Alcohol urine tests are conducted for several reasons. In most cases, these types of tests are administered when individuals are expected to remain abstinent from alcohol. Since alcohol stays in urine, hair, blood, and other areas of the body for varied periods of time, it can sometimes be difficult to determine how long alcohol can be detected in these different parts.
So how long does it take after drinking to actually pass an alcohol urine test?
How quickly someone’s body breaks down alcohol depends on a variety of factors including their gender, age, weight, what they choose to drink, and how much they drink in one night. However, the average body breaks down alcohol at about 100mL, or one drink, per hour.
Since alcohol is technically toxic, it needs to be eliminated from the body for us to function normally. A small percentage of the toxins, about 10%, are released through natural processes such as sweating, breathing, and urinating. The other 90% are released through the liver during the detox process, which usually brings on withdrawal symptoms. There is no way to speed up the process of removing alcohol from the body, but there are ways to maintain symptoms and ensure that you’ll start feeling back to normal as soon as possible. Individuals are encouraged to drink water, exercise, and eat to naturally remove alcohol from the body.
Some situations that require participants not to drink may conduct an alcohol urine test to determine if they have consumed alcohol over the past several days. Examples include alcohol treatment programs, DUI programs, court cases, the military, boarding school, liver transplant treatment, parenting protocols, and other environments that encourage sobriety & structure.
These types of tests are better known as EtG tests, or Ethyl Glucuronide tests. EtG tests measure previous alcohol consumption, but are not accurate in determining if someone is currently drinking. There are both take-home and on-site options. Urine tests are the most common type of alcohol consumption detection tests because they can pick up on alcohol more quickly than other methods.
Ethyl Glucuronide tests can start detecting alcohol in the urine about 10 hours after someone drinks and be able to sense alcohol in the body for anywhere from 3 to 5 days. The length of this process may vary depending on how much alcohol someone consumed and other factors.
If you are planning to take an EtG test or even a standard type of alcohol urine test, you are encouraged to remain abstinent. If you are required to not drink for a program or obligation, it is probably in your best interest to abstain from drinking and using drugs for a while. If it seems difficult to remain abstinent from drinking for an extended period of time, you might want to consider seeking out help for alcohol dependence or abuse. If you are concerned with how much you or a family member is drinking, talk to your doctor to determine the next best steps.
To learn more about alcohol urine tests and if you have a drinking problem and would like to enter into treatment, contact our team of substance abuse treatment specialists. Give us a call at 866-345-2147.
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