Blood Alcohol Content Effects
What is Blood Alcohol Content?
Blood alcohol content, or BAC for short, indicates the concentration of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. It is expressed as a percentage. It is often calculated through the use of breathalyzers, but can also be determined with a blood test. Most often it is law enforcement who uses a breathing device to gauge whether someone is drinking over the legal limit. If someone ends up drunk in the emergency room, the blood alcohol content is discovered through a blood test.
In the U.S., .08 is commonly used as the legal driving limit due to crash likelihood. The possibility of a crash occurring begins to rise exponentially after this level is reached. However, many other countries have lower limits set for legal driving. .05% or lower is common, and some countries, such as Brazil, are zero tolerance. That is, it is illegal to drive with any blood alcohol content whatsoever.
Alcohol is depleted from the blood through evaporation, excretion, and metabolism. Moreover, through sweat, urine, and digestive processes. The stomach processes alcohol slower than the intestines, with greater food consumption equal to slower processing.
Various Effects by Blood Alcohol Content
At this low percentage, generally no effects of intoxication are noticeable. However, special tests may be able to detect some very minor impairment.
At this level, the drinker may feel happy or elated. They tend to be more talkative and social. There may be a subtle decrease in inhibition.
From an impaired perspective, the ability to concentrate may be affected.
Feelings may be dampened, with some mild desensitization. Elated mood continues, as does an increase is disinhibition. Talkativeness expands to increasingly extroverted behavior.
The ability to reason is impaired, as is peripheral vision and depth perception. Hence the term “visually impaired”. Pain sensitivity is reduced.
BAC .1 – .19
Mood wise, the person may become rowdy and over-emotive. Nausea and vomiting may occur, but just the former is most likely.
Impairments include slowed reflexes and reaction time, and reduced motor and verbal skills. This is when slurred speech and staggering may occur. In men, erectile dysfunction is s distinct possibility.
BAC .2 – .29
When blood alcohol reaches over .2%, nausea and vomiting become much more common. Boisterousness and elated feelings slip into mood swings, anger, and despair. Sensation is impaired and cognitive skills begin to fail.
Also, staggering leads to severely impacted motor skills. Eventually, there may be memory loss (blackout) or unconsciousness.
BAC .3 – .39
A BAC of .3 indicates that stupor is probably in full effect. The central nervous system is compromised, including respiration and heart rate. Consciousness may come and go. Cognitive skills are non-existent. Bladder function may be impaired. There is a possibility of death. albeit low.
BAC .4 – .49
The central nervous system is further depressed, including respiration and heart rate. Consciousness is unlikely. Coma and/or death are very possible.
BAC .5 and Over
At this point, the person has a very high risk of dying from alcohol poisoning.
While survival beyond this is improbable. persons with a BAC greater than .9 have somehow lived to tell the tale.
If you or someone you know is an alcoholic, please seek help immediately.