Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drinks in Western society. When you hit the pub, you should remember that alcohol negatively affects your body, and consuming too much will cause a hangover.
When you are drunk, your brain’s decision-making processes are impaired. You cannot walk or think clearly, and your inhibitions are removed. Many activities, like driving, are unsafe if you are not sober. You also cannot make decisions when drunk. So, you must sober up fast after consuming alcohol.
How Alcohol is Metabolized By Your Body
When you drink alcohol, it quickly gets into your bloodstream by the walls of your gut. Your stomach and small intestine have tiny blood vessels which absorb alcohol. It is then distributed to different areas of your body, like your brain and liver. In the liver, it gets converted to different substances like acetaldehyde.
This acetaldehyde accumulation in the liver eventually causes alcoholic fatty liver disease and is a toxic substance. The body attempts to convert it to less toxic substances like acetate. Acetate is further broken down into water and carbon dioxide.
How fast or slow your body metabolizes alcohol depends on many factors. The most significant factor is your age and sex. Young adults metabolize alcohol faster than older individuals, and men metabolize it faster than women. This means young men can sober up faster than other people.
Apart from your age and sex, your body weight and muscle mass are essential factors. If you are bulky and muscular, you can metabolize alcohol faster. People with good liver health also metabolize alcohol better. Some people also have incredibly good genetics and can tolerate alcohol better than others.
Sobering Up Strategies
Sobering up means becoming less drunk or intoxicated. When you are sober, you are in your sense and can think clearly. Alcohol impacts your judgment, coordination, and thinking, and sobering up is the process of removing the effects of alcohol.
Sobering up is a gradual process through which alcohol and its products are slowly removed from your body. It is also a natural process, and you will sober up without doing anything within some time. The exact time it takes to sober up depends on how much alcohol you consume. You can also do some interventions to sober up fast, such as:
Drinking plenty of water is an excellent way to reduce the time it will take for you to sober up. Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on your body as it is a diuretic. If you drink too much alcohol, it will instruct your body to increase urine production, which will reduce water in your body. This causes many problems like headaches and dizziness, which keep you in a dull state.
By drinking plenty of water, you replenish your body’s lost water, which reduces these symptoms. It also helps eliminate alcohol and its byproducts through urination. It also dilutes the alcohol in your body and so offsets its effects.
When you eat food after drinking, it competes with alcohol in the stomach and small intestine for absorption in the blood. This results in lesser alcohol being absorbed in the body and spread over a longer time. So, your blood alcohol concentration does not spike sharply, and instead, alcohol is absorbed slowly. This reduces the availability of alcohol in the brain, which decreases its harmful effects.
Sleeping is a great way to refresh yourself. By sleeping, you allow your body to recover and repair the damage done by alcohol. Good sleep allows your liver to metabolize alcohol at its normal rate and eliminate it from the body.
When you drink, your body’s levels of neurotransmitters and hormones get disturbed. Sleep can fix them. It can also reduce the symptoms of nausea, fatigue, and headaches. You also can’t make rash decisions when asleep and save yourself from the worst effects of drinking on your behavior and judgment.
Alcohol’s Effect on Your Body
Alcohol is a depressant. This means that it can slow down brain function. Alcohol does that in various ways, such as slowing down communication between your brain cells. This causes memory lapses, slurred speech, poor coordination, and poor judgment skills during the time you’re drunk.
Another organ alcohol damage is your liver. It can damage your liver cells long-term by causing inflammation and fatty liver disease. Alcohol can also increase your heart rate and blood pressure, leading to cardiovascular issues.
Digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are also common with alcohol use. It also causes fatigue and disrupts your sleep quality. Excessive alcohol use also gives you anxiety and aggravates your mental health issues.
Harm Reduction Strategies
Alcohol use is damaging to your health, and you should try to reduce its use. There are several strategies that can reduce the harm alcohol causes.
The most prominent solution is to avoid drinking too much. Drink only in moderation and for special occasions if you must. Try to give up alcohol altogether if possible. Set clear limits before drinking and stick to them.
Avoid drinking on an empty stomach, as this increases alcohol absorption. Instead, eat something before you drink, and alternate your alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic ones.
When you think alcohol is becoming a significant issue in your life, consult with a medical specialist and seek help. Consider rehab if you start mixing substances with alcohol or if you drink too much.
Alcohol intake can cause several health problems in the long term and make you intoxicated and unable to walk or think appropriately in the short term. These short-term effects of alcohol are called hangovers, and the process of removing those effects is sobering up.
There are several sobering up strategies like hydrating yourself, snacking after, and sleeping. Remember that alcohol is a dangerous substance, and you should be aware of its risks to make an informed decision.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.