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Updated on July 31, 2023
6 min read

What are the Proven Methods to Stop the Spins When Drunk?

Alyssa Hill
Elena Borrelli M.S.PAC
Written by 
9 Sources Cited
Alyssa Hill
Written by 
9 Sources Cited

How To Stop The Spins When Drunk

Do you ever feel a bit wobbly and unsteady after drinking alcohol? This sensation, commonly known as 'the spins,' is an unpleasant sensation often accompanying too much alcohol consumption. 

This blog will share preventative measures and remedies to stop the spins when drunk. With this advice, you can get back on track, enjoy responsible drinking, or even avoid drinking too much.

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Why Do You Experience The Spins When Drunk?

The answer results from disturbances in the vestibular system.1 It consists of delicate nerve fibers in fluid-filled tubes called semicircular canals, responsible for balance and orientation.

When you move your head, the fluid inside the ear canal also moves, signaling to the brain your current position. However, this system can be overwhelmed during movements or intoxication.

The Effect of Alcohol on the Vestibular System and Vision

Excess alcohol further disrupts this balance, thinning the blood and affecting fluid density in the semicircular canals. Consequently, the fluid splashes more freely over the nerve fibers, sending mixed signals to the brain.

The brain perceives you're spinning, even if you're not moving. Alcohol also relaxes the muscles around your eyes, causing double vision.

How Can You Stop The Spinning Feeling When Drunk?

Balance Yourself

Stand up straight and lock your knees to reduce the sensation of motion. You can also try walking on tiptoes to minimize the spinning.

Use Your Other Senses

Focus on other senses like touch, smell, and hearing. Smell a strong scent, such as peppermint or lavender, to activate your olfactory nerve and distract you from the feeling of spinning.

Deep Breathing

Slowing and deepening your breath can help you relax. A few deep breaths also bring more oxygen into the body, helping to reduce the spins. You can focus on counting your breathing to distract you from the sensation further.

Sobering Up Techniques

sobering up techniques

Drink Water or Juice

Alcohol dehydrates the body, and dehydration only adds to dizziness. Rehydrate with water or cranberry juice, which contains electrolytes.

Eat Some Food

Consuming a light meal will help you sober up faster. Fatty foods like eggs and yogurt are beneficial. Since they take longer to digest, it results in a more gradual release of energy.

Eat a Banana

Bananas contain potassium and natural sugars that help your body rehydrate, boosting energy levels. Eating a banana also helps absorb the alcohol in your body.

Sleep It Off

Getting plenty of rest is always good if you've had a few drinks. Sleep may help your body recover faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.

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Can Throwing Up Help Stop The Spins?

No. While it may give temporary relief, vomiting doesn't eliminate alcohol from your system. Forcing yourself to vomit can have serious consequences.2

Self-induced vomiting can cause tears in your esophagus and inflammation of the esophageal lining, including chronic changes. Additionally, you risk partially digested food getting stuck in your respiratory tract and exacerbating symptoms like heartburn. 

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How Long Do the Spins Typically Last?

After consuming alcohol, it rapidly enters the bloodstream, causing an impact on the brain. The initial effects of alcohol intoxication are most intense during the first few hours and may linger anywhere between 6 to 12 hours.3

However, the effects usually subside around the 6-hour, ​​depending on how much alcohol you consume. The detoxification process and hangover can take 2 to 5 days. You can minimize or avoid these effects by monitoring one's alcohol intake or not drinking entirely.

You can significantly reduce your chances of experiencing the spins by following these tips:4

Preventative Measures: How To Avoid The Spins?

You can significantly reduce your chances of experiencing the spins by following these tips:4

how to avoid the spins

Don't Drink on an Empty Stomach

The body absorbs alcohol faster when there's no food in the stomach. Eating a meal before drinking helps the body process alcohol more slowly, allowing for a slower absorption rate.

Pace Your Alcohol Consumption

The most effective way to reduce the effects of intoxication is by drinking in moderation. Sip your drinks slowly, and have a glass of water or juice between each drink.

Stay Hydrated

Keep hydrated throughout the night by drinking plenty of water or juice. Keeping your body hydrated helps to prevent dizziness and fatigue.

Avoid Mixing Alcohol

Drinking different types of alcohol in quick succession can overwhelm the body. Stick to one kind at a time and always drink responsibly.

FAQ’s

Can Dehydration Cause The Spins?

Absolutely. Alcohol is a diuretic, which forces your body to lose fluids faster than usual.5 This process, called diuresis, causes dehydration.

One standard drink, which contains 14 grams of alcohol, can trigger the production of 100 mL of urine (3.38 fl. oz.).6 This is equivalent to less than half a cup of urine.

Alcohol also inhibits the anti-diuretic hormone release, resulting in frequent urination during drinking sessions. Alcohol has other effects on the body that can lead to dehydration, such as delayed stomach emptying and vomiting. 

Moreover, excessive drinking can cause the buildup of acetaldehyde, a toxic substance that the body can purge through vomiting the following day.

How Does Spinning Affect The Brain?

Spinning can cause various adverse effects on the brain, from short-term disorientation to long-term neurological damage. One common hangover symptom is vertigo — feeling dizzy and off balance.

Inner ear disturbances cause vertigo, resulting in incorrect information sent to the brain about your body's position and movement. This disruption can impair cognitive and motor control, causing imbalance and nausea.7

Experiencing the spins can also cause physical distress and mental confusion. The brain's prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for short-term memory, is adversely affected. Over time, this can lead to dementia and other neurological disorders.8

How Can I Improve My Spins?

Here are tips to help you improve or mitigate the spins when drunk:

Drink water to flush out toxins and rehydrate your body. Drink ginger ale, which is known to help reduce symptoms of motion sickness.9

Focus on a stable object or spot on the wall. Doing so will help you orient yourself in your environment.

Plant your feet firmly on the ground and lock your knees. It helps reduce any spinning sensation you may experience and prevent worsening dizziness. However, caution is advised, because locking knees can lead to fainting. 

Close your eyes. It helps to reduce visual disorientation.

Listen to calming music or meditate. Doing so can help you relax and focus on something other than the spins.

Do some light physical activity such as walking or stretching. It will help distract you from the spins and increase blood flow, which may help reduce the dizzy feeling.

Avoid any sudden movements or changes in position. Moving too quickly can worsen the spins and put you at risk of falling or feeling sick.

Summary

The spins are an unpleasant side effect of drinking alcohol and can cause various physical and mental symptoms. To reduce their severity, you should drink responsibly and stay hydrated.

Additionally, engaging in some light physical activity and focusing on a stable object in your environment can help reduce the feeling of disorientation. If you find that the spins are persisting or worsening, seek medical attention.

Updated on July 31, 2023
9 sources cited
Updated on July 31, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Lecklitner, I. “Why Do You Get The Spins When You’re Drunk?” Dollar Shave Club, 2019.
  2. Gilbert, A. “How To Stop Drunk Spins: Does Throwing Up Help?” Soberish, 2022.
  3. Costello, B. “How to Get Rid of Spins When You’re Drunk [Guide].” UpThirst, 2022.
  4. Simons, M. “How To Get Rid of Drunk Spins [Tips and Tricks].” The Beer Exchange, 2023.
  5. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. “Hangovers.” Mayo Clinic, 2017.
  6. Hobson, RM. “Hydration status and the diuretic action of a small dose of alcohol.” Alcohol and Alcoholism, 2010.
  7. Kim et al. “Vascular vertigo and dizziness: Diagnostic criteria.” Journal of Vestibular Research: Equilibrium & Orientation, 2022.
  8. Jobson et al. “The role of the medial prefrontal cortex in cognition, ageing and dementia.” Brain Communications, 2021.
  9. Han-Chung et al. “Effects of ginger on motion sickness and gastric slow-wave dysrhythmias induced by circular vection.” American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 2003.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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