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How many drinks does it take to get drunk?

You know you should not drink and drive, but does that mean you cannot even have just one drink when you are out? After all, there is no way one cup of booze could impair you enough to get a DUI, right?

Unfortunately, there is no cut-and-dry answer. Due to numerous factors that affect the metabolism of alcohol, no magic number of drinks exists as the cut-off point. 

Type of alcoholic beverage

One factor is the type of alcohol. One glass equals a variety of measurements depending on the alcohol content of the drink. For example, a 12-ounce can of beer, 5-ounce glass of wine and 1.5-ounce shot of spirits (80 proof) all contain the same amount of alcohol, shares the National Consumer League. Pay attention to how many servings you consume and the speed at which you ingest them. Slowing down your intake is best.

Other substances in your body

Whether or not you have eaten before or during your drinking spree affects your rate of metabolism. Drinking on an empty stomach means you will get drunk faster. Carbonation and dehydration increase alcohol absorption, and energy drinks mask the side effects of intoxication. Combining prescription or even over-the-counter medication with alcohol also affects your level of impairment.

Personal characteristics

Even if you eliminate the other factors, every person's body is different and therefore reacts differently to alcohol. The following characteristics (among others) influence how quickly you will get drunk:

  • Age: The older you are, the likelier you are to become intoxicated quickly.
  • Genetics: If alcoholism runs in the family, alcohol may have a greater impact on you.
  • Emotional state: Sickness, fatigue and depression speed up impairment.

The only way to stay 100 percent sober is to not drink at all. However, getting to know your body, making smart consumption choices and having a designated driver all help to avoid a DUI.

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