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Old 10-30-2005, 03:16 PM
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For how long does alcohol stay in the body?

I've heard the one-hour-per-drink rule, but is that really accurate?

For instance: Start partying at midnight, averaging 4 drinks per hour, for four hours. The rule (and the BAC chart) says a 200 pound man (or less) is still legally drunk at noon. True?
Old 10-30-2005, 03:33 PM
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So, 16 drinks in 4 hours. I can see being a little out of it 8 hours after you stop, but I can't imagine still being drunk. At least not legally drunk. Buzzed, maybe.
Old 10-30-2005, 03:34 PM
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Sixteen drinks!? Our poor 200-pound man will still be vomiting at noon, whatchoo talking about??
Old 10-30-2005, 03:48 PM
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I actually tested myself (6 feet tall, 200 pounds) with a lab quality breathalizer on this many times. The result is oddly close to the one drink an hour rule. Also note that the standard drink is one drink of 4% alcohol beer and only 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor per drink. Many drinks are higher than that (and many lower).
Old 10-30-2005, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalGabe
So, 16 drinks in 4 hours. I can see being a little out of it 8 hours after you stop, but I can't imagine still being drunk. At least not legally drunk. Buzzed, maybe.
That was my problem. I could easily drink 16 or more drinks in a night and go to work. Break out the breathalizer though and you will find that you are still legally drunk. That is why many DUI's get written in the morning.
Old 10-30-2005, 04:05 PM
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I drive better when I've had a couple drinks.

I read an article sometime back that said that impairment testing pretty much backed up breathalizer results. People who neither looked nor felt drunk nevertheless failed the breathalizer tests as often as the impairment tests. Also, people who smelled (breath or BO) of booze were usually drunk. And coffee didn't help. That's all I remember.
This was just one study. There may be others.
This is not, by the way, true of THC.
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Old 10-30-2005, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
That is why many DUI's get written in the morning.
Hmm. Learn something new every day in this place.
Old 10-30-2005, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalGabe
Hmm. Learn something new every day in this place.
I used to live in Fort Worth, Texas. A nuke plant was being built southwest of there. One morning there was an accident involving a guy leaving work and a guy coming to work. Both were legally drunk.
Old 10-30-2005, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Oslo Ostragoth
I used to live in Fort Worth, Texas. A nuke plant was being built southwest of there. One morning there was an accident involving a guy leaving work and a guy coming to work. Both were legally drunk.
Poor Homer.
Old 10-31-2005, 01:57 PM
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The rule I've seen most often repeated is "The average liver can oxidize one ounce of alcohol per hour." The "one drink per hour" rule assumes that one beer, one glass of wine, and one mixed drink all contain one ounce of alcohol. Obviously, this is not accurate because of the wide variation of alcohol in drinks.

The oxidation also varies with your hydration. Each molecule of alcohol uses up four molecules of water in oxidation (Andrew Weil, MD), so if you are dehydrated, your oxidation slows down.
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Old 10-31-2005, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AskNott
The rule I've seen most often repeated is "The average liver can oxidize one ounce of alcohol per hour." The "one drink per hour" rule assumes that one beer, one glass of wine, and one mixed drink all contain one ounce of alcohol. Obviously, this is not accurate because of the wide variation of alcohol in drinks.
Here's what we learned in school (so this is from memory, 17 years ago)

Just about every drink gains you about 0.15 promille per glass. Why just about every drink? Because each drink has its own glass, in which you normally pour a certain quality that nets to the same amount of alcohol. For instance, a glass of beer contains more beer than a glass of wine contains wine, and a glass of wine contains more wine than a glass of whiskey contains whiskey. Follow?

Every hour you break down about 0.125 promille. Hence, the one glass per hour rule does work pretty well.

Of course there are individual factors. These don't depend so much on body weight as they do on how much blood you have. The more blood runs through your veins, the more spread out the alcohol. Also, the function of the liver matters. If you drink more, the liver gets better at breaking down alcohol (that is, until it gets damaged too much and it gets worse, that is after about 10 years of alcohol abuse if I remember correctly).

Quote:
The oxidation also varies with your hydration. Each molecule of alcohol uses up four molecules of water in oxidation (Andrew Weil, MD), so if you are dehydrated, your oxidation slows down.
And this makes sense too. Certainly, alcohol helps you dehydrate - the most familiar result of that is a hangover, which is dehydration of the tissue between skull and brain. So drinking water while drinking alcohol certainly helps prevent the hangover (pretty much the only thing that does, imho).

Beer and other alcohol that contains bubbles (and normal sodas) expand your intestines and decreases their capacity to uptake liquids. That means that after the first bunch, you can drink relatively more of them - they basically run right through, which is also why you have to go to the bathroom quickly afterwards. Also makes it harder though to prevent hangovers, because you can't rehydrate very efficiently.

And then of course there is the brain. Alcohol is turned into serotonine, a neurotransmitter that literally slows your brain down, but also makes you feel good about yourself. It also regulates sleep and explains why overconsumption often results in people falling asleep. Some brains are very efficient at producing serotonine, others less so. Some break it down very quickly, others less so. These are very individual differences, but consistent alcohol abuse generally does increase the brains capacity to break down serotonine, and inhibit the production of it. That means that people become increasingly dependent on alcohol to feel normal or good about themselves and that while on the short term alcohol tends to literally make you feel better about yourself, in the long term it affects your self-confidence and general happiness negatively. (Sugar in food works the same way)
Old 10-31-2005, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwin
And then of course there is the brain. Alcohol is turned into serotonine, a neurotransmitter that literally slows your brain down, but also makes you feel good about yourself. It also regulates sleep and explains why overconsumption often results in people falling asleep. Some brains are very efficient at producing serotonine, others less so. Some break it down very quickly, others less so. These are very individual differences, but consistent alcohol abuse generally does increase the brains capacity to break down serotonine, and inhibit the production of it. That means that people become increasingly dependent on alcohol to feel normal or good about themselves and that while on the short term alcohol tends to literally make you feel better about yourself, in the long term it affects your self-confidence and general happiness negatively. (Sugar in food works the same way)
Holy bad teaching Batman! Alcohol doesn't get turned into any neurotransmitter. It works by itself to alter receptors in the GABA neurotransmitter system. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and alcohol increases its action. Other "downers" like benzodiazepines and barbituates also work on the GABA system.
Old 11-03-2005, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
Holy bad teaching Batman! Alcohol doesn't get turned into any neurotransmitter. It works by itself to alter receptors in the GABA neurotransmitter system. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and alcohol increases its action. Other "downers" like benzodiazepines and barbituates also work on the GABA system.
I was oversimplifying. Perhaps I should say that the effects of alcohol are closely interrelated to serotonine instead?

And anyway, I understood that GABA is but one part of a much larger picture. As described in this (pdf) document:

http://currentseparations.com/is...-1/cs18-1d.pdf
Old 11-03-2005, 08:00 AM
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You can open this calculator without a password. It may help you prognostications about how long you can stay drunk.
Old 11-03-2005, 10:50 AM
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Most police departments calculate it as your drunk-o-meter goes down .015% BAC per hour. That's how fast the average human processes alcohol in their blood. This is important because if someone gets arrested for DUI, processed and ready for release he needs to find someone to take his drunk ass home. If not he is going to be handcuffed to a wall for quite a while. If he is still legally drunk and gets run over crossing the highway, the police department is responsible because they let him out.
Old 11-03-2005, 11:09 AM
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