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Jesusfreak97
03-14-2012, 06:04 AM
I know this may sound like a simple question but I feel awkard asking my parents and teachers. How many beers would it take for someone to get totally drunk?

One of my charicters (his name is Todd) has an alcohol issue. I either don't give him enough that he would be drunk or I give him so much that he would die of alcohol poisioning! O.o

Thanks guys! :)

BrumBall
03-14-2012, 06:21 AM
What sort of size, weight, age is he? How long has he been a drinker?

Drachen Jager
03-14-2012, 06:45 AM
Presuming he's a fairly normal-sized guy, he metabolizes 1-1.5 drinks per hour.

Each drink can be a glass of wine, bottle of beer, or a shot of liquor. All have about the same amount of alcohol.

Depending on weight and his experience with alcohol it would take a healthy non-drinking man of about 180 pounds six drinks in an hour or so to get pretty drunk, but not roaring, 10-12 to be roaring drunk. Keep in mind that each hour he's metabolizing alcohol, so you can add an extra drink per hour that he's drinking to bring him to that level. If he's a regular heavy drinker you can add 25-50% on top of that.

Basically a 12 pack of beer, a few bottles of wine, or a good sized bottle of liquor over a few hours will get an adult male pissed drunk. If he's an experienced alcoholic he may go for the hard clear stuff.

robjvargas
03-14-2012, 07:09 AM
I have a slight disagreement with Drachen Jager. Far from total, though.

People respond differently to alcohol. I, who drinks once in a Blue Moon, get initially upbeat, then morose, and one drink (12 oz beer, glass of wine, shot of the heavy stuff, so on) can send me into that cycle.

But realize that states (in the USA, at least) have blood alcohol level as a determinant of drunk because there is a concrete change in responsiveness and reflexes after as little as one drink per hour. That's why the legal definition has become .08 percent BAC.

NONE of this means that Drachen Jager is wrong, or incorrect. It means that there is a scientific basis for "drunk", and a social one. The two don't always match.

Chris P
03-14-2012, 07:12 AM
Each person is different, of course, and 10-12 in an evening (say 7 pm to midnight) is to the high side of average for a regular drinker (meaning a frequent drinker, not "regular" as in "normal." A non-drinker would be throwing up or passed out long before 10 drinks). Therefore if Todd has an alcohol issue then this to slightly more is probably about right. An occasional drinker might have had all he can take with 4 or 5, and someone who does it all the time might be able to take 15 to 18. You occasionally hear people say they can take an entire 24 pack or two bottles of whiskey "and not even feel it, buddy" but these people are either exaggerating or spaced these out over most of a day (like 8 am to midnight). There's only so much a body can take, no matter how often someone drinks, although tolerance does go up in habitual drinkers. Some people throw up easily, some people never do.

Karen Junker
03-14-2012, 07:21 AM
Actually, tolerance may vary in habitual drinkers. A person's tolerance can change suddenly and someone who used to be able to drink 8-10 drinks might be quite drunk after 2-3.

I know this because I was a drug/alcohol caseworker for the state for several years--and it's taught in the entry level alcohol treatment classes given by the court system.

backslashbaby
03-14-2012, 07:22 AM
eta: crosspost :)

Yeah, I think Chris P sounds about right. Maybe more for your average person who drinks but not so often. I see those folks as drinking about 6-8 in a night, maybe. That's to get really drunk but not sick, etc.

It depends on too many things, though :) So it's just my opinion from experience myself and with lots of folks that Drachen sounds high and Chris may be a little low.

This experience doesn't really involve so many large folks, btw. My huge (tall) boyfriend could really toss them back, so definitely keep size in mind. (I can toss them back because of my alcoholic genes, so that's how you might see smaller folks with a very high tolerance.)

Anaximander
03-15-2012, 01:15 AM
For a rough idea, enter "Am I drunk?" into Wolfram|Alpha. The result: this nifty calculator (http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=am+i+drunk) based on average metabolic rates. Then you can use the table on this wiki article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_alcohol_content), (which looks relatively accurate from what I remember) to get the right effects. Bear in mind that these can vary hugely, so if your guy is a regular drinker, you can increase those numbers a fair way, possible even to about two thirds above what it says in that table. Notice how the table says that a BAC of over 0.5 causes death, and the bottom of the article describes several cases where individuals survived with BACs close to 1, or even above it - it's rare, but it happens.

roseangel
03-15-2012, 01:46 AM
Also, you might want to see about catching any mythbusters episodes dealing with alcohol consumption.

EarlyBird
03-15-2012, 01:53 AM
If your MC has an alcohol issue, then a 6-pack won't be enough. Better make it an even dozen.

From a gal who grew up with an alcoholic family. :e2drunk:

Mark G
03-15-2012, 07:13 AM
"What Anaximander said."

Wikipedia is great:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_alcohol_content
that page has plenty of nice charts on effects.

Here's a calculator:
http://www.ou.edu/oupd/bac.htm
...in case wikipedia didn't answer everything.

boron
03-15-2012, 02:02 PM
A drunk person who "needs assistance in walking" (http://www.indiana.edu/~adic/effects.html) or "falls asleep and you can hardly wake him up" probably has the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than 0.25 g alcohol/100 mL blood.

To reach 0.25 BAC, a 160 lbs (73 kg) person would need to drink about 11 "standard drinks" (11 x 12 oz 5% beer, or 11 x 5 oz 12% wine, or 11 x 1.5 oz 40% spirit) within one hour on an empty stomach.

But 11 beers in one hour is not realistic, so let's say in 4 hours, he would need 17 beers (or wines or spirits), to reach 0.25 BAC, because up to two drink per hour (6 drinks in 3 hours after the first hour) may be eliminated in a chronic alcoholic.

For a chronic alcoholic to get "totally drunk," 0.25 BAC is not much, so he can have 20 drinks in 4 hours to reach 0.3 BAC.

Note that 20 drinks in 20 hours (1 drink per hour) would not likely rise BAC even to 0.08 (the legal drinking driving limit in the U.S.).

Death due to alcohol poisoning may occur at greatly different BACs:

- A 18 years old woman died after heavy drinking - her BAC at the time of death was 0.31 BAC (http://books.google.si/books?id=y12BJSe1xyEC&pg=PA268&lpg=PA268&dq=bac+0.31+death&source=bl&ots=8xRpeOsBKg&sig=_xE0QfAIsVV7hqYPK-jGxsNrn34&hl=en&sa=X&ei=mrlhT4DxHIfR4QSznaXqBw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false) (her maximal BAC was probably higher).
- A 50 years old man was caught "drunk driving" with BAC 1.6 (http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2010/12/24/drunkest-driver-in-sa-arrested). Someone survived after 1.5 (http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/144/3/641). One woman survived after 1.33.

Priene
03-15-2012, 02:34 PM
I used to be tipsy on three pints of beer, pretty drunk on five and utterly rat-arsed on seven or more.

Mr Flibble
03-15-2012, 04:07 PM
I used to be tipsy on three pints of beer, pretty drunk on five and utterly rat-arsed on seven or more.

The phrase one over the eight comes from the supposed notion that 8 drinks is what a moderate man can safely consume without being rat-arsed. One over, is one drink too many. (Though beer was weaker then!)

A lot does depend on the habits/metabolism of the drinker. I know a guy who (and I've witnessed this) drink upwards of 15 pints in three hours and you can't even tell from his manner. (from his breath, yes. Bit he acts totally sober. My husband once witnessed him pass a breathalyser after a bottle of vodka. Not spread out over a day either. But then, you never ever see him without a drink in his hand. Amazingly his liver has perfect function according to all his doctor's tests). Others fall over after three.

Bufty
03-15-2012, 04:11 PM
There is no fixed amount anyone needs to drink to become drunk. It's varies from individual to individual.

It depends what you mean when you say your character has an 'alcohol issue'.

Does it mean he drinks to get drunk as fast as he can every time he goes out for a drink, does he get violent when he drinks, or is it that he can't resist the urge to drink.

I assume you simply want to have the episodes believable and that's up to you - your character can get tipsy or drunk on whatever you decide puts him in that condition.

All you have to avoid is giving him unrealistic quantities that would obviously kill anybody who took them.

A couple of pints could easily loosen his tongue. A couple more may make him loud and brash and a few more could easily send him swinging at the guy who accidentally bumped into him or have him throwing up on the pavement.

Give him spirits and mix up his drinks and he'll be out fast.

Just don't go overboard or it will be silly.

Priene
03-15-2012, 04:11 PM
The phrase one over the eight comes from the supposed notion that 8 drinks is what a moderate man can safely consume without being rat-arsed. One over, is one drink too many.

Are you calling me a wuss?

quicklime
03-15-2012, 04:16 PM
it varies. I've seen functional alcoholics (yes, I am aware the term is an oxymoron) who are barely noticeable with a 6-pack, or more, in them. I can say from personal experience if I haven't drank in a week, a single glass of wine starts to get me tipsy or even pretty damn spun, but if I've had an "active" couple weeks, like around the holidays, I can take down a bottle (4 glasses) with about the same effect.

if your guy is say 200 lbs, longstanding alcoholic, and drinking shitty light beer, he can probably hold a six-pack without any trouble at all. Safe to drive? No, but probably able to converse normally and not worry about finding a nice spot to throw up....

Undercover
03-15-2012, 04:22 PM
Karen brought up a good point about the tolerance levels. My husband is a heavy drinker and he usually drinks a 12-pack a night and doesn't get "drunk" per say. It all depends on the "empty stomach" thing too as another said and how long and how fast or slow someone is drinking too. The weight also depends.

My husband can get really tipsy on just 4 or 5 beers if he drinks them fast and on an empty stomach and he's about 220 and in his thirties. But he can drink from as early as 11 in the morning to 12 at night and go to bed just feeling a little buzzed.

You have to take how much and how long and for how long a span time in a week, month, and years too. So like Backslashbaby said, it all depends on too many things.

shaldna
03-15-2012, 05:20 PM
the only real answer to this is that everyone is different.

I know bantam weight little strings of boys who can drink most folk under the table, and equally I know average sized people for whom two drinks is enough.

It depends on their size, weight, if they've eaten, what they are drinking, how used to alcohol they are.

Snick
03-15-2012, 06:17 PM
This thread makes me wish that I was in academia where I could devise a controlled experiment in drunkenness. By selecting people randomly and by selecting people of defined histories I could determine how much it would take in certain conditions. I suspect that someone has already had a great time doing something like that, but the funding may have run out before they got enough people drunk enough. The makers of alcoholic beverages probably would like to do similar experiments.

boron
03-15-2012, 06:39 PM
Snick, a lot of controlled studies has been done already. They studied how carbonation, sugar content, alcohol percent, type of food eaten before drinking, speed of drinking, exercise, medications, sex, weight, drinking history, race...and even expectation about the alcohol effect affects someone's perception of alcohol's effect, behavior and blood alcohol concentration.

Priene
03-15-2012, 06:58 PM
This thread makes me wish that I was in academia where I could devise a controlled experiment in drunkenness.

My experience in academia was pretty much that.

backslashbaby
03-15-2012, 08:23 PM
^^^ :D :D

With the 'alcoholic genes' thing, I was serious. What happens when I drink is that I can hold my liquor amazingly well, but then I get tremendously drunk in one big whoosh if I've kept on going at what feels like a nice rate. There are lots of studies on how metabolism can be affected by whether there is a family history of alcoholism. My experiences really did turn out to be explained by what those studies found.

If I stop drinking at a predefined number of drinks, I can hold my liquor like nobody's business. Past the number, and I'm guaranteed to be quite sloppy, almost no matter how many hours have passed. It's not a steady rate of metabolism.

That probably happens by individual differences, too, I'd assume, but the only literature I've read on it was about the idea of genetics playing a role.

Snick
03-15-2012, 09:50 PM
Snick, a lot of controlled studies has been done already. They studied how carbonation, sugar content, alcohol percent, type of food eaten before drinking, speed of drinking, exercise, medications, sex, weight, drinking history, race...and even expectation about the alcohol effect affects someone's perception of alcohol's effect, behavior and blood alcohol concentration.

I expected as much, but it would still be an ineresting way to get paid to get drunk.

Snick
03-15-2012, 09:52 PM
My experience in academia was pretty much that.

I preferred it as an uncontrolled experiment.

Chasing the Horizon
03-17-2012, 05:33 AM
One guy I dated got totally shit-faced off ONE DRINK. Not even a slight exaggeration. It was a normal drink too (like a glass of wine)!

Even when I was almost never drinking, it still took me 10 drinks to get as drunk as he did off one. And I'm female, so statistically it should've worked the other way around. But rules are made to be broken. Or maybe it's because I'm German and Irish. :D

So yeah, somewhere between 1 drink and 20 should do it in your story. in other words, however many you feel like, lol.

This is what makes it so difficult to say how many drinks are okay for a person to have. And just because you can handle one substance doesn't mean you can handle another. The same ex who couldn't handle a glass of wine could smoke a blunt and be practically sober, where as if I have two hits of pot I'm totally gone.