How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System? A Detailed Guide

Blood flow may be slower, and an older person may be more likely to be taking medication that affects the liver. As previously mentioned, the amount of time alcohol can be detected in your system depends on the type of test used. If someone you care about is experiencing any of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, call 911 and keep your friend safe until help arrives. In small amounts, you might feel more relaxed and open or less anxious, but the more you drink, the more intoxicated you’ll begin to feel. For some, this can mean being more talkative or very friendly and others may begin to behave with anger or aggression. We do not receive any compensation or commission for referrals to other treatment facilities.

This chart is based on a positive cut-off threshold of 100 nanograms of EtG per milliliter. In other words, it assumes you’ll test positive if the test detects more than 100 nanograms per milliliter. Call your local emergency services if you suspect alcohol poisoning in a friend or loved one. The quicker you seek help, the more likely you are to minimize potentially fatal complications.

How Long Can Alcohol Be Detected in a Urine Sample?

If you have diabetes, a yeast infection or if you’re producing ketones like on the keto diet, your body can naturally create enough ethanol to trigger a false positive. This is especially true if the urine sample is left out at room temperature, where the microorganisms can continue to ferment glucose and create more alcohol. Blood tests aren’t usually used to simply test that alcohol was consumed. Due to the shorter window of time and availability of other detection methods, blood is generally not used to detect alcohol. Even post mortem, blood alcohol tests are not always reliable due to potential fermentation and infection. Alcohol — or ethanol — tests can detect alcohol metabolites in urine, breath, saliva, sweat and blood for between two and 80 hours.

However, in specific cases, like when there is an accident in a workplace or for legal reasons, alcohol may be checked for separately. Our recovery programs are based on decades of research to deliver treatment that really works. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the effects are noticeable within 10 minutes. The effects can peak after about 30 to 45 minutes.8  However, the strength may vary from person to person due to factors already discussed. The first effects of alcohol set in fairly quickly, even if you don’t notice them immediately. When people are stressed or tired, alcohol has a stronger impact than usual.

How the body processes alcohol

When misused, alcohol can do as much (or even more) overall harm as many illegal drugs. People who misuse alcohol also risk developing physical and psychological dependence and alcohol use disorder. Knowing how long alcohol (ethanol) remains in your system is important for avoiding dangerous interactions with medications as well as impairments in your physical and mental performance. While alcohol is not considered a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), it is illegal to sell or serve to anyone under the age of 21 in the United States. All Addiction Resource content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

how long does alcohol stay in your system urine

These factors can also affect how fast you’ll feel the effects of alcohol. You can become dehydrated if you don’t drink enough water in between drinks. While dehydration doesn’t make you drunk, it can intensify the effects of alcohol. The more weight you carry, the more water you accumulate in your body. Because water dilutes the alcohol, a person who weighs more will have a lower BAC level. Despite drinking the same amount of alcohol, a person with less body weight will have a higher BAC level.

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