How Long Does Alcohol Stay In The Body?

One question that provides the most conflicting information is “How long does alcohol stay in the body?” Why does this question have so many different answers? Why isn’t there just one answer across the board that everyone can agree on?

Well, the issue is that it depends on what you consider alcohol staying in the body. Let’s break it down –

how long does alcohol stay in the body

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in the Bloodstream?

Once alcohol enters your bloodstream, your body metabolizes it at a rate of 20 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) per hour. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 40 mg/dL, it will take two hours to metabolize the alcohol.

If alcohol has such a short lifespan in our bloodstream, why do we feel bad for so long after drinking it?

Factors That Affect How Long We Feel the Effects of Alcohol

The reason that an answer to how long does alcohol stay in the body is difficult because the answer is not as simple as when does it clear our bloodstream. We continue to feel the effects of alcohol long after our body has cleared it from the bloodstream. Factors that influence how long we feel the effects of alcohol in our body include:

  • gender
  • age
  • weight
  • drinking alcohol on an empty stomach
  • altitude
  • size/type of drink
  • medications
  • other medical conditions
  • how quickly you drink, i.e. binge drinking
  • fatigue, stress, or mood

Learn More

This Naked Mind dives into the science behind why we drink and what it does to our body. Start reading for free right now!

The Effects of Alcohol Stay In Our Body Much Longer

When we are pondering how long alcohol can stay in the body, we can not just focus on how long it takes for alcohol to clear our bloodstream. That is because alcohol does not simply enter our bloodstream and leave. Instead, it enters our bloodstream and disrupts almost every system in our body. From our digestive tracts to the chemicals in our brain, alcohol wreaks havoc on them all. While alcohol itself may physically clear our system within 72 hours, it can take much longer to recover from the disruption it has caused to our body at every other level.

10 Days

When looking at all the systems within our body that alcohol touches and disrupts – it can take up to 10 days for those systems to regain homeostasis. This can be concerning because few people drink less often than every 10 days. So even those who are “occasional” or “weekend drinkers” are living in a perpetual cycle of withdrawals and chaos because our bodies haven’t recovered from the last drinking episode and we’re disrupting the entire system again.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in the Body?

Tune in to learn more about drinking and how it disrupts our health –

Take A Break

If you’d like to give your body a chance to truly rest and recover, or you’re curious about what you might feel like if you break the weekend drinking cycle – take a break with us! See what a 30-day break from alcohol can do for you! Download this free e-book on taking a break from alcohol and join us in our free Alcohol Experiment!