How Much Is One Drink?

Determining how much one drink is can seem to vary from person to person. What one person may find is large enough for a drink, may not be enough for another. Restaurants offer 9oz or 6oz options for glasses – which one is standard? The surprising truth is there is actually an answer for the question, how much is one drink, medically?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, here is the breakdown of one standard drink for different types of alcohol:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer, which is usually about 5% alcohol
  • 5 ounces of wine, which is typically about 12% alcohol
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, which is about 40% alcohol

Understanding the Tolerance of One Drink

Many people have no problems having just one or two drinks without developing alcoholism or any of its related issues. However, it’s important to understand tolerance and dependence so that you can gauge if your drinking habits are beginning to become worrisome.

When you first begin to drink when you are young, you may feel buzzed or drunk pretty quickly. If you do not drink often, are of below-average weight or are trying a new type of alcohol that you don’t usually drink, becoming drunk quickly can happen as well.

If you begin to notice that it takes more and more for you to become drunk, it is important you take a step back and evaluate your drinking habits. Are you drinking every day? Do you need to drink in order to feel normal? Or, if when you drink, do you do so to a damaging extent such as blacking out or passing out? If this is a regular occurrence, it may be time for you to reevaluate your drinking habits, because there’s a lot of damage going on inside your body.

What Happens When You Have One Drink?

According to The Express, there are many things that happen to your body within just one hour of drinking. These include things such as:

  • Judgment and concentration becomes impaired
  • Mood swings
  • The central nervous system becomes depressed, causing slurred speech and poor coordination
  • The liver is sent into overdrive, working much harder than it should be which can cause long-lasting effects
  • The kidneys are also sent into overdrive since alcohol is a diuretic
  • Drinking leads to low blood sugar, causing shakiness and dizziness
  • Blurred or double vision

How Much is Too Much?

It is important to know your place on the risk level of drinking. People who follow the below guidelines only have a 2% chance of ever forming a dependency issue, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Men who drink four or fewer drinks per day, or fourteen total in a week, are considered to be low-risk for developing a use disorder. Women who drink three or fewer drinks per day or no more than seven per week are considered to be low risk, as well. This is because women develop alcohol use issues at lower levels than men, making their risk levels much lower.

If you find that you fall well into the above guidelines, then you have a less than 2% chance of developing an alcohol use disorder. It’s still important to know your limits, though, and pay attention to your body. Just because you’re in these guidelines doesn’t mean you should be drinking while pregnant, while operating a vehicle or whether you’re taking medication that shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol.

When to Get Help

If you find that your drinking habits fall well above the guidelines, it’s important to take a moment to assess what your drinking habits are like. There is a good chance that you have an alcohol use disorder, or are dangerously close to forming one. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need to drink in order to feel normal?
  • Am I unable to control how much I am drinking?
  • Do I get sick from drinking or feel hungover on a regular basis?
  • Am I drinking at inappropriate times, such as in the morning or at work?
  • Has my physical appearance changed dramatically?
  • Am I isolating myself from loved ones or activities I once enjoyed?
  • Am I hiding my drinking from others or downplaying how much I drink?

About Pinelands Recovery Center

Even though there are guidelines for the question of how much is one drink medically, it doesn’t mean that everyone feels the same effects. Alcohol affects people so differently, and learning your limits with drinking is something that happens. However, if you find yourself drinking well above the guidelines, you may have developed an alcohol use disorder and it is time to get help.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the lush piney woods. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and
healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit