Alcohol tolerance is usually something that develops over time. While there are instances of metabolic tolerance, the majority of types of tolerance are developed through the experience of the person drinking alcohol.
The danger of alcohol tolerance is that your blood alcohol content level continues to rise and increase the dangers of overdose, even if you don’t feel the effects of alcohol.
The more alcohol intake you can handle, the more you can mask an alcohol problem. However, it is possible to lose your level of tolerance to alcohol, particularly if you quit drinking.
How Long It Takes To Lose Tolerance To Alcohol
In most cases, it can take anywhere from two to five weeks during a period of complete abstinence to lower your tolerance level. If you merely reduce your drinking, it will take longer.
How Long It Takes To Reverse Acute Tolerance
Acute tolerance occurs when heavy drinkers develop a tolerance to alcohol’s effects after one drink or over the course of a single episode of drinking.
People can develop acute tolerance to alcohol’s effects on motor control but not its effects on inhibitions.
Not much is known about the reversal of acute tolerance, but it stands to reason that the higher the tolerance, the longer it will take to reverse it.
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How Long It Takes To Change A Functional Tolerance
Functional tolerance describes the most basic kind of tolerance developed by most people who drink regularly over a period of time.
Many other factors, such as drinking habits, can influence functional tolerance. But it is possible to reverse even a high alcohol tolerance in about a month.
Common Ways To Lower A High Alcohol Tolerance
There are ways to lower high alcohol tolerance.
A reset is a recommended practice at some universities where students may feel their drinking is getting out of hand and creating health problems, mental health problems, and health risks.
Periods Of Abstinence
A period of abstinence is the most effective way to lower alcohol tolerance. You can try lowering your alcohol tolerance by drinking less, but this will take much longer to achieve wellness.
Periods of abstinence usually last about a month. You can do them for longer if you need to.
Non-Alcoholic Beer Or Drinks
There are ways to have a period of abstinence and still be social. You can drink non-alcoholic beverages.
Virgin drinks or mocktails are mixed drinks made without alcohol. Similarly, there are non-alcoholic brands of beer.
Tolerance Risks: Returning To Alcohol After A Break From Drinking
The point of taking a break from drinking is to evaluate your use of alcohol and assess whether some of those reasons led you to excessive drinking.
If you don’t use a period of abstinence wisely, you face risks when you return to drinking.
One risk is to try to drink as much as you did before abstinence. This could lead to severe impairment and even fatal overdose.
Another risk is that you could actually intensify alcohol dependence.
You could go again through the process of increasing amounts of alcohol until you are drinking at the level that you used to or worse.
Addiction Treatment Programs For Alcohol Abuse
If you can’t stop heavy drinking or binge drinking, then you need treatment for alcohol addiction. It takes more than a period of abstinence to stop an alcohol use disorder.
Sometimes, treatment means evidence-based therapy with a trained addiction counselor.
Other times, it means inpatient alcohol treatment and medical detox to help with alcohol withdrawal, followed by aftercare and a support group.
Find Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Services Near You
Wherever you are in the United States, there is a treatment center for alcohol abuse near you.
That is why AddictionResource.net offers a confidential service to help you find a treatment center in your area.
Call our helpline today so you or your loved one can get the support you need.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- American Psychological Association — Acute Tolerance to Alcohol in At-Risk Binge Drinkers
- Journal of Studies on Alcohol — Acute Tolerance to Alcohol Effects on Inhibitory and Activational Mechanisms of Behavioral Control
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Alcohol Alert — Alcohol and Tolerance
- The University of Toledo — Alcohol Tolerance
- University of Notre Dame — Taking a Break from Alcohol: Suggestions for 30 Days