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Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Myths, Facts and Alcohol

Are you curious about some of the myths and lore of alcohol?
Some common myths come from a desperate hope to help a person sober up.

  1. Myth: Drinking coffee!
    Fact: Drinking coffee will not sober up a person. It could cause more harm than good since coffee, like alcohol, is a diuretic that can further dehydrate a person's body.

  2. Myth: Forcing a person to vomit!
    Fact: Forcing a person to vomit does not help a person sober up and could be dangerous. Once alcohol has passed into the small intestine, vomiting will not expel the alcohol. Encouraging a semiconscious person to vomit could cause choking and/or aspiration.

  3. Myth: Taking a cold shower!
    Fact: Taking a cold shower will not help since alcohol indiscriminately depresses the nervous system; an intoxicated person's senses are impaired from registering pain, heat, cold, and smell, among other sensory information.

Only time will help a person sober up. Alcohol is metabolized by the liver at the steady rate of about one standard drink per hour. Because metabolism is governed by the amount of enzymes present in the liver (and you cannot increase this amount), you cannot speed up metabolism.

Want to see how long it will take to reach a zero blood alcohol level? See our BAC Chart.

Have more questions? Looking for more answers? Check out Go Ask Alice, a health Q&A Internet resource sponsored by Columbia Universit.

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Boynton Health

410 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN, 55455

P: 612-625-8400 | F: 612-625-1434