Most, if not all, people who have an alcohol use disorder (a.k.a. dependency on or addiction to alcohol) have looked for a “magic bullet” to help them sober up after a bout of heavy drinking. And certainly, a variety of myths continue floating around (especially by word-of-mouth or on the internet) about sobering up. Let’s take a look at three of those myths.
3 Myths About Sobering Up — And How You Can Stay That Way
Myths have a way of sticking around. Beware them because they stand in the way of you recovering successfully:
Myth #1. You Can Sober Up Fast
Since time immemorial, countless people have tried sobering up quickly. You can drink lots of water. Or you can work up a sweat by running, bicycling or exercising. However, none of these “formulas” have been scientifically shown to be effective.
The main reason? There’s really nothing one can do to speed up the way a person’s liver breaks down the alcohol in their blood. In other words, the myth of “sobering up fast” will remain what it is: a myth.
Myth #2. Vomiting Helps You Sober Up
When someone who has drunk an exorbitant amount of alcohol purposefully induces vomiting, the alcohol in their stomach that has not yet been absorbed is expelled from the body. However, keep in mind that alcohol absorption starts with the very first drink that’s consumed. So in the case of someone who has “had a few” (or more), there’s typically a substantial amount of alcohol in their blood by the time any sort of induced vomiting commences.
There’s a big takeaway here. Once alcohol is in the bloodstream, alcohol levels in the blood won’t be significantly diminished by purposely vomiting.
Myth #3. Eating Carbohydrates and Fatty Foods Helps You Sober Up
Do you recall ever being told that eating foods high in carbohydrates and/or fats will help you sober up? The problem is, eating this way will only help prior to drinking alcohol. Yes, high-carb food and fatty foods decrease the absorption of alcohol from the gastrointestinal tract. But after the alcohol has been absorbed, your blood alcohol level will not be affected by anything you eat, high-carb, fatty or otherwise.
So, no, none of these three myths have any validity to them. In other words, they aren’t an effective way to sober up. However, if you want to sober up permanently, addiction treatment can get you there. Remember that a quick and easy “1-2-3” formula does not exist and never has.
In order to recover from a substance use disorder, a.k.a., “the disease of addiction” (dependency on alcohol or drugs), typically a person needs some long-term or repeated care to get and stay sober. Some of the approaches that have worked for millions of people include the following:
The Need for Professional Detox
Medically assisted detox is a process for those seeking to stop drinking and safely go through withdrawal symptoms without relapsing. However, detoxing is just the first step. Most people seeking to recover from alcohol dependency need further treatment as a follow-up to not having alcohol in their system for the first time in months, years or even decades. Research bears this out: The vast majority of those who do not get treatment after detoxing eventually relapse.
A professional detox program can provide an individual with the help they need. It enables them to get through withdrawal and set the stage for further treatment. Professional detox programs often involve medication prescribed by a doctor to manage symptoms, group therapy sessions, individual counseling and other support services that are tailored to an individual’s particular needs. Withdrawal from alcohol can be incredibly difficult and even dangerous. However, with a professional and experienced detox team, the process can be much safer.
Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder
Here are some of the most effective types of treatment for chemical dependency on alcohol and/or drugs:
- Inpatient Treatment — At a licensed residential treatment center, structured programs are offered with round-the-clock comprehensive care, safe and substance-free housing, medical monitoring and trained therapeutic counseling staff members. Education about both addiction and recovery, plus behavioral therapy and other supportive services are part of each day in treatment. Once having completed the inpatient portion of treatment, each person follows a structured and well-supported aftercare program to help them sustain their sobriety.
- Outpatient Treatment — While not as intensive as inpatient treatment, outpatient programs nonetheless have the advantage of flexing with treatment protocols to meet your schedule. Therapeutic counseling, education about addiction and recovery, and staff support all occur within a more adaptable environment. Outpatient programs also include follow-up aftercare, once a person has completed their outpatient treatment program.
- Support Groups — Ongoing support can come from recovery networks such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These programs are cost-free, peer-based support groups and based upon the 12 Steps (spiritual principles learned and practiced with the guidance of a self-selected sponsor). These organizations serve to help members keep each other sober.
Get Help With Getting Sober
In conclusion, if you want to sober up, the best way is to sober up permanently. This means making a decision to go through the detox process (hopefully with help from the medical staff at a detox center or treatment facility). Then, it’s necessary to follow that up with an addiction treatment program. Call us today at 866.796.4720 to learn more about how addiction treatment can put you on the road to a successful, long-term recovery.