What Does It Mean to be Drunk?

What Does It Mean to be Drunk?

Excessive drinking can have negative consequences on our health and safety. According to CDC, excessive alcohol use is responsible for an average of 95,000 deaths per year in the United States alone.

What Does It Mean to be Drunk?

Did you know that over 14 million adults in the United States struggle with alcohol use disorder? Alcohol affects our behavior, but it also has physical effects on our bodies.

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a measure of the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream and is used to determine if someone is legally drunk. In this article, we'll explore what it really means to be drunk, how BAC is measured, and the effects of excessive drinking on our health.

What Does It Mean to be Drunk?

When we drink alcohol, it is absorbed into our bloodstream and travels to our brain. Once it reaches our brain, it affects the way our neurons communicate with each other.

Effects of alcohol

This is why we may:

  • Feel more talkative
  • Have lower inhibitions
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Impaired judgment and decision-making abilities
  • Blurred vision

As we continue to drink, our blood alcohol concentration (BAC) increases.

BAC Levels and Alcohol Effects

At a BAC of 0.08%, which is the legal limit for driving in most states, our reaction time slows down and our coordination becomes impaired.

At higher BAC levels, we may experience:

  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Blackouts or memory problems
  • Increased risk of accidents or injuries

The Stages of Being Drunk and How They Affect the Body

There are several stages of being drunk, each with its own set of symptoms and effects on the body.

Stage One: Euphoria

In this stage, which usually occurs after one or two drinks, the individual may feel a sense of euphoria. They may become more talkative, have lower inhibitions, and experience a sense of relaxation. At this stage, the BAC is typically between 0.01% to 0.05%.

Stage Two: Excitement

As the BAC continues to rise (between 0.03% to 0.12%), individuals may become more excited and their inhibitions may decrease further. They may also experience impaired judgment and decision-making abilities.

Stage Three: Confusion

At this stage (BAC between 0.09% to 0.25%), individuals may experience confusion, disorientation, and lack of coordination. Their speech may be slurred, and they may have difficulty with balance.

Stage Four: Stupor

At a BAC level above 0.25%, individuals enter a state of stupor, in which they are barely conscious or completely unconscious.

Stage Five: Coma

In extreme cases, such as alcohol poisoning, individuals may enter a state of coma, which is characterized by unconsciousness and unresponsiveness.

Stage Six: Death

In some cases, excessive drinking can lead to death due to respiratory depression or other complications.

It's important to know your limits when it comes to drinking alcohol as excessive drinking can cause serious damage to your health over time.

How to Recognize Signs of Alcohol Poisoning and What to Do in Case of an Emergency

Free photo drunk friends after party

In some cases, excessive drinking can cause alcohol poisoning, which is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. It's important to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning and take action immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing them.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

Some common signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Blue or pale skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Unconsciousness or difficulty staying awake

If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or someone else, it's important to act quickly.

What to Do in Case of an Emergency

If you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. While waiting for emergency services to arrive, try to keep the person awake and in an upright position if possible. If they are unconscious, make sure they are lying on their side with their head tilted back slightly to prevent choking.

Do not leave the person alone and do not try to make them vomit as this can cause further complications. Stay with them until medical help arrives and provide any information that may be relevant, such as how much they have had to drink and when their last drink was.

Remember that alcohol poisoning can be deadly if left untreated, so it's important to take action quickly if you suspect that someone may have it.

Effects of Alcohol on Different Age Groups

Alcohol affects people differently depending on their age. Certain age groups may be more vulnerable to the negative effects of alcohol.

Adolescents and Young Adults

Adolescents and young adults who drink heavily can experience long-term damage to their developing brains, including memory problems and impaired cognitive function. They may also be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence or unprotected sex.

Middle-Aged Adults

Middle-aged adults who drink heavily may be at increased risk for certain health problems, such as liver disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Additionally, heavy drinking can contribute to weight gain and other lifestyle factors that can impact overall health.

Elderly People

As we age, our bodies become less efficient at processing alcohol. This means that elderly people may feel the effects of alcohol more quickly and with less consumption than younger adults. Additionally, alcohol can interfere with medication that elderly individuals may be taking for other health conditions, leading to dangerous interactions or exacerbation of symptoms.

It's important for individuals of all ages to understand the risks associated with excessive drinking and make responsible choices when it comes to consuming alcohol.

Beer, Wine, and Liquor: Differences in Alcohol Content and Effects on the Body

While beer, wine, and liquor all contain alcohol, they differ in their alcohol content and can have different effects on the body.


Beer typically has a lower alcohol content than wine or liquor. A standard 12-ounce beer usually contains around 5% alcohol by volume (ABV). However, some craft beers may have a higher ABV of up to 10%.

Because beer has a lower alcohol content, it generally takes longer to feel its effects compared to other types of alcohol. However, drinking too much beer can still lead to intoxication and impaired judgment.


Wine generally has a higher alcohol content than beer but lower than hard liquor. A standard 5-ounce glass of wine usually contains around 12% ABV. However, some wines may have an even higher ABV of up to 20%.

Drinking wine can cause similar effects as drinking beer or liquor but because of its higher alcohol content, it may take less wine to reach the same level of intoxication.


Liquor has a much higher alcohol content than both beer and wine. A standard shot of liquor (1.5 ounces) usually contains around 40% ABV. However, some types of liquor such as Everclear which is almost pure ethanol can have an ABV as high as 95%.

Drinking liquor can cause rapid intoxication and increase the risk of accidents or injuries. Because of its high potency, consuming too much can lead to serious health consequences such as liver damage.

It's important to know your limits when it comes to consuming any type of alcoholic beverage and make responsible choices that prioritize your health and well-being.

Tips for Staying Safe While Drinking Alcohol

If you choose to drink alcohol, it's important to do so responsibly. Here are some tips to help you stay safe while drinking:

1. Drink in Moderation

The recommended limit for alcohol consumption is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Drinking more than this can lead to health problems and increase the risk of accidents or injury.

2. Watch Your BAC Level

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a measure of how much alcohol is in your bloodstream. It's important to keep track of your BAC level and avoid drinking too much too quickly.

3. Stay Hydrated

Alcohol can dehydrate you, so it's important to drink plenty of water while drinking. This can help prevent hangovers and other negative effects of alcohol.

4. Eat Before and During Drinking

Food can help slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. Eating before or during drinking can also help counteract the effects of alcohol and prevent nausea or vomiting.

5. Know Your Limits

Everyone's tolerance for alcohol is different. It's important to know your own limits and stop drinking if you start feeling drunk.

6. Avoid Driving While Under the Influence

Never drive while under the influence of alcohol. If you plan on drinking, make sure to have a designated driver or plan for a safe way home, such as taking a taxi or using public transportation.

7. Look Out for Your Friends

If you're out with friends who are drinking, make sure to look out for them and make sure they stay safe. If someone is showing signs of alcohol poisoning or other serious effects of alcohol, seek medical attention immediately.

By following these tips and drinking responsibly, you can help prevent negative consequences and stay safe while enjoying alcohol.

Strategies for Avoiding Peer Pressure to Drink Excessively in Social Situations

It can be difficult to resist peer pressure to drink excessively in social situations. However, there are several strategies you can use to stay in control and make responsible choices when it comes to alcohol.

1. Set Limits for Yourself

Before going out, decide how much you are comfortable drinking and stick to that limit. Let your friends know ahead of time what your limits are and ask them to respect your decision.

2. Have a Non-Alcoholic Drink

If you're feeling pressured to drink more than you want to, order a non-alcoholic drink instead. This can help you avoid the negative effects of excessive drinking while still enjoying the social aspects of the event.

3. Surround Yourself with Supportive Friends

Choose friends who will support your decision not to drink excessively and who won't pressure you into doing something you're uncomfortable with.

4. Be Confident in Your Choices

Remember that it's okay to say no if someone offers you another drink or pressures you into drinking more than you want to. Be confident in your choices and don't let peer pressure sway your decisions.

By using these strategies, you can enjoy social situations without compromising your health or well-being. It's important to prioritize responsible drinking habits and make choices that align with your personal values and goals.


In conclusion, understanding the effects of alcohol on the body and making responsible choices when it comes to drinking is crucial for maintaining good health and avoiding negative consequences. Whether you're a young adult, middle-aged, or elderly, it's important to be aware of the risks associated with excessive drinking and take steps to stay safe while enjoying alcohol.

Remember to always drink in moderation, keep track of your BAC level, stay hydrated, eat before and during drinking, know your limits, avoid driving while under the influence, and look out for your friends. By following these tips and strategies for avoiding peer pressure in social situations, you can enjoy alcohol responsibly and minimize any potential harm.


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