Tipsy? Slightly drunk? According to the ACHA study, 40.8% or WCU students reported having 4 or fewer drinks last time they partied. Keeping to 1 standard drink an hour will allow you to feel buzzed. Not only that, but it allows you feel more of the positive effects of alcohol and less of the negative; such as feelings of relaxation and happiness rather than anger or sadness. Being buzzed means your BAC is between .01 and .06, and when you are buzzed you are less likely to get sick, do something you don’t remember, or be hung over the next day!
So what comes after buzzed? And what happens to your brain? And why do we feel the way we do? The more you drink, the more part of your brain are affected. So you feel a certain way because alcohol is affecting the different functions of your brain. Alcohol starts in the front of your brain where judgment is affected and works its way back to where balance, breathing, and heart rate are affected.Check out our image of the brain and coordinating descriptions below to see where that buzzed or drunk feeling come from!
- Judgment (.01-.03) – This is the Euphoric or buzzed stage, your inhibitions are affected. You begin to feel relaxed, more sociable, talkative, and self-confident.
- Social Intelligence (.03-.06) – This is when the Excitement starts, social intelligence and emotions are affected. You decrease Inhibitions, attention, and control; all with a lack of judgment.
- Coordination (.08-.09) – This is when you start to get confused, you are drunk and all judgment is gone. Your perception, memory, and comprehension are all impaired. Vision may start to blur and balance and coordination are impaired.
- Sensory coherence (.14-.17) – This is called “stupid drunk,” you experience dizziness, disorientation exaggerated emotional states, and slurred speech.
- Memory creation (starts at .20) – This is when people “black out”, your social intelligence, motor coordination, and sensory coherence are all gone. The next day you are unable to remember what happened, where you were, and why?
- Balance, breathing, heart rate (starts at .30) – This puts you at serious risk for coma and death; memory creation is completely gone and breathing rate, heart rate, and body temperature are lowered significantly.
Knowing how much and how fast you drink can really affect your BAC. But what does BAC mean to you? If you said Blood Alcohol Content (or Concentration) you are correct! But what does that really mean?
- Understanding BAC – A BAC of .01 means for every .01 part alcohol you have 1,000 parts blood.
- Know what you’re drinking! – keep in mind beer, wine, and liquor have different percentages of alcohol and different serving sizes! So depending on what you are drinking your BAC could be rising faster.
Beer –12 oz Wine – 5 oz Liquor – 1.5 oz
Understanding BAC and knowing what you are drinking can help you avoid negative consequences, but also understanding that weight, gender, metabolism, medication, and the amount of food in your stomach also affect your BAC! Remember if you are underage, any drinking is a violation of this law. This means if your BAC is just .01 you can still get cited for underage drinking.