How Long Does Being Drunk Last? What Factors To Include

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 5th, 2022

Our bodies excrete around 3 to 4 ounces of alcohol every hour. So, on average, a moderately inebriated individual will most likely sober up in 6 to 8 hours.

However, how alcohol affects you and how long you may stay intoxicated depends on various circumstances. It can vary depending on how much you drink, what you drink, your alcohol tolerance, and other factors.

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How long do the effects of alcohol last?

In general, it takes roughly 6 hours for the effects of alcohol to wear off.

The benefits may persist longer if you include the hangover/detoxification time that occurs after consuming alcohol.

One drink results in a blood alcohol level of.02 for the majority of persons. Because alcohol is metabolized at a rate of.016 per hour; even if you drink one drink every hour, some alcohol can accumulate in your system and prolong the effects.

When a person becomes inebriated, their blood alcohol level rises significantly, resulting in the characteristic intoxicated consequences. After then, the alcohol must be digested and removed by the body before the effects of alcohol are eliminated.

Is it possible to be intoxicated after 24 hours?

While a hangover might persist for up to two days in extreme situations, you will not be intoxicated after 24 hours.

However, you may feel intoxicated in the morning or afternoon following a strong night of drinking, so you are less focused, irritable, and coordinated than usual.

The absorption and metabolism of alcohol

The small intestine is responsible for around 20% of alcohol absorption. The rate of absorption varies depending on your weight. The slower absorption becomes as you gain weight.

Following absorption into the circulation, the alcohol is transported to the liver for alcohol metabolism. The liver can only process roughly 10 mL of alcohol per hour, or one unit.

On the other hand, the rate at which alcohol is metabolized is determined by a number of factors. Continue reading to learn more.

How many drinks does it take to become drunk?

A 12-ounce beer, which contains around 4% alcohol, is a common measurement of one drink. So you can drink one beer every hour and go all day without becoming too drunk.

However, consuming 4-5 bottles in an hour will make you drunk.

Signs that you’re drunk

The majority of individuals consider themselves intoxicated after having:

Sleepiness, slurred speech, poor judgment, muscular incoordination, difficulty focusing, decreased attentiveness

Stages of being drunk

Although this varies from person to person, there are seven phases of intoxication.

The phases of alcohol intoxication are as follows:

  1. Sobriety also known as subclinical drunkenness.
  2. Euphoria.
  3. Excitement.
  4. Confusion.
  5. Stupor.
  6. Coma.
  7. Death.

Stage 1: Sobriety, or Subclinical Intoxication

Individuals with BACs of 0.01-0.05 are unlikely to seem inebriated, yet specific tests may identify impairment. Judgment and response speed may be slightly affected depending on the individual.

According to a Loyola University Maryland graphic, one drink will normally result in a BAC within this range for both males and females, except for women weighing less than 100 pounds.

Stage 2: Euphoria

Between 0.03 and 0.12 BAC, the second stage of alcohol intoxication, known as euphoria, develops (which may correspond to roughly 1-4 drinks for a woman or 2-5 for a man, depending on size).

At this stage, the person may feel more confident, chatty, lively, and slightly euphoric. Inhibitions begin to fade as well. This stage is commonly referred to as “tipsy.”

While many of the effects of alcohol are enjoyable to the drinker, the negative consequences of alcohol, such as decreased judgment, memory, and coordination, start to manifest about this time.

Motor responses may be greatly delayed at this stage compared to a lower BAC.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, attentiveness is reduced, the individual has difficulty processing information, and they do not identify danger as fast.

A motorist with a BAC of 0.08 or higher is four times more likely to be involved in a car accident than a driver with a BAC of zero, and driving with a BAC of 0.08 or more is unlawful and can result in a DUI arrest.

Stage 3: Excitement

The stages of alcohol intoxication are depicted in an infographic depending on blood alcohol level.

A BAC of 0.09 to 0.25 places a person in the third stage of alcohol intoxication: enthusiasm. They may develop emotional instability, a loss of critical judgment, and a considerable delay in reaction time. They may begin to slur their words. They may also encounter:

  • Perception and memory are impaired.
  • Reduced peripheral vision, blurriness, and delayed glare recovery are all symptoms of vision problems.
  • Loss of equilibrium.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Vomiting and nausea

Those in the person’s vicinity will most likely notice that they are inebriated.

Stage 4: Confusion

A person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.18 to 0.30 is in the confusion stage, which is marked by emotional turmoil and bewilderment.

Coordination is severely compromised, to the point that the individual may be unable to stand, wobble when walking, and feel dizzy.

Those at this stage of alcohol intoxication are more prone to forget what happens to them or around them. At this level, “blacking out” (losing recollection of events that occurred while drinking) without really passing out is possible.

Furthermore, a person may have a significantly elevated pain threshold, which means they might damage themselves and not realize it until later.

Stage 5: Stupor

The stages of alcohol intoxication are depicted in this infographic based on the number of drinks consumed each hour.

Stupors can develop with BACs ranging from 0.25 to 0.40. Someone at this stage is severely intoxicated and in danger since they are at high risk of alcohol poisoning and death.

They have most likely lost major motor function, are not reacting to stimuli (or are responding slowly), and maybe:

  • Incapable of standing or walking.
  • Stuporous or utterly unconscious.
  • Incapable of deliberately controlling some body processes, such as continence.
  • Vomiting.

Someone at this stage should seek medical attention. Individuals left to “sleep it off” may experience delayed breathing, respiratory collapse, or choking on their vomit. Hypothermia, arrhythmia, and seizures are further hazards.

Stage 6: Coma

An individual with a BAC of 0.35-0.45 is at high risk of going into a coma. Respiration and circulation are substantially impaired, as are motor responsiveness, reflexes, and the person’s body temperature. A person at stage six of alcohol intoxication is at risk of death.

Stage 7: Death

Many people cannot sustain basic life functions at 0.45 BAC or higher, and the danger of respiratory arrest and death is severe. It should be noted that death is also conceivable with lower BACs.

How can you quickly recover from a drunken stupor?

The easiest strategy to reduce your BAC is to be patient and wait it out. However, you can do a few things to speed up the process and get the alcohol out of your system.

As an example:

Sleeping, working out, hydrating, and sipping coffee.

How long does it take for the effects of alcohol to wear off?

People frequently want to know how long it takes for the effects of alcohol to wear off, especially when you realize you’ve had too much or need to “sober up.”

Popular wisdom holds that drinking coffee or taking a cold shower can help you become sober; however, none of these techniques will reduce the extent to which alcohol affects you, and caffeine might make it worse rather than flushing alcohol out of your system.

The intoxicating ingredient in alcohol is ethanol, which has a half-life of four to five hours. That implies half of the alcohol in the bloodstream will be gone in that period.

In general, humans absorb alcohol quicker than it can be digested. Thus it remains in the system for a longer period.

Your level of drunkenness is determined by your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is the alcohol-to-water ratio in your blood.

In the United States, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or.08 grams per deciliter of blood renders you legally inebriated.

While two persons may have the same BAC, the length of time for the effects to wear off is determined by how rapidly their bodies metabolize the ethanol in the alcohol they’ve drunk.

The rate at which a person metabolizes alcohol is determined by:

  • The sex (male or female)
  • Weight Age Rate of Metabolism
  • How much food was consumed?
  • The kind of alcohol
  • The rate at which alcohol was consumed
  • If other chemicals are present,
  • Problems with the liver

At a pace of one drink per hour, the body can clear 0.015 percent BAC on average; therefore, depending on the individual and kind of alcohol, they may have a BAC of 0.02 percent – 0.03 percent.

That implies it might take the body one to two hours to digest the alcohol taken in that hour. If you drink two glasses of wine with dinner, it might take up to six hours for the alcohol to be completely broken down, depending on the abovementioned variables.

It may take up to 15 hours or more for a person with alcoholism to properly metabolize and remove the alcohol taken from the system if they consume more than 10 glasses of wine (approximately two bottles) in a day or binge.

That implies that a person who binges on two bottles of wine will not be “sober” until 12 to 15 hours after drinking.

Why does drunkenness stay so long?


The more blood you have in your system, and hence the more alcohol you need to get drunk, the heavier you are. You are also more likely to sober up faster if you are bigger, as your BAC is projected to drop faster due to the increased weight.


Males often require more alcohol than women to become inebriated because BAC climbs slower in men than in women. Furthermore, in men, alcohol is absorbed in the stomach, but in women, it is absorbed in the intestines. 

Absorption rates in the stomach are lower than in the organs. As a result, women become intoxicated faster than males. Because men’s metabolism rates are higher than women’s, it takes longer for the BAC to drop in women than in men.


Eating before drinking slows the rate of alcohol absorption in the body, resulting in a lower BAC. Eating before drinking increases liver activity, which means that the alcohol you ingest is absorbed swiftly, allowing you to sober up much faster.


Varied medications have different effects; some will prolong the amount of time you are inebriated. Drugs that thin your blood will keep you drunk for a longer period. Other medications that slow down your metabolic rate will cause you to stay inebriated for longer.


Drinking water before a drink works the same way as eating food before a drink does; it is critical to decide how long you will be inebriated. Drinking water dilutes the quantity of alcohol in your system, decreasing your BAC.

How long does it take to become drunk? The amount of time will depend on various things, and it is critical to understand the indicators of intoxication to prevent consuming too much, which will injure your health.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in the Blood?

The liver can only digest a particular quantity of alcohol at a given moment – one unit of alcohol (10 ml or 8 g) each hour.

For reference, one unit is one little shot of liquor containing 40% alcohol. A normal beer bottle (330 ml) with a 5 percent alcohol content has 1.7 units.

As an example:

  • If you consume a pint of low-strength beer, equivalent to two units of alcohol, your body will require two hours to metabolize the alcohol completely.
  • If you consume a large amount of red wine (equal to 3 units of alcohol), your body will take around 3 hours to process that drink.

So, what happens to the alcohol that the body cannot process in the meantime? They are allowed to circulate in your circulation, making you ‘drunk’ until your liver can digest them.

The body can only eliminate a small quantity of alcohol every hour — 0.015 grams/100 ml. That being said, the more you drink, the longer it will take you to get sober.


There is no definitive answer to how long it takes for alcohol to leave your system. Because our bodies absorb alcohol at varying rates, you can’t control or forecast how long you’ll be intoxicated.

So, relax and enjoy the process as your body does its job.


Editorial Staff

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