There are many factors that affect the severity of intoxication.
Once you become attuned to these, you will have an easier time managing how you serve your customers.
The amount of alcohol consumed will impact intoxication levels The more alcohol a person consumes, the more it accumulates in the blood, increasing intoxication. Remember, the liver can only remove about one drink per hour.
The speed of consumption of alcohol also affects the severity of intoxication. Drinking alcohol rapidly, like binge drinking, can quickly lead to higher levels of intoxication because it increases the rate at which alcohol is consumed and absorbed by the body.
Having food in the stomach slows the rate of intoxication because it causes the pyloric valve at the bottom of the stomach to close while digestion is taking place. This keeps the alcohol out of the small intestine where most of it is absorbed, thus delaying intoxication. This is why it is recommended that people consuming alcohol have food, like high protein or fatty foods, in their stomachs when they are drinking because these foods slow digestion and absorption.
The size of one’s body can affect how the body processes alcohol. A larger person has more blood circulating in the body than a smaller person, so the concentration of alcohol rises more slowly than it does in the smaller person, even if they drink the same amounts of alcohol.
A person’s sex also plays a role. A woman becomes intoxicated more quickly than a man of the same size because women tend to accumulate more alcohol in their bloodstreams than men do. Women’s bodies also process alcohol differently than men’s. Women have lower levels of the stomach enzyme that neutralizes alcohol before it moves into the bloodstream. They also tend to have a higher proportion of body fat, which does not absorb alcohol thereby increasing alcohol levels in the blood. Also women tend to weigh less than men, so drink for drink, there is more alcohol in a woman’s bloodstream.
Tolerance can build up over time as the body adapts to alcohol, drugs, and other toxic substances. Increased tolerance lessens the effects of alcohol on the central nervous system. Tolerance varies from person to person and is unrelated to a person’s BAC level. While the effects of intoxication may not be readily apparent, a person can still be impaired, which makes tolerance highly dangerous.
Medications or drugs, including recreational and illegal drugs, can impair the human body in similar ways to alcohol intoxication. When mixed with alcohol, medications, recreational and illegal drugs can have very harmful effects that may lead to discomfort or death.
Altitude can make alcohol intoxication nearly twice as potent on the human body until the person becomes acclimated to the height. Servers at ski resorts should be aware of this effect on visitors.
Alcohol exaggerates the mood of a person. For example, an individual who is depressed may become severely depressed while drinking. People who are fatigued or stressed become intoxicated more quickly than people who are rested and relaxed. Physical, mental, or emotional exhaustion will increase the impairment caused by alcohol.
A person’s physical condition also impacts intoxication levels. A muscular person becomes less intoxicated than a non-muscular person. This is because the muscular person has more blood to dilute the alcohol.
Finally, a person who is drinking a carbonated drink can become intoxicated more quickly than a person who is drinking a non-carbonated drink. Carbonation is a gas that pushes alcohol through the digestive system and causes quicker absorption. Sugars and juices also speed up alcohol absorption.
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