Alcohol interferes with bodily functions and behavior, and chronic alcohol consumption can create a tolerance to some of alcohol’s effects. But when does a drinker become tolerant? We’ll look into what symptoms of alcohol tolerance look like, and if it’s possible to lower the tolerance once it’s been built up.


When You Build up an Alcohol Tolerance


A tolerance to alcohol is signified by a specific amount of alcohol producing a lesser effect on a user than when they first began drinking. The brain’s sensitivity to alcohol decreases following long-term exposure. Increased amounts of alcohol will be necessary to achieve the original effect.

Alcohol tolerance varies from person to person, as everyone has a different natural tolerance. When brain functions adapt in order to make up for alcohol’s effects on behavior and bodily functions, humans build tolerance. This is also referred to as functional tolerance. People who drink frequently and heavily will rarely exhibit obvious signs of intoxication even when they have a high blood alcohol concentration. Tolerance can result in many issues, including alcohol-related organ damage and physical addiction.

Despite tolerance levels varying by individual, symptoms of alcohol tolerance are similar amongst most people. Symptoms can include:


  • requiring more alcohol to produce an effect, for example reducing anxiety
  • an increased amount of liver enzymes, which detoxify alcohol
  • dysphoria
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting


In people who casually drink, these symptoms tend to go away when alcohol completely leaves their system—thus not giving them a reason to continue drinking. However, with those who have alcoholism will feel better when their blood-alcohol level increases, which can contribute to the motivation to drink more.

Just as the tolerance level, the amount of time it takes to build the tolerance varies as well. Most of the time, long-term exposure to alcohol is to blame for tolerance of its effects and in many cases, physical dependence. When people are alcohol-dependent, they could experience a number of withdrawal symptoms, all coming from the brain, when quitting. These can include:


  • anxiety
  • hallucinations
  • tremors
  • sweating
  • seizures


Alcohol tolerance has a negative effect on both physical and mental health, so it is not something to take lightly. Good news, though, as tolerance—as well as its associated health risks—can be lowered. This can be done by decreasing the quantity and frequency of alcohol ingestion, or by removing alcohol from the diet for several weeks. It is advised to seek professional assistance in cases where a high tolerance occurs, but is never a bad idea to ask for help when wishing to lower alcohol tolerance no matter the intensity.

Treatment Now is available to answer any alcohol addiction and/or tolerance questions, so call today at 844-438-8689.