are concerned that you or someone you love has a problem with alcohol there are alcohol treatment options available.
Alcohol is commonly consumed as a drink in various forms. Examples are beer, wine, and hard liquor. Alcoholism is organized into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe. You could also be becoming dependent on alcohol. So, if you find it very difficult to enjoy yourself or relax without having a drink, you could have become psychologically dependent on it.
How long does alcohol stay in your system? Alcoholism Symptoms
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol use is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Signs and Symptoms May Include:
- Worrying about where your next drink is coming from and planning social, family and work events around alcohol.
- Spending a lot of time drinking, getting alcohol or recovering from alcohol use.
- Feeling a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol and finding it hard to stop once you start.
- Wanting to cut down on how much you drink or making unsuccessful attempts to do so.
- Using alcohol in situations where it’s not safe, such as when driving.
- Waking up and drinking, or feeling the need to have a drink in the morning.
- Suffering from withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking and nausea, which stop once you drink alcohol.
How long does alcohol stay in your system? Causes of Alcoholism
The most common causes of alcoholism are:
- Drinking at an early age. New findings showed that early drinking was associated with developing alcoholism. This is according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- Psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, mood and personality disorder, or other mental health issues can increase the risk of alcoholism. Further, it’s easy to turn to alcohol when a person is feeling anxious or depressed. The effects of alcohol may seem to temporarily ease those feelings. Because of this, it can resort to drinking more, leading to alcohol addiction.
- Stressful Environments. According to the US National Library of Medicine National , environmental stress is the most potent. Some people turn to alcohol to relieve stress.
- Family history. Risk of alcoholism increase if you have a parent or other relative who is alcoholic. Children who have one parent who struggles with alcohol use disorder have 3-4 times increased risk of becoming an alcoholic themselves. This is according to American Addiction Center 
- Taking alcohol with medicine. Some medicines can increase the toxic effects of alcohol on the body. When a person continually takes alcohol with their medications, they may become addicted to the effects that follow – some of which have the capability to be very dangerous and even life-threatening.
How long does alcohol stay in your system?
Alcohol is a depressant that has a short life span in the body. Once the alcohol has entered your bloodstream, your body will begin to metabolize it at a rate of 20 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) per hour. That means that if your blood alcohol level were 40 mg/dL, it would take about two hours to metabolize the alcohol.
Alcohol is metabolized at a constant rate, but some people may feel the effects of alcohol for longer amounts of time. That’s because blood alcohol concentrations can vary among people and situations. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) refers to the amount of alcohol in your blood concerning the amount of water in your blood. For example, if two people each have blood alcohol levels of 20 mg/dL, the alcohol will metabolize in about an hour in each person, but their BACs can be very different.
Numerous factors can affect BAC and how you react to alcohol, including:
- Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach
- Liver disease
- Drinking many drinks in a short period of time, which is also known as binge drinking
It’s also important to know how much alcohol is in your drink because that will determine how long it takes to metabolize your drink. For example, some beers have a higher alcohol content, which affects how much alcohol you’re consuming from one drink.
The following are general estimates for how long it takes to metabolize different alcoholic beverages, though these times will vary depending on the amount of alcohol in the beverage:
How long does alcohol stay in your system? How is alcohol metabolized?
When you consume alcohol, it first enters the digestive system. Alcohol isn’t digested like food and other drinks, however. About 20 percent of the alcohol from a single drink moves directly to the blood vessels. From there, it’s carried to your brain. The rest of the 80 percent goes to your small intestine, then directly to your bloodstream.
The final step of the alcohol life cycle is its removal from the body through the liver. Any issues with your liver can slow down this process.
How long does alcohol stay in your system? Urine vs. breath tests
Urine tests can detect alcohol long after you’ve had your last drink. These tests look for traces of alcohol metabolites. The average urine test can detect alcohol between 12 and 48 hours after drinking. More advanced testing can measure alcohol in the urine 80 hours after you drink.
Breath tests for alcohol can detect alcohol within a shorter time frame. This is about 24 hours on average. A small machine called a breathalyzer measures your BAC. Any number above 0.02 is considered unsafe for driving or other safety-based tasks. Alcohol can stay in your hair for up to 90 days. It can also temporarily be detected in saliva, sweat, and blood.
How long does alcohol stay in your system? Breastfeeding and alcohol
There’s a misconception that tracking the amount of alcohol you drink and the time your body takes to get rid of it can help keep breast milk safe. No amount of alcohol is safe to drink when you’re breastfeeding. Babies who are exposed to alcohol are at risk for decreased motor skills and other developmental delays.
If you do drink alcohol while breastfeeding, consider the following ways to keep your baby safe:
- Breastfeed before you have a drink
- Pump extra milk ahead of time so that you can feed your baby with expressed milk
- Wait 2-3 hours after a shot or a 12-ounce glass of beer or wine before breastfeeding again
How long does alcohol stay in your system? Alcohol poisoning
Alcohol poisoning is an emergency medical condition. It occurs when a large amount of alcohol is consumed and your body can’t break it down quickly enough. Binge drinking is the most common cause of alcohol poisoning.
- Reduced blood temperature
- Slower breathing
- Passing out
Oftentimes, a person with alcohol poisoning passes out before they realize what’s happened. If you suspect alcohol poisoning in a friend or loved one, call your local emergency services right away. To prevent choking from vomit, turn the person on their side. Never leave a friend with alcohol poisoning by themselves.
The quicker you seek help, the more likely you are to minimize potentially fatal complications, such as:
- Cardiac arrest
- Brain damage
- Extremely low blood pressure
The rate at that alcohol can stay in your system depends on a variety of factors. The bottom line is safety and moderation. Keep your consumption to a few drinks per week, and avoid binge drinking. Also, be sure to have a ride lined up if you are drinking away from home. Even if you are below the legal limit, it’s never safe to drive with any amount of alcohol consumption.
Reclaim Your Life From Alcoholism
If you or your loved one is suffering from alcoholism, indeed help is just a phone call away. Professional alcoholism treatment is necessary for fast and effective recovery. To learn more, contact us today at We Level Up CA Treatment Facility, we provide utmost care with doctors and medical staff available 24/7 for life-changing and lasting recovery. We can provide you clarity about questions like “How long does alcohol stay in your system?“, by giving you relevant information.
 Disease Control and Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/13_0293.htm
 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/early-drinking-linked-higher-lifetime-alcoholism-risk
 US National Library of Medicine National -https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3860387/