What Does it Feel Like to be Drunk?
Alcohol is the most widely abused drug in the world. In America, an estimated 86% of people over the age of 18 have consumed alcohol at some point in their lives. Also in the United States, the consumption of alcohol is seen as common, even trendy, and because it is so socially acceptable, addiction can be overlooked. When someone has consumed too much alcohol, we call it being drunk. The technical definition of drunkenness is being “affected by alcohol to the extent of losing control of one’s faculties or behavior.”
Of course, there are different levels of drunkenness and knowing the difference between an innocent night out with friends and the dangers of addiction is essential when consuming this drug.
Levels of Drunk
Many people separate drinking into levels or “stages” of drunkenness. While there’s no standardized level that everyone goes off of, there is a way to measure it through blood alcohol percentage (BAC). This is what law enforcement and medical workers use to determine exactly how intoxicated an individual is.
Levels of BAC are:
- Below .06 – This is a very low level of intoxication and may not have any effect on an individual. If anything, a person may feel sleepy or relaxed.
- Between .07-.09 – This level indicates that a person is now legally drunk. Often associated with being “tipsy,” a person at this level will feel relaxed, more talkative, and less inhibited.
- Between .09-.15 – Past the official legally drunk level, an individual at this stage often starts slurring words and could even begin to feel sick.
- Between .16-.30 – Although a wide range, this level of drunk will make a person highly impaired. Symptoms include poor judgment, bad memory, vomiting, and blacking out.
- Between .30-.39 – This range likely means an individual has alcohol poisoning, which means there’s too much alcohol in your blood and parts of the brain shut down.
- Between .40-.50 – At a level this high an individual is at risk of a coma, unconsciousness, dropping body temperatures, and changes in heart rate.
- Over .50 – Death is very likely at this level if medical help is not called.
Symptoms of Being Drunk and Overdrinking
Like levels of BAC, the symptoms of overdrinking vary. Some symptoms are common across all levels, while more severe effects appear at a higher level of intoxication. In addition, everyone is affected differently by alcohol, and factors such as age, past drinking history, body size, gender, other drug use, and food intake all play a role in how quickly a person gets drunk.
Here are some common symptoms of drunkenness and overdrinking:
- Coordination loss
- Poor or slow judgment
- Slowed heart rate
- More talkative
- Shorter attention span
- Slowed breathing
- Loss of balance
- Vision issues
- Slow reaction times
- Poor short-term memory
- Blacking out
- Nausea and vomiting
- Possible death
Dangers of Being Drunk
It’s no secret that people like to drink in the United States. It can start as young as high school, with parties, increase with events in college, and continues into adulthood with alcoholic drinks regularly provided at most social gatherings. Even when used at the most responsible level, there are dangers of being drunk and being surrounded by other intoxicated people.
The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics reports that there are 95,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States annually. These include auto accidents, among other unthinkable situations. In addition to death, there are countless other dangers.
Dangers from being drunk:
- Experiencing any of the negative symptoms related to drunkenness
- Increased risk-taking behaviors such as stealing, fighting, driving while intoxicated or anonymous sex
- Lowered inhibitions
- The risk of becoming addicted
Education surrounding addiction, specifically Alcoholism, is an ongoing fight around the world. Due to its commonality and acceptability, there are still many people who don’t understand the difference between habitual use and serious drug addiction. Additionally, the stigma that Alcoholics are “bad people” and should “just stop drinking,” unfortunately is still present.
For individuals with Alcoholism, their actual brain is addicted to the drug. Plus the more someone drinks, the more they need to feel the desired effects like euphoria and pleasure, increasing their chances of alcohol poisoning or death. Like drinking, Alcohol Use Disorder is common, and NSDUH estimates that 14.5 million people over the age of 12 have had the disorder.
When to Seek Help
If you’re new to drinking and feeling drunk, it’s important to know information surrounding alcohol and its effects. Being educated can not only help you enjoy responsibly but possibly save an individual’s life or save them from a life of addiction.
Here are symptoms to look out for that may indicate you or a loved one would benefit from professional treatment for Alcoholism:
- Not being able to limit the amount you drink
- Having the desire to cut down on drinking but being unsuccessful in your attempts
- Spending most of your time either drinking, figuring out how to get alcohol, or recovering from drinking
- Continuing to drink even when its causing problems at work, school, or socially
- Having withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink, or drinking to avoid withdrawal symptoms
Getting drunk and losing control can be scary, but treatment is available. If you have questions or are ready to start your recovery journey, we’re here to help. Contact our skilled addiction and mental health professionals at Emerge Healing Center to learn more about our treatment and program options.