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10 Myths and Facts about Sobering up Quickly

MAR 17, 2017

10 Myths and Facts about Sobering up Quickly - driver-start.com
Coffee helps you to sober up quickly? No way. The truth is that caffeine can give you an energy boost, and it affects the nervous system in the opposite way to that of alcohol, which depresses the nervous system. Thus, a cup of coffee can make you feel better and help you stay awake, but it has nothing to do with reducing your blood alcohol content, which depends on the amount of alcohol that has been absorbed from your mouth, esophagus, intestines, and stomach.

Coffee helps to sober up quickly

Myth. Though a blood alcohol content of 0.08% is considered to be within the allowed range in all states, you may still be accused of driving under the influence of alcohol based on a sobriety test, even when your blood alcohol test shows less than 0.08%. Moreover, if you are under 21, the allowed blood alcohol content varies from 0% to 0.02%, depending on the state. And how are you going to find out whether you fall in the allowed limits or not? Are you going to carry  around some kind of breathalyzer with you?

Yes! Frankly speaking, just waiting until your liver filters the blood and removes the alcohol is the best strategy and the only way to really reduce your blood alcohol content. Alcohol is removed from the blood at a constant speed of about 0.015 BAC per hour. Thus, a person who has a BAC of 0.015 can sober up in an hour, and the person who has a BAC of 0.15 needs 10 hours to become sober. In other words, your liver can process about 150 ml of wine, 350 ml of beer or 45 ml of strong drink in an hour. This truth does not depend on sex, age, weight, or other factors.

Why bother sobering up if your blood alcohol content is OK?

Nothing of the kind. Mental activity just helps you stimulate the brain in an attempt to overcome the depressing effect of alcohol, while physical activity accelerates blood circulation and metabolism, thus one may think that it really helps. But the truth is that in order to accelerate your metabolism to the necessary level, you need to sweat and toil until you heart rate is twice increased. This means a higher risk for your heart, while the effect will be too short-term, because the liver won’t be able to process all the alcohol at one time regardless of your increased heart rate.

Time heals all wounds

A debatable opinion. In fact, when you induce vomiting, all you do is remove the alcohol that is in your stomach but hasn’t been absorbed yet. However, absorption starts from the very first drink and right from the mouth cavity, so there’s probably already plenty of alcohol in your blood by the time you decide to induce vomiting. Once ethanol is in the blood, vomiting is helpless to reduce its content.

Mental and physical activity reduces blood alcohol content

Doesn’t work. In particular, activated charcoal is ineffective in absorbing ethanol, and it will have no effect on the blood alcohol content an hour after the absorptions starts. Some other gastrointestinal adsorbents (for example, those based on lignin) help to reduce alcohol intoxication, but they only work in the lining of you intestines and can’t affect the ethanol that was absorbed.

Induce vomiting and alcohol will disappear miraculously from your body

Wrong again. Visiting a steam room can help only to remove the broken down products of alcohol intoxication, since the body gets rid of them through sweating (among other ways), but , in no way does sweating affect the speed of blood alcohol content reduction. However, it may lead to dehydration, as alcohol has the ability to retain water in the body.

Let activated charcoal or some other gastrointestinal adsorbents work instead of your liver

Wrong. A cold shower works just like coffee, stimulating your nervous system and, thus, keeping your alert. It can’t make your liver work faster, it can’t stimulate your body to produce necessary enzymes, and it can’t help split alcohol. Besides, a cold shower is counter-indicated when heavily intoxicated because the general body condition is debilitated.

Sweat in a hot sauna and everything will be OK

Nope. All those hot dishes, fatty meats, potatoes, and other starchy foods are only useful before you start drinking alcohol or as a snack to prevent you from becoming sozzled when you are drinking. The truth is that fatty foods slow alcohol absorption from the gastrointestinal tract, but once the alcohol is absorbed, no food can reduce its level in your blood or somehow help to remove it.

Take a cold shower and everything will be OK

No way. The truth is that caffeine can give you an energy boost, and it affects the nervous system in the opposite way to that of alcohol, which depresses the nervous system. Thus, a cup of coffee can make you feel better and stay awake, but it has nothing to do with reducing your blood alcohol content, which depends on the amount of alcohol that was absorbed from your mouth, esophagus, intestines, and stomach.

Eat and you will become as sober as a judge