There are countless myths and misconceptions about ways to sober up fast. Many believe these myths and end up with DWI charges as a result. This article will debunk those myths by providing scientific explanations for alcohol’s effect on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and the human metabolism.
Metabolism is the process by which the body expels alcohol. It involves many stages, one of which is called oxidation. Oxidation in the liver detoxifies alcohol and removes it from the blood to prevent any damage to cells or organs. The liver metabolizes alcohol at a steady rate that is dependent on numerous factors including body size, mass and height, and the amount of metabolizing enzymes in your liver.
While these factors influence alcohol absorption and your metabolism, most of the sources that people commonly believe effect this process are inaccurate. The following are very common sober up quick myths:
- “If you take a quick nap, you’ll be fine.” This is not true. Sobering up is really just a time game. Theoretically, you could play Nintendo for two hours and that would be just as effective as a two hour nap. The only way sleeping is effective is if you sleep long enough for your body to fully metabolize the amount of alcohol you have consumed (the average person metabolizes one standard drink per hour*).
- “Eat something. It will absorb the alcohol and sober you up.” This is not true. If you eat prior to or during the consumption of alcohol, the food in your stomach will slow the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream, however, the idea that you can drink excessively and then eat to sober up is false. Once alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream, nothing you put in your stomach will decrease your BAC.
- “All you need to do is drink some water.” Once again, not true. Alcohol is metabolized through urine, sweat, and breathing. Water does not and cannot change the level of alcohol in your blood because it does not directly affect any of those bodily processes. Water has no effect whatsoever on the rate at which your body metabolizes alcohol.
*A standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 6 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits, all of which contain the same amount of alcohol.
Please be mindful of these myths, and do not drink and drive.