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02.23.2022

Am I Building a Tolerance to Alcohol?

“Alcohol tolerance” is a term that is used a lot. However, few people completely understand its meaning. Your friends may jokingly say that they have a high alcohol tolerance. Or you may have heard comments about alcohol tolerance on movies or television.

Alcohol tolerance is depicted as something manly or the mark of a truly strong person. The reality is that alcohol tolerance can be an indication that a person has a big problem with alcohol abuse. Just because a person can drink more without feeling its effects or passing out, this is not necessarily a good thing. Conversely, a person who drinks little alcohol can naturally have a higher tolerance than others.

Understanding Tolerance

There are several things that impact a person’s tolerance, including:

• History of alcohol use
• Weight
• Size
• Ethnicity
• Genetics

Alcohol tolerance describes how your body reacts to the psychoactive aspects of alcohol consumption. If you have a low tolerance, you are going to feel the effects after just drinking a small amount of alcohol. Conversely, a person with a high tolerance will be able to drink higher amounts of alcohol before they feel the effects.

What Is Natural Tolerance?

Are you the type of person who can hold their liquor better than others even if you don’t drink regularly? If so, you may have a naturally high tolerance based in part on your genetics. There is ample research showing that genes impact how well a person tolerates alcohol.

However, having a naturally high alcohol tolerance is not always a good thing. In fact, studies show that people who have high alcohol tolerance have a greater chance of developing alcohol use disorder compared to those who have a low tolerance.

This could be because a person with a higher tolerance is more inclined to push their limits, thereby developing a taste for alcohol. A person with low tolerance may feel content with the effects of alcohol after just one or two drinks. However, a person with a high tolerance needs larger amounts of alcohol for gatherings and social events to be “fun.”

Physical Characteristics That Contribute to High Tolerance

Men generally have a higher tolerance for alcohol than women. The larger a person is, the more alcohol they can typically drink before they feel the effects like a smaller person would. This principle applies to the majority of psychoactive substances.

The alcohol content in your bloodstream impacts how it affects your brain. One drink for a larger person is going to be more diluted in their bloodstream compared to a smaller individual.

Ethnicity and Alcohol Tolerance

There are studies that indicate alcohol may impact people of different genetic backgrounds in unique ways. This may be due to a mixture of cultural, environmental, and genetic differences. Researchers are looking at the effects of alcohol on certain ethnic minorities with the goal of fixing issues in the healthcare system and minimizing disparities when addressing alcohol use disorder.

What Is Functional Tolerance?

Functional tolerance is unique because it is not something a person is typically born with. It is something that your body develops as it becomes accustom to alcohol consumption. When you see people who drink a lot or have been drinking alcohol for a long time, they have a higher tolerance than a person who is just starting to drink alcohol.

Functional tolerance means that you have consumed enough alcohol over time that your body and your brain has adapted to it being in your nervous system. Develop tolerance is typically an indication of mild alcohol or severe alcohol use disorder.

How Do I Know If I Have Developed Alcohol Tolerance?

You might be alcohol tolerant if it feels like it takes more alcohol to have the same effect as it did when you first started to drink. If you stop drinking or you reduce your alcohol consumption, your tolerance will return to normal. You can prevent alcohol tolerance by avoiding consuming alcohol three or four days out of the week.

This will not leave you immune to the negative effects of alcohol. If you overindulge in alcohol on the weekends, for example, you can hurt your body and develop serious health problems. It can even lead to alcohol dependence or addiction.

Should I Be Concerned about Alcohol Tolerance?

If your are concerned about alcohol tolerance, why not stop drinking for a week? You will notice a significant reduction in your tolerance level. If you start drinking again, do so with moderation. You will notice that smaller amounts of alcohol will have an intense impact on you.

If you stop drinking and experience withdrawal symptoms, talk to a medical professional. Are you ready to control alcohol instead of letting it control you? We can help. Call us today at 844-903-2111.