High Alcohol Tolerance
Once you had your first taste of alcohol, nothing could compare to the way it made you feel. You felt a rush of warmth, relaxation, and a freeness you had never experienced before. Your friends would have parties on Fridays after football games and you were notoriously known for being the beer pong champion.
As you got older, you found that it was taking more alcohol to feel the effects. You would be out with friends who would be intoxicated after three or four shots, while you were barely feeling a buzz. Most nights out you either have to drink before you go or come home and finish a bottle to feel anything from the alcohol. As you take a look around your apartment, you see the amount of empty fifths. Why does it take you so much more alcohol to feel the effects?
In 2020, 18.5% of middle and high school students reported binge or heavy drinking in Sarasota County. Clean Recovery Centers is working within our Suncoast communities to prevent and educate on the consequences underage drinking causes. The program at Clean Recovery Centers utilizes a unique, three-phase approach that addresses both addiction and mental health. Our team of dedicated professionals can diagnose and treat mental health conditions at any phase of treatment. Our blog helps educate parents and loved ones about substance use disorders and serves as a free resource and guide. Today, we are discussing what is a high alcohol tolerance, and what it can mean in terms of alcohol use disorder.
What Is A High Alcohol Tolerance?
Alcohol tolerance is defined as drinking the same amount of alcohol but feeling less effects over time. This is because the body becomes used to the level of alcohol being consumed, and requires more in order to achieve the same effects. Alcohol tolerance will continue to increase as more is consumed at a steady rate. A high alcohol tolerance may feel like a good thing as you don’t feel intoxicated as quickly, but there are many negative side effects that are going on behind the scenes.
What Affects Your Alcohol Tolerance?
Alcohol tolerance is affected by the amount you drink and the frequency of your drinking. The effects of drinking five beers in a few hours will result in feeling rather tipsy. However, having those five beers every day will change the way they affect you. You will notice that they no longer create the same effects as before, and now it takes 8 beers to get those results. This process will continue as tolerance keeps building.
The best way to decrease tolerance is to abstain from drinking for a period of time. Within a few weeks, alcohol tolerance can become noticeably less. Within months, tolerance will be in a normal range, meaning the effects of alcohol can be felt after only one or two drinks. It is possible to decrease tolerance over time by drinking less, but it is not as effective and can take a lot longer.
Are There Different Types Of Alcohol Tolerance?
There are different scenarios and situations that can affect alcohol tolerance. Increasing drinking does create a high alcohol tolerance, but there are factors that contribute to building tolerance.
Acute tolerance is the development of tolerance after a single drinking session. The effects of alcohol are more noticeable at the beginning of drinking than at the end. The person may feel inebriated but not feel the other effects of alcohol. This can result in an increase in consumption which can lead to dangerous levels of alcohol within the body. Alcohol poisoning is an emergency and requires medical professionals to treat.
Situational tolerance is related to environment and social settings. If drinking always occurs in the same area around the same people, tolerance can increase. For example, you are used to drinking at the local bar down the street, but when having drinks at the company Christmas party, you find you feel the effects of alcohol faster than you do at the bar. This is because the bar provides situational tolerance due to the brain being used to the area and people.
Alcohol tolerance can be a learned behavior when drinking is involved while completing tasks. For example, if you always drink while doing the dishes, tolerance will be higher by performing that task. This is referred to as learned tolerance, and it typically only occurs while performing the tasks and drinking occurs simultaneously.
How Does High Alcohol Tolerance Affect You?
Having a high alcohol tolerance can cause many negative side effects within the body. Even though you do not feel intoxicated after so many drinks, blood alcohol content (BAC) can still be at a high level. You may feel okay to drive when you are actually over the legal limit. The brain’s reaction time is slowed and vision impairment is probable. This creates a dangerous situation for yourself and those around you if you decide to try to drive. Legal troubles can also occur if you are stopped by an officer.
Your body also does not recognize alcohol as a toxin as tolerance increases. The body helps protect you from toxins and has systems in place to get rid of them. With high alcohol tolerance, you are less likely to vomit or pass out from alcohol, leading to even higher BACs and leading to alcohol poisoning.
Lastly, the more you drink the more likely you are to experience alcohol withdrawal between sessions. Withdrawal is uncomfortable and comes with a slew of symptoms. Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Fast heart rate
Alcohol withdrawal can become serious. Delirium tremens (DTs) are the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal and can be accompanied by seizures, hallucinations, and psychosis. If DTs are experienced, it is time to seek medical attention.
Is High Alcohol Tolerance A Sign of Addiction?
There are factors that can have an effect on developing a high alcohol tolerance. Those who have a higher body fat percentage will have a higher tolerance due to having more water within their bodies. Also, some ethnicities have higher amounts of alcohol dehydrogenase in their bodies. This is an enzyme that helps process alcohol, and having a higher amount will increase tolerance.
However, developing a high alcohol tolerance from continued drinking can be a sign that dependence is developing. If you find yourself experiencing withdrawal between drinking sessions, thinking about your next drink, hiding alcohol from loved ones, and seeing a decline in your work or school performance, it may be time to think about seeking help.
Getting Help For Alcohol Use Disorder In Sarasota, FL
Having a high tolerance for alcohol can be a clear indicator that it is time to seek help. Finding an alcohol detox is the first step in the right direction to take back your life. With therapy, skill-building classes, and coping skill management, you will be able to leave alcohol behind and begin your bright future in recovery. You will find joy and fulfillment in rediscovering yourself and your passions.
If you or someone you love has developed a high alcohol tolerance and an alcohol use disorder, help is available today. Clean Recovery Centers has helped hundreds throughout the Gulf Coast area find their success in recovery. Our program addresses each aspect of addiction: spiritual, mental, physical, and social. We have wellness programs that are unique and not seen at other facilities including brain mapping, osteopathic manipulation, neuro/biofeedback, autonomic nervous system testing, and so much more. There is something for everyone here at Clean, and we treat you with respect and compassion. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to begin your journey to get clean, live clean, and stay clean.