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10 Myths and Facts about Sobering up Quickly

MAR 17, 2017

Coffee helps to sober up quickly No way. The truth is that caffeine can give you an energy boost and in some sense it affects the nervous system in the opposite way to that of alcohol that depresses the nervous system. So, 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.
  • Coffee helps to sober up quickly

No way. The truth is that caffeine can give you an energy boost and in some sense it affects the nervous system in the opposite way to that of alcohol that sees the nervous system. So, 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 sober as a judge

Nope. All these hot dishes, fatty meat and fish, potatoes and other starchy foods can be useful only before you start drinking alcohol or as a snack, preventing you from becoming sozzled, when you are drinking. The truth is that fatty food slows the alcohol absorption from the gastrointestinal tract, but once the alcohol is absorbed, no food can reduce its level in your blood or somehow help in removing it.

  • Take a cold shower and everything will be OK

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 body in producing necessary enzymes and it can’t help in splitting alcohol. Besides, a cold shower is counter-indicative at heavy intoxication, when general body condition is debilitated.

  • Sweat in a hot sauna and everything will be OK

Wrong again. Visiting a steam room can help only in removing breakdown products of alcohol intoxication, since the body gets rid of them through sweating(among other ways). But in no way sweating affects speed of reducing blood alcohol content, while 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 your liver

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

  • Induce vomiting and alcohol will disappear from your body miraculously

A debatable opinion. In fact, when you induce vomiting, you remove the alcohol that has already got to your stomach, but wasn’t absorbed yet. And the absorption starts from the very first drink and right from the mouth cavity, so you will have enough alcohol in your blood by the time you decide to induce vomiting.Once ethanol is in the blood, vomiting is helpless in reducing its content.

  • Mental and physical activity reduces blood alcohol content

Nothing of the kind. Mental activity just helps you stimulate the brain in an attempt to overcome the depressing effect of alcohol, while physical activityacceleratesblood circulation and metabolism and 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 increased twice. This means a higher risk for your heart, while the effect will be too short-term, as in any case the liver won’t be able to process all the alcohol at a time.

  • Time heals all wounds

Yes! Frankly speaking, just waiting until your liver filters the blood and removes 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 BAC of 0,015 can sober up in an hour and the person who has 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 about sobering up if your blood alcohol content is OK?

Myth. Though in all states blood alcohol content of 0.08% is considered as being within the allowed range, you may be accused of driving under alcohol influence 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 contentvaries from 0.02% to 0% depending on a state. And how are you going to find out whether you fall in the allowed limits or not – by taking some kind of breathalyzerwith you?