Blood Test for Alcohol Detection – General Overview
13 September, 2023
A blood test for alcohol detection is a way to confirm alcohol presence in the body and to see how much at risk people are for illnesses. It is considered one of the most accurate testing methods of all. However, it can be quite invasive as there is a need to draw blood. It is also more expensive than other tests. Nevertheless, it is worth doing because of its advantages, such as fewer chances of false positive results.
Alcohol can cause many problems in the lives of people. They can have health issues, productivity concerns, and relationship troubles. Hence, it is necessary to detect signs of misuse and abuse. There are many kinds of tests available, but a blood test is suitable for those with more serious cases as the process of testing is more in-depth. The following sections will present more of what it is, how it works, and its advantages.
What is a Blood Test for Alcohol Detection?
Blood tests for alcohol detection can verify if someone consumed alcohol. After alcohol intake, the substances travel to the bloodstream. Hence, the blood alcohol level is the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. Afterwards, it can spread to other parts of the body. Blood testing can confirm recent consumption. Moreover, it can confirm alcohol intake from four weeks before testing.
The test has many uses. For instance, doctors can take a blood test to confirm if a person coming from a road accident is intoxicated. It is important because it allows people to know if they are legally intoxicated. Police officers may also require a blood test for severe cases as it is more accurate.
Moreover, workplaces use a blood test if there are incidents. However, it is an expensive method. Hence, they typically only use it for post-accident cases. Moreover, companies use different testing methods for pre-employment and annual physical checkups. Other less intrusive ways also cause them to use different ones.
Blood alcohol tests have several variations. They are the following:
- Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) – It is a good way to determine who the heavy drinkers are. This is because the amount of alcohol intake directly translates to the amount of carbohydrate-deficient in the body.
- Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) – Likewise, the test is appropriate for those with serious alcohol cases since it can see the history of alcohol and how much a person drinks in a single session.
- Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) / Ethyl sulphate (EtS) – Typically, these are for urine tests. However, it is also possible for blood tests.
How Does A Blood Test for Alcohol Detection Work?
Unlike other tests, a blood test for alcohol detection needs to be done in a medical facility or by a qualified collector. Moreover, since it involves blood, technicians need to collect the sample by using a needle. Commonly, professionals take the blood from the arms. There are cases where they only need a few drops of blood, like in PEth blood tests.
After taking the sample, they analyse it. Consequently, they release the results. However, it can take up to a few weeks. The results allow doctors to make more informed decisions as to what measures to take and what treatment to use. Those who have higher risks of illnesses may need to undergo more tests and rehabilitation.
It is typical for healthcare professionals to ask for consent before testing. People can decline, but those who are required to undergo blood tests, in particular, can face legal consequences. Law enforcement obligates high-risk offenders to go through the test as it can show the level of dependence a person has on alcohol.
What to Prepare?
The main objective of the blood test is to determine if there is alcohol in the body. Hence, people should be aware that the result is highly dependent on their consumption of alcohol. They should prepare for a positive result if they have been drinking. It is best to avoid drinking it if they have a test schedule.
Moreover, despite its accuracy, there is still a possibility of a false positive result. For instance, the sample had a contamination. Thus, they should ensure that everything is clean, such as their skin, before the test. They can also confirm it with their technician for further security.
Advantages of Blood Test for Alcohol Detection
Blood tests for alcohol detection have several advantages over other types of alcohol tests. Firstly, it is accurate. It can measure the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) more thoroughly. Moreover, it is more reliable than other tests because of its performance. For instance, those with liver diseases may test positive even if they do not drink alcohol. This is more likely to happen with tests that are not blood tests.
Secondly, it is suitable for legal proceedings. Since its accuracy is one of the best, they can use the results more often in a court of law. It is more defensible than others such as a saliva test.
Lastly, it has longer detection windows. A blood test can determine if there is alcohol in the bloodstream for a longer period. Hence, it is useful for those who are suffering from alcoholic tendencies. Healthcare professionals can help them better as they have a broader idea of what to do with their cases.
The disadvantages of the test are the fact that it is intrusive and not convenient. Not everyone feels comfortable having a needle inserted in them. Moreover, it is not as convenient for alcohol management since people need another person to do the task.
If they want to manage their alcohol intake easily, they can use a breath test instead. They only need a breathalyser, which they can buy in physical stores or online. The positive thing about it is that they can use it multiple times. Furthermore, they can bring it with them wherever they go.
Many people, including doctors and police officers, choose to use blood tests for alcohol detection because of their accuracy. It has several variations, and each one is suitable for certain situations. PEth and CDT tests are appropriate for heavy drinkers because their results can show the amount of alcohol one consumes. It is beneficial in getting the treatment people need. Moreover, the law considers the result of the test more acceptable than others.
It is necessary to undergo a blood test because it can be the first step to recovery. However, there are drawbacks since the test is invasive and expensive. These are the reasons why work-related testing does not use it that often. Also, managing alcohol intake is more difficult with the method compared to others, like the breath test. They can use a breathalyser to see if they can drive after drinking. Some units may require periodic calibration.