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How to Sober Up Fast

Many people claim to have solved how to sober up fast, but unfortunately, none of these ideas are backed by science. Ask any medical professional how to sober up quickly, and you will receive the same response: it is impossible.

However, you can take steps to avoid becoming too drunk and ending up with a bad hangover. There are also ways you can try to ‘appear sober’ or ‘wake yourself up’ after drinking too much.

When alcohol enters your stomach, it is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream via the stomach lining and small intestine. Some alcoholic beverages are absorbed more rapidly than others. Typically, stronger drinks are absorbed faster.

Alcoholic drinks have different amounts of alcohol in them. Generally, beer is around five percent alcohol. However, some beers have more. Wine is approximately 12 to 15 percent alcohol. 

Hard liquor is approximately 45 percent alcohol. A shot will get you drunk more quickly than drinking beer. You may start to feel the effects of a shot within ten minutes of drinking. These effects will peak around 40 to 60 minutes after drinking.

Some factors, such as how much you weigh and whether you have eaten recently, can influence how quickly your body absorbs alcohol. 

Once alcohol enters the bloodstream, it is broken down by the liver. It takes around one hour for the liver to break down the levels of alcohol in a standard alcoholic beverage. A standard drink includes one beer, one glass of wine, or one shot.

If you consume alcohol faster than your liver can break it down, your blood alcohol level increases. You will start to feel drunk. There is nothing you can do to quicken how your liver breaks down the alcohol in your bloodstream, so it is impossible to sober up quickly.

Seven Ways to “Appear Sober” After Drinking Too Much

There are several ways you can attempt to appear more sober after drinking too much. However, no matter what you do, it is impossible to force your body to sober up more quickly.

1. Take a Cold Shower

Taking a cold shower is one way to wake yourself up. However, while a cold shower can make you feel more alert, it will not reverse the effects of drinking alcohol.

Be careful, too, as in some cases, the shock of a cold shower can cause intoxicated people to lose consciousness.

2. Drink Coffee

Drinking coffee can help a person feel more alert after consuming alcohol. However, it does not break down alcohol levels in the body. Just because an individual feels aware and alert does not mean they are not intoxicated by the effects of alcohol.

Keep in mind, though, that drinking coffee can dehydrate you even more.

3. Get Some Sleep

Sleeping is one of the most effective ways for a person to sober up. Sleep enables the body to rest and recover. It also helps the body get rid of the alcohol from its system. Even a short nap can help.

The more sleep someone has, the soberer they will feel when they wake up. Sleeping gives the liver the chance to metabolize the alcohol consumed.

4. Eat Healthy Food

Eating healthy foods before, during, and after drinking can slow the absorption of alcohol into the blood.

Drinking fruit juices with fructose and vitamins B and C can also help the liver flush out alcohol more effectively. However, while consuming healthy foods and fruit juices can help metabolize alcohol, it does not reduce blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels or affect intoxication symptoms and side effects.

5. Keep Drinking Water

Drinking plenty of water can help with hydration and flushing toxins from the body after consuming alcohol.

6. Exercise

Exercise can help an individual feel more alert and wake the body up after drinking. It may also help the body metabolize alcohol faster. However, the scientific evidence of this is inconclusive.

After exercise, a drunk person may feel more aware, but they are still intoxicated.

7. Carbon or Charcoal Capsules

Carbon and charcoal capsules can be purchased from health food stores. There have been reports that these supplements can help individuals sober up. However, there is no scientific evidence to back this up.

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How Long Does it Take to Sober Up Naturally?

How long it takes to sober up after consuming alcohol depends on the person. However, the rate at which the body flushes out alcohol is always 0.15 percent per hour. This is the same rate regardless of an individual’s gender, size, or body type.

The amount of alcohol consumed affects how long it takes to sober up. The more you drink, the longer alcohol remains in the body.

How to Avoid Alcohol Intoxication

There are several steps you can take to prevent alcohol intoxication.

These steps include:

  • Drink in moderation or consume one drink per hour
  • Drink a glass of water after every drink or two
  • Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach
  • Avoid drinking games or attending events where there is pressure to drink a lot
  • Count how many drinks you are consuming
  • Avoid drinking hard liquor
  • Do not combine alcohol with other substances, including prescribed medicines
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How to Sober Up Permanently (Addiction Treatment Options)

There are many treatment options to help people stop drinking. It is essential to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What may work for one individual may not for someone else.

Understanding the various options can be an excellent first step in reaching sobriety. Here are some of the options for alcohol addiction treatment.

Behavioral Treatments

Behavioral treatments for alcohol addiction aim to change drinking behavior through counseling. Health professionals lead sessions.

Medications

There are three medications currently approved in the United States to help individuals stop drinking and prevent relapse. These medications are prescribed by a primary care physician or behavioral health professional. They may be used alone or in combination with other treatments such as counseling or rehabilitation.

Support Groups

Mutual support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs give peer support to people quitting or reducing their drinking.

When combined with other addiction treatments led by health professionals, support groups can be highly effective. However, as support groups are typically anonymous, it is challenging for researchers to determine their success rates compared with health professionals' treatments.

Resources

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Alcohol and Caffeine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, February 2020, cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/caffeine-and-alcohol.htm

Hultén, B A et al. “Does alcohol absorb to activated charcoal?.” Human toxicology vol. 5,3 (1986): 211-2, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3710499/ 

2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, December 2020, https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/previous-dietary-guidelines/2015 

Irwin, Christopher et al. “The effects of dehydration, moderate alcohol consumption, and rehydration on cognitive functions.” Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.) vol. 47,3 (2013): 203-13, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23352231/ 

Facts About Alcohol Overdose (or Alcohol Poisoning), College Drinking, https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/parentsandstudents/students/factsheets/factsaboutalcoholpoisoning.aspx 

Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), 2014, https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/treatment-alcohol-problems-finding-and-getting-help

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