How to Improve Your Alcohol Tolerance
Alcoholic beverages are offered in a variety of personal and professional situations- cocktail parties, happy hours, weddings, family dinners, or even dinner meetings. Having a drink or two can break the ice or relax a tense atmosphere in many instances. Learning to partake of alcohol sensibly is a good life skill for those who choose to drink. However, if you find yourself impaired after only one drink, you may want to consider taking some steps to gradually be able to "hold your liquor". However, remember this is not to go overboard, but to pace yourself and be able to handle a moderate intake of alcohol.
Increasing Alcohol Consumption Responsibly
Know the difference between alcohol tolerance and dependence.Although there is a relationship between alcohol tolerance and dependence, they are not the same thing. A person can increase their alcohol tolerance without becoming dependent, though having too high an alcohol tolerance likely means you are also dependent.
- Tolerance means that your body adapts to the consumption of a specific amount of alcohol, even in amounts such as one beer or one glass of wine.
- Dependence means that you consistently and compulsively consume alcohol and need it to function, a dangerous state you want to avoid.If your alcohol tolerance becomes too high, it's likely a sign that you're dependent, which can be dangerous not only for you, but also the people around you.
Understand that different types of drinks are different.Not all alcoholic drinks are equal in alcohol strength, and even the type of drink may be handled differently by different individuals.
- In general, the smaller the typical serving size, the stronger the drink. A shot of whiskey can have as much alcohol as an entire light beer.
- In many countries, the alcohol content is labelled on the container. The higher the content, the higher the effect.
- Sweet fruity drinks and/or cocktails can be very difficult to judge on alcoholic content--especially for a novice. Since these can vary widely based on the bartender, there is no one standard.
- Not all types of drinks are standardized. A typical lager-style beer is usually about 5% alcohol, but some craft beers are 20% or more.
- Different drinks may produce different effects. Be aware that while inebriation has common effects, different types of drinks may cause slightly different effects. For example, a person may be much more mellow drinking wine than after having tequila.
Determine your current alcohol tolerance.Before you start to increase your consumption, estimate what your current tolerance is. This will help you figure out the safest way to consume more alcohol.
- Have one drink, then perhaps another in a safe environment with responsible drinkers. Do not put yourself in a situation where impairment is inherently dangerous, or with people who are irresponsible and are likely to push you past your comfort zone.
- If you do not normally consume alcohol, or have one or two drinks once a week, your tolerance will be comparatively low. If you consume two drinks five days a week, your tolerance will be accordingly higher.
Gradually consume more alcohol in a safe and responsible way.The easiest way to increase your tolerance for alcohol is to drink more of it. You’ll want to do this without harming yourself- or anyone else. It is important to realize that alcohol consumption is never risk-free and that while you may not feel the effects of alcohol consumption, you may nevertheless be too impaired to function normally.
- Go slowly. For example, consume only one additional drink than you normally would. If you never drink, start with one, or even a half of, alcoholic beverage. If you usually have one glass of wine or one spirit, have one and a half or two drinks. This will ensure that you do not consume too much alcohol as you increase your tolerance.
- Consider having one glass of water in between drinks to help yourself consume drinks slowly.
- Eat while drinking. Consuming food while drinking helps keep the alcohol from having quite as strong an effect. Drinking on an empty stomach will cause much more inebriation than on a full one.
Stay within sensible drinking guidelines.Remember, you are increasing your tolerance and avoiding dependence. By consuming alcohol within sensible guidelines, you will run less risk of becoming dependent or harming yourself.
- Remember that your judgement will be impaired on alcohol--you can be drunk and not think you are. For this reason, it is often good to have a friend to keep tabs on your drinking, and help you to stay within the sensible guidelines for drinking.
- Alcohol units are based on the percentage alcohol in a beverage and the amount of alcohol consumed. One unit of alcohol is 10ml of pure alcohol.Since most alcohol beverages are not pure alcohol, the percentage of alcohol in the drink is a factor in the number of units.For reference, a bottle of wine has 9-10 units.
- For example, one pint of beer with a 4% alcohol volume 2.3 units.If you prefer spirits, such as scotch, a "single" scotch of 25ml has one unit.Or maybe you prefer wine, in which case, one 175ml glass has 2.3 units.
- The guidelines for sensible drinking recommend no more than 2-3 units of alcohol a day for women. This would be the equivalent of approximately one beer or glass of wine per day, or two to three single spirits.
- The guidelines for sensible drinking recommend no more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day for men. This would be the equivalent of approximately 1-2 beers or glasses of wine, or 3-4 spirits per day.
Know when to stop.As your alcohol tolerance increases, it may be difficult to figure out when you’ve had too much to drink. Making sure you know how much you’ve consumed will help you avoid getting drunk, alcohol poisoning, or possibly worse.
Have alcohol-free days every week.It’s a good idea to have at least two alcohol free days per week. This will keep you from becoming dependent on alcohol and help your body recover from previous consumption.
- If you find that you can’t go a day without alcohol consumption, this is a sign that you are dependent.If this is the case, seek professional help.
Know the dangers of alcohol consumption.Any time you consume an alcoholic beverage, you run the risk of harming your body. The only risk-free alcohol consumption is not drinking at all, and the more you drink, the greater your risk.
- Tolerance will not protect you from the dangers of alcohol.
- In the short term, alcohol consumption can cause the following health problems: weight gain, depression, skin problems, and memory loss.
- In the long term, alcohol consumption can cause the following health problems: high blood pressure, chronic liver disease, and breast cancer.
Maximizing Your Tolerance
Understand how different bodily factors affect tolerance.How a person tolerates alcohol is affected by several factors, some of which are manageable. Your gender, body type, weight, use of medication, food consumption, and fatigue are just a few examples of elements that influence your alcohol tolerance.
- Woman, who generally have more body fat and less water percentage in their blood, have a lower tolerance level than men. This is because they do not have as much water to dilute the alcohol in their blood.
Control manageable factors of alcohol tolerance.While you cannot control elements like your gender, if you want to increase your alcohol tolerance, controlling manageable factors such as weight, fatigue, hydration, and food consumption can help increase your tolerance.
Gain weight, particularly muscle mass.One simple way to increase your tolerance is by gaining weight. Generally, the more a body weighs, the more quickly it can absorb alcohol, making your level of tolerance higher.
- It's true that general body size affects tolerance, but muscle tissue absorbs alcohol much faster than fat.
- If you want to gain weight, remember to do so safely. Adding even 10 pounds to your weight will help increase your alcohol tolerance. But remember that just as alcohol consumption comes with risk factors, so does increased weight. In conjunction, for example, they can lead to high blood pressure.
Have a meal.If you have food in your stomach, alcohol will absorb less quickly, making the effects of alcohol less noticeable. Likewise, having nothing in your stomach will lower your tolerance.
- The size of the meal you have matters. For example, if you consume a larger meal, it will slow the absorption of alcohol into your blood, making your tolerance temporarily increase.
- The amount of time between food and alcohol consumption also affects your tolerance. For example, if you consume a large meal either just before or during alcohol consumption, your tolerance will be greater. If you have a smaller meal and wait to drink, your tolerance will be correspondingly lower.
- Remember that food only delays the absorption of alcohol into your system. You won’t necessarily be able to consume much more alcohol than you usually do, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and not go overboard.
Make sure you’re hydrated.Consuming alcoholic beverages when you’re dehydrated leads to decreased tolerance because there is less water in your blood to dilute the alcohol.
- For example, before you consume an alcoholic beverage, consider having a glass of water to make sure you are somewhat hydrated.
- Consider having a glass of water in between each drink. This will help you stay hydrated and ensure that you do not consume more than the sensible guidelines suggest.
Make sure you’re rested and healthy.If you’re fatigued and/ or ill, your body is less efficient at processing and eliminating alcohol.
- If you haven’t been sleeping or are fatigued from stress at work, consider having an alcohol free day. This will help your body recover and ensure you don’t consume too much alcohol.
- If you are ill and taking medications, know that they can interact with alcohol by increasing the effects of alcohol.
- If you are sick, consider having an alcohol free day. This will help your body recover, and ensure that you do not consume too much alcohol or experience any negative reactions from combining medication with alcohol.
Remember to follow the sensible guidelines for alcohol consumption.Even if you decide to increase your tolerance through controlling manageable factors such as weight, fatigue, illness, and food consumption, you still need to follow the sensible guidelines for alcohol consumption.
- Doing so will help ensure that you do not harm yourself, including becoming dependent on alcohol.
QuestionI have a hard time drinking strong spirits, it makes me feel like I'm about to throw up right after and I get gagging reflexes right after taking a shot. This wasn't the case before, what can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI had a bad experience once with strong spirits. What I did to be able to drink them again was dilute them massively for a bit, then as I slowly got more and more drunk I added more spirit to it and then by the end of the night I could shot spirits like there was no tomorrow.Thanks!
QuestionCan a hangover last a full day?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt really depends on the amount of alcohol you consumed and your general tolerance. It also depends on whether you were hydrated before you started, or whether you were hydrating throughout the night. Remember to hydrate yourself.Thanks!
QuestionLast Saturday night I drank 1 liter of straight vodka, and I was okay for the rest of the night, does that mean I am addicted to alcohol?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, it means you have a high tolerance for alcohol. When you start feeling a compulsion to drink even when you shouldn’t, then it can cause serious problems for you and your health.Thanks!
QuestionIs it true that blue-eyed people have a higher alcohol tolerance compared to others?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, it's not. There is some evidence to suggest a link between blue eyes and alcoholism, but that's it.Thanks!
- Sticking to one kind of alcoholic beverage during an event can make it easier to gauge how much alcohol you've consumed.
- Increasing your alcohol tolerance responsibly and safely is not something you can do overnight. Gradually increasingly your consumption and tolerance while staying within sensible drinking guidelines will take time and save you potential health risks.
- Never drink and drive.
- Binge drinking can severely damage your health or even be fatal.
- Increasing your alcohol tolerance can trigger an unexpected and sudden intolerance and/ or alcohol toxicity, which can be fatal.
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