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Know Your Limit - Alcohol

A key component of a healthy relationship with alcohol is to experience its effects without placing yourself or others at increased risk for negative outcomes. Alcohol takes time to enter your bloodstream, so pacing your drinks is very important. 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 Estimator can help you approximate how many standard drinks it takes to reach .06% and remain in the 'social zone.' Notice how biological sex, weight, and time spent drinking 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 increasing 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
Loss of inhibition – more outgoing, talkative, and social
.06%-.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
.10%-.20%  Upper 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
Nausea and Vomiting
.20%-.30%  Danger Zone Memory blackout
Loss of understanding, comprehension
Further dulling of sensations
Uncontrolled Vomiting
Stupor – no sense or sensibility
Extreme sluggishness
Inability to stand or sit uprightUnconscious/passed out/unresponsive
.30% -.40%  Extreme 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%  Extreme Danger Zone Unconsciousness or coma
Death likely
Unconscious/passed out/unresponsive
Slow or irregular breathing
Bluish, cold or clammy skin
Slowed heart rate