Know Your Limit

A key component of a healthy relationship with alcohol is to experience its positive effects by drinking the least amount possible. Alcohol takes time to enter your bloodstream, so pacing your drinks is very important. By giving your body time and paying attention to how you're feeling can help you understand how intoxicated you are.

So, what is a safer amount for you?

If you choose to drink, we recommend gradually reaching a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of no more than .06%. As the chart below indicates, a BAC between .01% and .06% is typically associated with feeling 'buzzed' or 'tipsy.' Staying within this range helps to reduce the change of negative outcomes associated with alcohol consumption from occurring.

BAC calculator can help you estimate how many drinks it takes to reach .06 and remain in the 'social zone.' Notice how sex, weight, and drinking speed all affect a person's BAC as well.

Progressive Effects of Alcohol

The chart below outlines both the typical inward experiences and the outward behaviors associated with varying levels of alcohol in a person's bloodstream. Because there are numerous factors that can influence how a person reacts to and experiences the effects of alcohol, this chart is best viewed as a guide. If a person is tolerant of alcohol, they might feel differently and present themselves differently than these guidelines suggest.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Inward Experience Outward Behaviors
.01%-.06%  Social Zone Slight euphoria
Sense of relaxation
Feel ‘tipsy’
Lower inhibitions
Thought process slowed
Lowered alertness
Judgment and caution reduced
Coordination slightly impaired
Joyous
Relaxed
Loss of inhibition – more outgoing, talkative, social
.07%-.10%  Risky Zone Dulled sensations
Further lowering of inhibitions
Impaired sexual pleasure
Impaired depth/distance perception
Judgment and coordination increasingly impaired
Slowed reflexes
Reasoning impaired
Risk-taking increases
Extroversion increases: even more talkative, louder, boisterous
.11%-.20%  Risky Zone Feeling fatigued
Euphoria diminishes

Severely impaired judgment and perception
Severely impaired gross motor coordination

Staggering, stumbling
Slurred speech
Slowed reaction time
Less/no visible pain response
Emotional swings or over-expression of emotions, possibly anxious or uneasy
.21%-.29%  Danger Zone Memory blackout
Loss of understanding, comprehension
Further dulling of sensations
Vomiting
Stupor – no sense or sensibility
Extreme sluggishness
Inability to stand or sit upright

Unconscious/passed out/unresponsive

.30% -.39%  Danger Zone Unconsciousness or coma
Death possible
Unconscious/passed out/unresponsive
Slow or irregular breathing
Bluish, cold or clammy skin
Slowed heart rate
Loss of bladder function
>.40%  Danger Zone Unconsciousness or coma
Death likely
Unconscious/passed out/unresponsive
Slow or irregular breathing
Bluish, cold or clammy skin
Slowed heart rate