Professor of psychology at the University of Bath (UK) Sally Adams named for Conversations four reasons why people can change their resistance to alcohol.
1. Functional tolerance. When a person drinks, because of alcohol in the blood, his reaction slows down; his ability to think logically decreases. Speech becomes slurred, coordination is disrupted. Those who regularly consume can become more resistant to such disorders and show fewer signs of intoxication.
At the same time, if such a person temporarily stops drinking or significantly reduces the amount of alcohol (for example, due to quarantine), this tolerance may be lost. In such a situation, it should be expected that when a person returns to drinking alcohol, they will again experience cognitive and behavioral disorders — but after a lower dose of it.
2. Tolerance of the situation. Resistance to alcohol can develop much faster if alcohol is always consumed in the same environment: for example, only at home, when familiar “signals” are regularly combined with alcohol exposure. This leads to a conditional compensatory reaction.
But if you drink in an unusual environment — for example, in a pub for the first time after months of quarantine — the compensatory reaction is not activated, which makes the person more sensitive to the effects of alcohol (even if the same amount is drunk as usual).
3. Learned tolerance. If you repeatedly perform the same task or action under the influence of alcohol, in this situation, resistance will also develop. There are studies on rats: there, the animals were trained to navigate the maze while intoxicated, and this affected their tolerance to alcohol.
How can this affect people? They may have this type of tolerance if they play familiar games, such as darts or billiards while drinking. Again, after a break in such practice, you should not expect that you will play as well as before – when exposed to the usual dose of alcohol.
4. Metabolic tolerance. While previous types of tolerance focused on the effects of alcohol on the brain, metabolic tolerance refers to the rapid elimination of alcohol from the body.
As with functional tolerance, as metabolic tolerance develops, a person needs more and more alcohol to experience the same feeling of intoxication as at first.
Conversely, if there is a pause in the use of alcohol (for example, due to quarantine), then the intoxication effect will occur more quickly. – Resistance to alcohol is a factor that is important to take into account, – the psychologist reminds. – To understand when your usual dose of alcohol will give you a stronger feeling of intoxication than usual: this can cause accidents.