How Long Does Alcohol Stay In The Body? - Detox Plus UK

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It is probably one of the most important things on your mind after you have had a drink or a night out with friends. How Long Does Alcohol Stay In The Body? If you go to work or drive the next day or have a random works drug test, you may wonder if you are completely sober and if there is any trace of alcohol left in your system. Does it dissipate and become absorbed right away or does it remain? 

How long does alcohol stay in your blood?

Unlike food or other types of drugs, alcohol requires little to no digestion in terms of needing to break it down into a digestible form. Once in the stomach, 20 per cent of the alcohol moves directly into the small blood vessels that carry water and nutrients throughout the body. The remaining 80 per cent moves into the small intestines where it enters another group of small blood vessels that travel through the body

If you have had a drink lately, you may wish to know how long it will stay and be detected in your bloodstream.  But measuring the time it lasts before disappearing from your system can depend on many different factors. It can obviously be affected by the amount of alcohol you have consumed, its strength, type and measure as well as how many drinks you have had.

If you are judging a person with healthy liver functions, it can take approximately an hour for one unit of alcohol to leave the body. This, of course, may differ if your liver is not working properly or you are taking medication. It generally takes the human body about an hour to break down a single unit of alcohol. But various considerations may have an impact on how quickly alcohol disappears, including an individual’s gender, age and weight. How long does it take for the effects of drinking to wear off?

The time it takes can depend on your metabolism; which is based on how much you have had to eat and how quickly your body can turn food into energy. If you are younger, you have a quick metabolism and can process it in less time than an older person. It takes longer for alcohol to leave a woman’s body than a mans and it can have a greater effect on a lighter person than someone who is heavier.

How does food affect absorption?

However, another variant in gauging how long alcohol remains is the type of test administered and where on the body. Alcohol is metabolised by the liver and converted into metabolites, which can be picked up by a variety of tests. They range from a urine, blood and breathalyser test, to a mouth swab, sweat patch and hair follicle test. You may fail a blood test if you have had a drink within an hour. It can show up in urine 80 hours after having a drink. It can be detected in a breath test between 12 and 24 hours, which is the same for saliva. There may be traces of drink found in a sweat test from one week to a month, and it may still be present in a hair follicle test after 90 days.

Both prescription and illicit drugs can change how the body responds to alcohol, and both can change how the stomach absorbs nutrients, including components of alcohol. The small amount is taken in by the stomach and small intestine is called the first-pass metabolism since most alcohol metabolizing occurs in the liver. Some drugs can block the first-pass metabolism by changing the amount of stomach acid or blocking absorption, which can lead to greater intoxication after the liver processes as much alcohol as possible. Other drugs can damage the liver, and if the liver is damaged while consuming alcohol, then more alcohol is released into the blood.

How do drugs alter the metabolism of alcohol?

Additionally, alcohol can change how drugs are metabolized, leading to medications being less effective or more serious side effects from both prescription and illicit drugs.

These are all important considerations when it comes to determining how long alcohol stays in the human body after you have had a drink.

If you or a loved one require treatment for alcohol addiction, contact Detox Plus UK today at our London office 02072052734. Each year, we assist thousands of people across the country who are seeking workable and practical treatments.



National Health Service. (2018). How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Blood?  from

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