BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL (BAL) MONITORING
The amount of alcohol in your blood stream is referred to as Blood
(BAL). It is recorded in milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of
blood, or milligrams
percent. For example, a BAL of .10 means that 1/10 of 1 percent (or
1/1000) of your total
blood content is alcohol. When you drink alcohol it goes directly from
the stomach into
the blood stream. This is why you typically feel the effects of alcohol
especially if you haven't eaten for a while. BAL depends on: 1. Amount
of blood (which will
increase with weight) and 2. The amount of alcohol you consume over time
(the faster you
drink, the higher your BAL, as the liver can only handle about a drink
per hour--the rest
builds up in your blood stream).
Understanding the effects of a rising BAL can be very useful in
Below are the consequences of various Blood Alcohol Levels,from a book
by William R. Miller and Ricardo F. Munoz called, "How to Control your
Drinkling: A Practical Guide to
Responsible Drinking (1982):
.02 MELLOW FEELING. SLIGHT BODY WARMTH. LESS
.05 NOTICEABLE RELAXATION. LESS ALERT. LESS SELF-
FOCUSED. COORDINATION IMPAIRMENT BEGINS.
.08 DRUNK DRIVING LIMIT. DEFINITE IMPAIRMENT IN
COORDINATION AND JUDGMENT.
.10 NOISY. POSSIBLE EMBARRASSING BEHAVIOR. MOOD
SWINGS. REDUCTION IN REACTION TIME.
.15 IMPAIRED BALANCE AND MOVEMENT. CLEARLY DRUNK.
.30 MANY PASS OUT.
.40 MOST PASS OUT; SOME DIE.
.50 BREATHING STOPS. MANY DIE.
As can be seen, the most reliably pleasurable effects of alcohol occur
BAL rises to about .03-.05. Alcohol researchers have discovered that low
alcohol have a specific effect on thinking; alcohol results in a
reduction of "self-
monitoring." (Hull & Reilly, 1986). What this means is that small
quantities of alcohol
enable you to take your mind off yourself and your worries. Not
surprisingly, this effect
reduces tension and enhances relaxation in many people. Some people find
so rewarding that they continue to drink. Unfortunately, these relaxing
diminish as BAL rises above .05. Instead emerge a host of negative
effects, such as
less emotional control, coordination and judgment impairment, hangovers
One way of controlling alcohol is to learn to gauge BAL by internal
and to attend to the reinforcing signs of a low BAL. Doing so will
enable you to be
more in control of how much you drink and, by focusing your attention on
pleasurable effects, be able to enjoy alcohol with less negative
Alcohol Level Charts are available in a number of resources. For
example, "How to
Control your Drinking: A Practical Guide to Responsible Drinking"
(Miller & Munoz,
1982) Contains tables which list BAL values by gender, weight, number of
consumed and number of hours drinking.
THE FINAL CALL BREATHALYZER is a very useful tool in monitoring
BAL. The one-time use breathalyzers are small glass tubes which contain
crystals that have been impregnated with a reactive chemical that turns
alcohol is present. One must breath into the balloon provided and then
let it deflate
into the tube. The BAL reading appears in about a minute. Final Call
with a margin of error of plus or minus .02. The Final Call Breathalyzer
because your BAL can be quickly assessed so that you get immediate
BACK TO DIRECTORY |
BACK TO SUB DIRECTORY: DRUGS