Blood alcohol content, or BAC, is an important number that helps determine the level of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. The higher the BAC, the more alcohol is likely to have an impact on everything from coordination and balance to emotions and brain function.
Controlling your alcohol intake and watching your BAC levels can help prevent harm both to yourself and to others. To make tracking your BAC levels easier, consider using our BAC calculator below. A BAC calculator will help do the math for you, providing an estimate of your current blood alcohol content.
1. Number of Drinks:
2. What Are You Drinking?
reduced alc. beer 12oz
3.Your Weight: (lbs)
4. How Long Have You Been Drinking?
Your Blood Alcohol Content* (BAC %):
How is BAC Determined?
Alcohol impacts your BAC in different ways, and can even impact various people differently. The most common way BAC is raised is through the number of drinks that a person consumes, on top of how many drinks you have and how quickly each drink is consumed in relation to each other.
Body weight can also play a role in determining BAC, as someone who weighs more has a higher water volume than someone who weighs less. This difference results in smaller people experiencing a greater impact from the same amount of alcohol ingested by larger people. Gender also impacts BAC, as women typically have a lower water volume in their bodies than men. To a lesser extent, recent food consumption, or the lack of food consumption, may also impact BAC.
How BAC Impacts the Body
Even a small amount of alcohol can impact both coordination and judgment when drinking, with each drink increasing your overall impairment. Too much alcohol and your body will ultimately shut down, resulting in organ failure and even death. It’s important to understand that individuals may react differently to alcohol intoxication at each BAC level. In general, they may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms and behaviors.
At this level, the muscles start to relax. Inhibitions are also reduced, with many individuals experiencing a heightening of whatever mood they may have been in before they started drinking, whether that be a positive or a negative state of mind.
Once you reach this level, you may start experiencing a mild euphoria. Your body temperature starts to feel elevated and your inhibitions become even more relaxed, along with an even greater exaggeration of mood.
This is the legal BAC limit in many states, and typically for good reason. At this point you may think you’re not intoxicated, but your speech has started to slur, your ability to walk and stand starts to become more difficult and your reaction times slow. At this level of intoxication, motor skills are largely impacted and driving a car becomes dangerous (though for many, even at lower levels you should not be behind the wheel of a vehicle).
At this level, your intoxication is more apparent both to yourselves and to those around you. Your judgement, memory, motor skills and balance are all reduced, and you start to forget just how many drinks you’ve had. Depending on the individual, you may become loud or belligerent. Men begin to experience difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection at this level.
Once above .13, feelings of euphoria start to drop, and feelings of sickness, dizziness, and difficulty controlling the body take over. Each of the negative effects of drinking at lower alcohol concentrations are markedly more severe. At this point you may also start to black out.
.20 – .30 BAC
Alcohol sickness starts at this level, often resulting in vomiting. When this intoxicated, gag reflex is severely impacted, dramatically increasing the risks of choking on your own vomit. Blackouts are more frequent, and your memory starts to blackout as well. Pain sensors are dampened, which means that if you are injured at this point, you may not know it or feel the pain from it. This also reduces the chances you’ll go to get help.
Once at .35, your blood alcohol level is similar to the effects of being under anesthesia. Your brain function is reduced, which also reduces your respiratory rate, causing you to potentially stop breathing.
If you have not stopped breathing by this point, your body will most likely enter a coma state. Your heart rate will slow, and your chances of survival are very low.
Along with the physical consequences listed above, various potential social, financial and legal consequences may also occur with intoxication. For example, driving while intoxicated can not only injure you, but can also injure innocent people around you. In fact, an estimated 30 people die every day in the United States due to alcohol-related traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even if you survive the accident, or not even cause an accident at all, you may still be faced with fines and jail time for driving under the influence (DUI). Once you’re allowed to drive again, you may see additional penalties in the form of increased insurance rates and difficulty finding companies that will take the risk to insure you.
Please Don’t Drink and Drive
All states have passed a .08 per se law. the final one took effect in august of 2005.
* Calculations are estimates only and not to be relied upon for real life situations. This is because there are so many subtle differences, such as varying metabolic rates sex, medications being taken, how frequent drinks were taken, and other health issues. Therefore, this calculator should be used for general purpose information only.
Additional BAC details are available from the NHTSA
Disclaimer: This is in no way designed to be a guideline for how much you can legally drink! POSTING BY ATLANTA ANGER MANAGEMENT is a Public Service Announcement. Use at your own risk. Best to not drink alcohol. If drinking use a Designated Driver or take a TAXI home.
ATLANTA ANGER MANAGEMENT does not offer DUI classes. This is a Public Service Posting. Our clients often have Anger incidences while drinking and get arrested for Disorderly Conduct, Simple Battery, Battery, Assault, Simple Assault and Affray. Our clients have wondered how alcohol affects their brains and behaviors. Here is the answer.
Director Richard Taylor BS, CAMF
Certified Anger Management Facilitator
Diplomate American Association Anger Management Providers
#1 Certified Anderson and Anderson™ Anger Management Provider
The Best Of The Best In Anger Management & Emotional Intelligence