What Is a Reverse Tolerance?

What Is a Reverse Tolerance?

What does it mean when someone has a reverse tolerance?
Drinking alcohol is a common hobby of people throughout the world. Some people start feeling drunk off of one drink, whereas others can drink all day without feeling a thing. But eventually, that person with the high tolerance may end up with a lower tolerance than someone who’s never had a sip of alcohol.

A Guide to Alcohol Tolerance

Tolerance is essentially a series of changes that allows an individual to get used to the alcohol in their system. This process can affect both the brain and the liver. The more exposure to alcohol the brain has, the more its neurotransmitters can handle it. The more alcohol that enters the liver, the quicker the liver can metabolize the toxins.
Man wearing jacket holding a glass of whiskey at the bar counter
An individual’s tolerance can be influenced by a variety of factors. These influencers may include:
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Genetics
  • Metabolism
  • How much you drink
If you drink enough for a long enough period of time, you will require more alcohol to feel the same way that you normally would after less drinks. While this may sound like a positive thing, it can be a dangerous sign. An increased tolerance may cause medication to be ineffective, can increase the toxicity of other drugs, and may pose other risks.

Connections Between Tolerance & Alcoholism

Ultimately, tolerance contributes to alcohol dependence. If your tolerance is higher, you’re likely to drink more to achieve a certain sensation. Eventually, you may be able to drink without feeling much at all. This may lead to functional tolerance, which is a direct cause of alcohol dependence.

What Is Reverse Tolerance to Alcohol?

Alcohol dependence or addiction may eventually cause something called reverse tolerance. Reverse tolerance occurs when the liver no longer produces the necessary enzymes to break down alcohol. Only those with liver damage will experience reverse tolerance.
Because the liver can no longer process alcohol, it causes individuals to become intoxicated more quickly. If someone who used to drink regularly develops a reverse tolerance, they will have a lower tolerance than someone who rarely ever drinks.

Managing Your Alcohol Tolerance

There are ways to reduce your tolerance in a natural, healthy way. By reversing your tolerance on your own, you avoid the risk of liver damage and dying cells. The easiest ways to reverse tolerance are to either reduce alcohol consumption or abstain from alcohol completely.

Maintaining Abstinence From Alcohol

The key to maintaining abstinence is getting support. With a strong support system, whether it’s your family or fellow members of a support group, you will be set up with the motivation and tools to begin your sobriety journey and cut down on or cut out alcohol.
If you or someone you know is experiencing reverse tolerance, it may be time to start the journey toward recovery.
To learn more about the basics of tolerance and reverse tolerance to alcohol, contact our team of medical and substance abuse experts by visiting our website here or giving us a call at 267.209.7313.


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