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Have you gone out with friends only to be tipsy after a few sips whilst your friends are drinking bottles? Or are you on the opposite end of the spectrum where you can’t afford to get drunk no matter how many bottles of alcohol you have? Are you wondering what could be accounting for your inability to get drunk or the fast rate at which you get intoxicated? Well, there are a variety of factors that can account for this. This phenomenon is referred to as alcohol tolerance. Alcohol tolerance differs with each individual, with some having a high tolerance for alcohol whilst do have little patience for it.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with Alcohol Dependence or Addiction and you are unsure of how to handle it, kindly call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.

What is Alcohol Tolerance?

Alcohol tolerance refers to how much alcohol an individual can consume before becoming intoxicated or, simply put, “drunk”. Technically it may be described as the bodily response to the functional effects of ethanol in alcoholic beverages.

When an individual takes alcohol, it goes through the digestive system and enters the gastrointestinal tract. It is absorbed through the stomach and intestinal lining and introduced into the individual’s blood. The blood carries the alcohol to the brain, which leads to intoxication. The more the individual drinks, the more alcohol is introduced into the blood, and then the brain increases intoxication. The individual may recover from the intoxication within a few hours, but thorough testing includes checking the sample can detect alcohol up to 3 months after it was ingested.

Alcohol consumption affects the behaviour of the individual consuming it and affects bodily functions as well. Some feel the effects of alcohol after drinking a few glasses, whereas others may start to feel the effects after taking large quantities.

The individual’s brain can also adapt brain functions to compensate for the disruption caused by alcohol in both body functions and behaviour. This is referred to as functional tolerance. There are various types of functional tolerance based on the factors and circumstances that produce it. For example, acute tolerance involves the individual becoming less intoxicated as a drinking session is ongoing. You might find such an individual much more intoxicated at the beginning of a drinking session than at the end.

There is also environmental dependent tolerance where the individual is more likely to be intoxicated not based on any direct biological factors but the environment he is in. For example, an individual is placed in his office and given alcohol, and he becomes quickly intoxicated compared to when he is placed in a bar. This is because he has associated the bar with a drinking place and hence has built some form of psychologically induced tolerance for it compared to the office where he associates with work.

There is also learned tolerance which has more to do with individual learning to perform specific mental tasks even under the influence of alcohol. This is also sometimes called behaviourally augmented tolerance.

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Factors that determine Alcohol Tolerance

Various factors may affect an individual’s tolerance for alcohol. These include:

Genes

The genetic makeup has been found to play a role in the level of tolerance the individual has for alcohol. Some researchers have established that the individual’s genetic makeup plays from 40% to 60% in whether an individual develops an alcohol abuse disorder, which can be directly linked to the level of tolerance the individual has for alcohol. There is not one specific trait or gene associated with this. However, there is variety. For example, if an individual’s genetic makeup leads to them having abnormal or lower levels of serotonin, they may likely end up having lower levels of alcohol tolerance. If the individual’s genetic makeup also leads to a smaller amygdala, they might also have a lower tolerance for alcohol. An individual’s genes are responsible for this, considering the genes are the instructions for essentially “building and developing” the body and all the organs within.

Body size

The individual’s body size plays a role in the level of tolerance the person will have for alcohol. Someone with a small body size will have a lower tolerance for alcohol than someone who is significantly larger. Therefore, the less an individual weighs, the more likely he is to be affected by alcohol.

Mood

An individual’s mood is another factor determining the level of tolerance the individual will have for alcohol. For example, a depressed person is more likely to be intoxicated easily as moods such as depression and anxiety affect the enzymes in the stomach, leading to faster processing of alcohol. This will make the individual more likely to become intoxicated.

Rate of Consumption

The rate at which individual drinks will determine how quickly they get intoxicated. Anyone who drinks a lot within a short time is likely to become severely intoxicated and overdose on alcohol. When this happens, the individual may vomit a lot and pass out in worst-case scenarios.

Gender

Generally speaking, men have the disposition to have a higher tolerance for alcohol than women do. Based on this, two individuals from one ender may take similar quantities of alcohol. However, the woman will be intoxicated not necessarily because she is weak but because her body is built differently from the man’s. There are various explanations for this, with the simplest being that women are typically smaller than men and have a comparatively smaller amount of water within their bodies. This makes them prone to getting drunk when compared to males of similar proportions. Women also have less dehydrogenase, which is the enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the stomach. This difference makes them more susceptible to having lower levels of tolerance for alcohol.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with Alcohol Dependence or Addiction and you are unsure of how to handle it, kindly call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.

Alcohol tolerance and Alcoholism

Alcohol tolerance can affect or determine if an individual becomes an “alcoholic” or dependent on alcohol. This is usually the case in individuals who have higher alcohol tolerance than those with lower tolerance. An individual with a lower tolerance to alcohol might drink less or avoid drinking too much as it stands a chance to put them at risk.

The term alcoholic is demeaning and should not be used in describing anyone. It is only being used here to emphasise the condition.

The case is not, however, the same with someone who has a high tolerance for alcohol. Such an individual might drink more than is biologically healthy for their body. However, the person might not recognise this fact and perceive that the body is fine since they are not getting intoxicated. However, this is far from the truth as the body may still be struggling to digest the large quantities of alcohol the individual is consuming.

Aside from damaging the internal organs such as the liver and kidneys, the large quantities could lead to the individual developing a dependence on alcohol without realising, which can potentially lead to withdrawal symptoms if the individual stays away from alcohol much longer than they are supposed to.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with Alcohol Dependence or Addiction and you are unsure of how to handle it, kindly call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.

Conclusion

Alcohol tolerance explains why some individuals can last quite the number of alcoholic beverages whilst some could get drunk only a few drops of alcohol. Lower tolerance for alcohol can sometimes be a blessing in disguise as it will keep an individual from indulging too much in it. This will help protect such a person from developing a dependence on alcohol o hurting their internal organs. Therefore, an individual with a lower tolerance to alcohol might drink less or avoid drinking too much as it stands a chance to put them at risk.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with Alcohol Dependence or Addiction and you are unsure of how to handle it, kindly call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, although you might not be getting intoxicated as quickly as others around you, your body is feeling the effects of alcohol just like the others around you. Therefore, it would be best if you avoided it. You can call us on 0203 955 7700 for an in-depth explanation.

The simple answer is yes. Alcohol does affect various parts of the brain, which could lead to long term and chronic damage. This article discussed short-term memory loss. However, individuals can also suffer long-term memory loss coupled with other permanent brain damage.

No, we will not recommend it. Drugs must be taken on a prescription. Failure to do so could lead to abuse, and you are taking the wrong dosage. Do well to see your physician before taking any drugs.

Various factors could be responsible for this. These include your age, gender and how much alcohol you have been exposed to throughout your life. Nonetheless, we will advise you to seek professional help. Please feel free to call 0203 955 7700 immediately, and we will be glad to help and assist you.

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