Alcohol intoxication is a broad term used to describe an altered state of mind, such as changes in perception and mood, thinking processes, and motor skills caused by alcohol or illicit substances. Most individuals think of alcohol when they think of intoxication; however, the “high” from drugs is also classified as intoxication.
This article will discuss intoxication due to alcohol use. The legal definition for intoxication is a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or above. Still, it is important to note that signs and symptoms of intoxication may be present for individuals at different BACs. This can be due to several factors, including weight, how fast the drinks were consumed, how often the individual drinks, and how many drinks were consumed.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Intoxication
The signs and symptoms of intoxication can range from mild to severe, and they may differ for individuals based on the factors mentioned above. Common signs and symptoms of intoxication are:
- Inappropriate behavior and/or judgment
- Impaired coordination
- Slurred speech
- Diminished senses
- Slowed mental processing
- Lowered inhibitions
- Loss of consciousness
A loss of consciousness, vomiting, extreme confusion, seizures, slow or shallow breathing, low body temperature, and blue-tinged lips or skin are all signs of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning is a serious, sometimes deadly complication that arises from consuming too much alcohol (usually in a short amount of time) for the body to metabolize it properly.
Emergency treatment is required for anyone experiencing alcohol poisoning symptoms. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, do not hesitate to seek treatment immediately. Call 911; it could save the life of the individual.
Reasons for Taking Cold Showers to Sober Up
Thousands of individuals worldwide turn to alcohol as a way to relax, loosen up, and have fun. For some of those individuals, drinking alcohol can become an alcohol use disorder. For others, it may result in binge drinking. In the United States in 2019, over 25% of individuals age 18 and older reported that they had binged on alcohol in the previous month. (NIH.GOV)
Binging on alcohol is drinking excessively in a short amount of time. This can lead to rapid intoxication or an individual not realizing they have drunk too much.
There are many reasons why an individual may want to sober up faster than the body can metabolize the alcohol they have consumed. Some of these reasons include, but are not limited to:
- They are feeling sick
- They have to work
- They are in a bad situation
- They do not like the way they feel
- They realized they drank too much
- They do not want their spouse or significant other to know
- They need to drive
- They do not want their roommates to know
- They have to go home to their parents
- The need to go into public
- They feel shame for the amount they drank
Remember, these are just ideas as to why one may want to sober up quickly. Of course, the best way to avoid intoxication is to abstain from drinking alcohol.
For years there have been “old wives tales” advising on ways to sober up quickly. However, the reality of each of these may be different from their claims.
Most Common Misconceptions About Sobering Up
If you were to do a Google search for “how to sober up fast,” dozens of results would ping. Unfortunately, most of these are simply myths. The only way to sober up is to allow your body to metabolize the alcohol you consume. When alcohol is introduced into the body, it doesn’t just sit in the stomach like food and other liquids.
Instead, it is absorbed through the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. From there, your circulatory system disperses it throughout the body. From there, the only way to remove alcohol from the body is through the liver, where the only enzymes our body produces to metabolize alcohol are found.
- Caffeine may help you feel more alert; however, it does nothing to remove the alcohol from your bloodstream, and it could dehydrate you further, leading to longer metabolization.
- Eating fatty or greasy foods can do nothing for alcohol already being absorbed into the bloodstream. It could, however, give you diarrhea when combined with the alcohol leaving the body.
- Exercising can help you to feel more awake and alert, but it will not reduce your level of intoxication. This is because you can’t sweat out the alcohol.
- Taking a cold shower is one of the most recommended ways to sober up quickly. However, this is arguably one of the most dangerous sobering up quickly suggested methods. Not only can it not remove the alcohol from your system, but it can also actually cause some serious adverse reactions.
Dangers of Cold Showers When Intoxicated
When an individual consumes alcohol, the body reacts. When consumed, alcohol increases the heart rate. It also causes your blood vessels to expand. It can also lower body temperature. When you take a cold shower, it can cause your heart rate to increase, the blood vessels to contract, and cause irregular heartbeats. This puts added stress on the heart of an intoxicated individual and can cause a heart attack.
Cold showers also lower your body temperature even further. In addition, the surge of endorphins from the cold water can cause an individual to go into shock, causing severe complications. This can lead to unconsciousness, and falling in the shower could further injure.
The verdict is that a cold shower does not effectively sober you up or remove alcohol intoxication from the body.
How to Avoid Feeling the Need to Get Sober
The best way to sober up is to abstain from drinking alcohol. However, if you want to drink, there are some things you can do BEFORE you drink to help manage your levels of intoxication. Remember, your BAC cannot be reversed in any way except TIME. So the best way to avoid having to sober up is to be proactive.
Make sure you eat before you begin drinking. Having a full stomach can slow the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream. Count your drinks, and limit how many you have in any given amount of time. Drink your drinks slower, so you drink less. Change what you are drinking to something with lower alcohol content. Don’t mix alcohol types, and if you need to switch up what you are drinking, go for water. Staying hydrated will help your body efficiently process the alcohol.
Recover from Alcohol Abuse With Evoke Wellness
There are a variety of treatment options available for alcohol use disorder. If you believe you or someone you love may have an issue with alcohol, professional treatment is often the best option to get sober and stay sober. Here at Palm Beach Interventions, we offer comprehensive, compassionate, professional care to set a solid and lasting foundation for lifelong recovery.
Our team of professionals at Palm Beach Interventions has the expertise and network of providers to recommend the most appropriate medical detox along with acute alcoholism treatment services to help minimize alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Our staff of highly qualified, empathetic specialists is here for you. We want to give you the building blocks to rebuild your life and maintain long-term sobriety and success. So let us help you start the path to recovery today.