Science reveals what happens to your body and brain when you get drunk

Alcohol consumption has been a part of human civilisation for thousands of years. But while we have a general understanding of alcohol’s effects — most people can recognise when one more drink is one too many — the specifics of what happens to your body as you get drunk are fairly complicated.

We’ve broken down some of the research on alcohol consumption to show what happens to your body and brain as you start (and continue) drinking.

When trying to calculate how much you’ve had to drink, it’s important to remember that a standard drink, as defined by researchers, is a 1.5 ounce shot of spirits (80-proof, which includes most standard whiskeys, gins, vodkas, tequilas, and rums), a 5 ounce glass of wine (about 12% alcohol by volume), or a 12 ounce beer (about 5% alcohol by volume). That means a pint of one of our favourite IPAS may be closer to two standard drinks.

One drink affects people differently depending on their sex, size, and other factors, so we used blood-alcohol content (BAC) as our metric in the chart below. Here’s what happens as the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream increases:

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