Sobering Up Fast: Myths and Truths

Posted by on February 21, 2019 in News Flash with 0 Comments

Sober living takes quite a lot of effort and money. This is the reason why the allure of a trick or life hack to rid yourself of a condition you do not want to be in can be so tantalizing.

There is really nothing new to see here. There are probably countless claims dating back from the old days about how you can instantly sober up fast. Nowadays, the internet chimes in with DIY videos featuring tutorials on how to rid yourself of your drunken state.

So how many of these DIY videos about sobering up actually work? The quick answer is probably none of them. Being drunk generally affects you in three ways – the way you look, the way you feel, and your body chemistry. You can take care of the first two through a few methods but only time will be able to lower down your alcohol level in your bloodstream.

How the body consumes alcohol

The way your body works when you consume alcohol is that, the alcohol through your digestive system reaches your liver. The liver then breaks down the alcohol into bits. But once you drink too much or too fast, your liver will not be able to keep up. This results in alcohol piling in on your circulatory system and the feeling of drunkenness. The amount of alcohol on the bloodstream will be taken care off eventually by the liver but your have to be given ample time to break them all down.

The way the medical community measures the level of  a person intoxicity is by taking into account the concentration of alcohol a person has in his bloodstream. This includes taking note of the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood. They call it the BAC or the Blood Alcohol Concentration. The higher this number, the higher the level of intoxicity. If you are not into sober living, this might be familiar to you as law enforcement agencies uses this measure to find out if a person be breaking the law or not in doing specific tasks. For instance, driving under the influence or DUI is investigated by making you blow into a breathalyzer which measures your blood alcohol concentration.

Never ever drink and drive

In America, the legal driving BAC is below 0.08. Should your BAC be at that level or any number above that, you are technically committing an offence. This is for good reason as well because it has been concluded that beyond this value, the alertness of a driver deteriorates and raises the chance of being involved in an accident by several folds.

The tips and tricks into sobering up fast usually involves a person wanting to start driving again after a night at the bar. And as we already mentioned, none of these tricks works. Thus, this effort does put at risk the person. The BAC will remain high until you take a break from drinking and let your liver do its work. He/she could get pulled over and charged with a DUI or worse, could lose his/her life or sustain significant injury.  It is estimated that in the US alone, an average of 29 people get into alcohol related accidents and die. To put into perspective, a person dies due to drunk driving every 50 minutes.

So accepting the fact that there is no other way to sober up than by taking your time, here are some of the more common myths that promises to lower your blood alcohol level instantly.

The claim: You can sober up by drinking a strong enough coffee as a counterbalance.

This is a classic claim. The thinking is probably that, since alcohol makes you sleepy, it makes sense that drinking something that keeps you awake can counter its effects. Caffeine, the working agent in coffee that stops us from sleeping, however does not, in any way, affect liver activity. This means liver metabolism rate stay the same and thus your sobering process still takes the same amount of time.

The big danger here is that the extra jolt that coffee gives you can sometimes trick you into actually thinking that you are good enough to drive. This dangerous confidence that a can of espresso gives you could be your greatest downfall.

Another related myth about this is mixing an energy drink with alcohol and, for some reason actually think, that it would cancel out the effects of alcohol. This is farthest from the truth. Not only does this not work, but the concocted drink is far more damaging to the body and the senses.

The claim: Taking a long cold shower can sober you up.

Whether this works or not is depending on how long the shower is going to take. A cold shower affects your senses in two ways. One, your eyes get mildly irritated thus keeping them from relaxing. And two, your body will feel the temperature and you shiver. This is supposedly enough to keep your alertness but is completely wrong. In fact the shock of cold can make you lose consciousness at the worst possible time.

If you use the shower however to pass the time and given a relatively small amount of drink, the body can feel refreshed and your liver should have already taken care of the alcohol in your body.

The claim: Eating up greasy, salty and fatty foods to sober up.

This is actually one of the methods that work. But not by sobering you up, and instead by slowing down the process of getting drunk. Alcohol is taken into the bloodstream through the linings of your stomach. If you have eaten enough greasy food, this lining could be thickened and thus prevent alcohol from getting ingested too quickly.

However, this only works if you have eaten the fat first before you started drinking. And if you are due for a long enough ride, it is worth noting that the alcohol could still be reaching your bloodstream in the future when you are already in your car.

In the end, sober living is still the best way to sober up.

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