As a counselor both in class and online alcohol awareness classes I always discuss how many alcoholic beverages and what blood alcohol concentration (BAC) each of my students had when they were arrested. It is important for people to realize how alcohol affects their mind and their body and to understand what is happening as they drink and continue to drink. Maintaining a conscious reminder of the how alcohol affects your body could mean the difference between life and death!

How You Get Drunk

As a person drinks the alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream without even being digested. As a person continues to drink, the percentage of alcohol in the bloodstream increases causing the person to feel the effects of alcohol.
When the alcohol reaches your brain it will affect the way you behave. Remember, alcohol affects each person differently so there is no set rule as to how much you can intake before becoming intoxicated.

The Body after 1-2 Drinks

The first areas alcohol affects are the outer regions of the cerebrum. You will start to notice an effect on your judgment and inhibitions. Obviously, alcohol relaxes inhibitions and alters judgment in a negative way. Your BAC after 1-2 drinks will be between .01%and .04%.

A Couple More and the Slow-Down Begins

After 3-4 drinks your decision-making ability is really slowing down. With a BAC of .05%-.08% (higher for lighter people) the higher motor skills and sensory judgment are being thrown for a loop.

This is usually where you might feel more talkative and relaxed as the alcohol moves deeper into the cerebrum. Despite feeling more alert and quicker, beware – you are intoxicated and your reasoning is being messed with! After four drinks many people are legally intoxicated and should not even consider getting behind the wheel.

Mumbling, Bumbling, Staggering, Slurring

After five drinks alcohol begins to have a profound impact on physical sensory items like hearing, sight, smell and speech. As the brain slows speech becomes slurred, the central nervous system is “numbed” by the booze and even simple tasks like walking become difficult. The alcohol has moved through the cerebrum and has entered the cerebellum.

While staggering around unable to speak clearly, the drunk may also feel a decreased sense of pain – at least until he falls and really hurts himself.

When Alcohol Becomes Lethal

Have 8-12 drinks and the entire cerebellum, as well as portions of the medulla, which controls involuntary functions, may be affected. Reflexes are severely depressed, body temperature may go down and circulation is impaired. You may even lose consciousness. Gross intoxication of all physical and mental faculties is evident. Your BAC after this many drinks may be .16 to .30.

More than 12 drinks with a BAC over .30 and you could very well expire. By this time most people are not in a position to drink anymore and probably are unconscious and will remain in a coma until the body has disposed of the enough alcohol so that the nerve centers controlling consciousness may begin to function again. It is important to note that in this condition are near the point of death and may die if left unattended.

You think You Can Drive?

Even after 1-2 drinks and a BAC of .04%-.04% the brain has been affected by alcohol and the chances of accidents definitely increases. At .04%-.07% you definitely are impaired and the chances of being involved in an auto accident double!

It is important to know that even if your BAC is below .08%, the legal limit, you still can be arrested for driving under the influence! Below .08% it is a judgment call on the part of the officer as some people are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol.
At .08%, the legal limit in the United States, you are intoxicated and your chances of being involved in an accident are six times greater. At .15% your chances of an accident increase 25 times!

Alcohol abuse is a serious problem. If you or someone you know is suffering from alcoholism I urge you to seek help. If you prefer to maintain complete anonymity there are online alcohol awareness classes available as well.

Author's Bio: 

Mike Miller is the Education Director at Online Alcohol Class, a website specializing on alcohol awareness classes and minor in possession classes. You can visit his site at