Dr Knight said: "There's one key neurotransmitter called Gaba (Gamma-Aminobutryric Acid). Here's a look at a few characteristics that contribute to your alcohol tolerance: quicklist: 1 Likewise, a person given alcohol but not told their drink is spiked might appear less drunk, he said. Some might drink more than usual, and the combination of food and drink can make you more likely to get sick. Who you are and what you do alters the effects of alcohol has on your body. category: Handling Your Alcohol Consumption "Essentially what happens is you have that increase in that chemical Gaba and that reduction in communication in your brain cells. Over time, regular consumers of alcohol are able to drink more without feeling the effects. In fact, the delayed intoxication can be confusing. Are the Asians lightweights? text: No, not height. "You're not blocking the absorption, you're just delaying so you don't peak as quickly," said Slovis. Some ethnicities, including Asians, have a genetic mutation in the enzyme called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, which brings on rosy cheeks and a rapid heartbeat, even with a small amount of alcohol. quicklist: 5 Having zero tolerance is not thought to be practical because alcohol can be found in things like mouthwash and desserts. text: While perception doesn't affect how drunk you really are, it can affect how drunk you feel. This is how we use our arms and legs and our hands: how we make that decision to turn the wheel when we drive. Some experts say that many of us don't know our level of alcohol tolerance. "If you're in an environment where a lot of people drink, it's more common to find drinkers," said Fingerhood. You couldn't get "drunk" in five minutes. "We, in general, metabolize one drink an hour," said Dr. Corey Slovis, chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Imagine your body like a glass of water, he says. The process starts within minutes of your first sip. Drinking alcohol can make humans feel pretty good, at least in the short term. Alcohol affects the brains 'neurotransmitters', the chemicals in the brain which carry messages to other parts of the body and tell it what to do. A larger body mass index and a higher volume of plasma in the body contribute to the ability of larger people to consume more, many experts said. Men have more body water than women, which allow for wider distribution of alcohol throughout the body. url: Think you know your level of alcohol tolerance? 24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events. "This can increase the metabolism of alcohol in the liver. Forensic toxicologist Dr Hazel Torrance says that on average, it takes a person an hour to clear between 15mg and 18mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. title: Size url: Think you know how many drinks it'll take you to get tipsy? Nothing. If you're trying to kill yourself, seek help. Native Americans also metabolize alcohol much slower than many other ethnicities, said Slovis. "Many can't even drink to intoxication because they become flushed," Dr. Michael Fingerhood, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In the case of driving, you think you can make that corner, you think there is enough space between you and the car in front, and so on. category: Handling Your Alcohol Consumption category: Handling Your Alcohol Consumption "You get stimulated and might feel alert, but you're not reasoning any better and you don't have a quicker reaction time," said Slovis. You can maybe get buzzed, but that's it. Most, if not all alcoholics, progress through the three stages of alcoholism. text:Premenopausal women are more likely to get drunk faster than men who drink the same amount of alcohol, said Fingerhood. "A number of processes slow down. Too bad you've (probably) never tried the inhaled alcohol; a good experiment would be to see if you got drunk faster inhaling evaporated/atomized alcohol before/after the cholecystectomy to determine if your now rapid intoxication is related to dietary issues. You get a reduction in your executive function, so judgement, your decision making. Physical changes and changes in brain wiring as we age make it easier to feel the effects faster, said Martin. Then what your brain tells your muscles to do is also slower. "Older people can be snowed by alcohol amounts that hardly touched them when they were younger," said Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Eating a large meal before you drink slows down the effects of alcohol. quicklist: 2 Follow @BBCNewsbeat on Twitter and Radio1Newsbeat on YouTube. title: Perception url: Women are more prone to liver toxicity and all other complications from alcohol than men, said Martin. Body size and composition are obvious reasons for the difference. This is where the liver comes in. title: Age "In this case, it's very culturally dictated.". category: Handling Your Alcohol Consumption The larger you are, the more alcohol you are able to consume before you begin to feel tipsy. text: While tolerance takes time to build, older age can take it away. url: "The enzyme that metabolizes alcohol may be less abundant in some groups," said Slovis. "Stress can also affect how quickly you get drunk as when you are more stressed you get an influx of different hormones in the body including the stress hormone cortisol. posted by porpoise at 4:02 PM on February 28, 2007 Muscle has more water than fat, so alcohol will be diluted more in a person with more muscle tissue. "You don't appreciate how much you've had until it hits you," said Slovis. category: Handling Your Alcohol Consumption "Someone who drinks more over time will look less impaired at the same level of someone who drinks less frequently," said Fingerhood. Can the Irish really drink some of us under the table? But some experts say that many people don't know their level of tolerance. text: Eating more is a surefire way to delay feeling drunk. quicklist: 4 Alcohol makes these neurotransmitters go a bit haywire. So, with that, you can figure out why percentages aren’t a good indicator of how drunk you’ll get: I did some math for you: A 12-ounce beer of 4% strength contains about 1.4 alcohol units. text: Does ethnicity matter? "At such low levels they have such an effect.". url: But those who weigh less are more affected by the same amount of alcohol. Dr Nick Knight told Newsbeat: "Age can affect how you process alcohol too. As for the Irish, there's no hard evidence to suggest they are genetically superior drinkers than other ethnicities, experts said. adult male. Read about our approach to external linking. But a quick review of the person's drinking life will usually reveal three distinct alcoholism stages to their addiction - starting with the first signs of alcoholism and concluding with end stage alcoholism.. That's not possible. However alcohol does not occur in the body naturally. "It means what your eyes see and what it tells your brain slows down. Your body sees alcohol as a poison. "There's the physical aspect too: the motor skills. It can't store it, so wants to break it down and get rid of it. If you're asking this question seriously, get help. "That's why people talk about having an increased tolerance to alcohol, because the liver has adapted to cope with it. The higher the proof and the emptier the stomach, the stronger the effects. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest?