Alcohol&Me | What really happens when you’re on the juice?

What really happens when you’re on the juice?

What really happens when you’re on the juice?

What really happens when you’re on the juice?

This module is all about how your body (and behaviour) is affected by alcohol, while you’re drinking, and over the long term.

Start by watching this video that explains what happens to your body when you drink.

It’ll take about 15 minutes to complete


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Let’s do a quick recap. How many standard drinks can the average person process in an hour?

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  4. 4

Just the one. It takes the average person’s liver an hour to process each standard drink.

Four drinks

Let’s say you had four drinks at a work lunch.

Four drinks

In the first hour your liver will process the first drink.

The other drinks will stay in your system until your liver can catch up. It will take your liver 4 hours to deal with 4 standard drinks.

That means come hometime, your body will have just finished dealing with your lunchtime drinks.

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You are unique! You may process alcohol slightly differently from the people around you.

If the narrator doesn’t play automatically, please click on the speakerplay icon to the left of the person.

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If you’ve eaten, your gender, your age and if you’re unwell or on medication – all of these things can affect how you process alcohol and how you feel the effects.

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Any excess alcohol flows out to other parts of your body through your blood.

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This excess alcohol can make you feel tipsy or drunk. It’s important to keep your water intake up, to keep well hydrated and to pace yourself!


Meet Judy and Tama…


Judy’s 70 years old. She loves to cook — Chocolate Cream Layer Cake is her specialty and she doesn’t worry too much about her waistline. She wants to enjoy her later years sipping gin and eating cake with her friends!


Meet Judy and Tama…


Tama is 25 and a budding triathlete. He trains hard for nine months of the year, but even in the off season maintains a good level of fitness and overall health. He’s a lean, mean, running, swimming and cycling machine!

Judy and Tama

Who do you think will feel the effects of excess alcohol in their blood more?

  1. Judy
  2. Tama

That's right, Judy will feel the effects of alcohol more than Tama will. Women typically break down alcohol more slowly than men because they are of a smaller build and have less of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol. We also have less of this enzyme as we age.

Tama will actually feel the effects of alcohol less than Judy will.
Because he’s an athlete we can assume Tama has plenty of muscle and not a lot of fat. Muscle is 70% water so it’s good at diluting alcohol.
Compare that to Judy who is carrying a few extra kilos, and that body fat can’t dilute alcohol.
Plus Tama’s got the advantage of being male and young, which means he’ll have more body water than someone female and older like Judy.

Hydrate Choices

What about you?

Imagine this - It’s a Saturday afternoon in the middle of summer. You've been working hard in the garden for the past four hours, sweating up a storm!

All the jobs are finished and you’re filthy and exhausted, so you…

  1. Scenario A

    a) Collapse into the nearest deck chair with a couple of nice cold beers to quench your thirst.

  2. Scenario B

    b) Have a couple of big glasses of water before jumping in the shower, then find a spot on the deck and admire your handy work over a couple of beers.

In what scenario are you more likely to feel the effects of the beer more quickly?

Sweating dehydrates you. So if you are having a drink after playing sport or any other physical activity, then you’re more likely to feel the effects of alcohol than if you were well hydrated.

In this scenario, having a water first is the smartest idea.

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Spacing your drinks with water is a great tip for keeping hydrated and allowing you to pace yourself.

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Alcohol affects how your brain functions.

How many drinks would you need to drink in one hour, for you to start to lose your ability to do the following things (all of which are important for driving safely!):

  • Concentrate on what you’re doing?
  • Think through a challenge and make a good decision?
  • Judge how far away something is?
  • React when something appears in your peripheral vision?
  • Focus your eyesight after the sun gets in your eyes?
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Of course it will be a bit different for everyone. But, generally, if you have more than one standard drink in an hour, your system won’t be able to do any of these things as well. And the more you continue to drink the worse you will feel.

To help you understand how excess alcohol in your system will affect you have a think about a typical night out.

Click and drop the drinks you would usually have into each hour and see how your blood alcohol concentration changes, and how this might affect you. Toggle between genders to see the how alcohol affects men and women differently.

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Top tips for staying in the zone:

Size – Know how big a standard drink is
Pace – Don’t drink too fast so your body has time to process each drink
Space – Add a water between each drink and have a bite to eat!


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Alcohol and disease

There is evidence of a relationship between drinking alcohol and developing some diseases. Low to moderate drinking is also associated with certain health benefits. There is evidence that:

  • Light to moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, higher drinking levels have been associated with an increased risk.
  • Drinking alcohol is associated with an increased risk of cancers such as breast, liver, colorectal, head and neck. More on breast cancer.
  • Consuming alcohol is linked with an increased risk of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety in some people, but a reduced risk of dementia in older people consuming between 1-4 standard drinks a day.

NOTE: The above information is a general guide only. Speak to your health care professional with any concerns or for advice on your specific circumstances.

For more information visit

Hangover causes and cures


There are lots of myths about what causes and cures a hangover. Alcohol has a diuretic effect, which means it makes you go to the loo a lot. And this obviously dehydrates you. And when you’re dehydrated you can get a headache or become confused and tired.

To help avoid a headache drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated and help you pace yourself.

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Size|Pace|Space The liver can only process one standard drink per hour.

So, to stay safe and social, and protect your long term health, remember to size, pace and space.


Do you want to stay in control when you drink?
Do you want to avoid a hangover?
Do you know what you are drinking?

Mobile - friendly version coming soon: Alcohol&Me is not currently designed for use on a smartphone but please try again from your tablet, laptop or computer.

Alcohol&Me is designed to help you stay in control when you are drinking and provides tips on how to make the good times last longer at your next social occasion.

This training uses rich media - audio, video and games - to help you learn, so you’ll need to visit on a desktop browser to experience it.

We hope you find the content enlightening - you may even discover that some of your ideas about alcohol are challenged. Enjoy, learn and take this opportunity to think about how this applies to you and the people you know. No-one is watching or recording your answers and you can work through the training at your own pace.

If you have any questions please email us at