Expert says there is a new secret trick to sobering up fast

@prairiepaul/TikTok Cagkan/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘A scientifically proven method’: Expert says there is a new secret trick to sobering up fast

'You could eliminate quite a bit of alcohol in a very short period of time.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Mar 28, 2024   Updated on Mar 28, 2024, 1:18 pm CDT

For as long as there has been alcohol, there have been people trying to find ways to quickly sober up. 

In general, most folk methods for getting sober have been proven to be ineffective. For example, a commonly referred to method of sobering up is having a cup of coffee; however, as noted by the BBC, this does not work as it simply makes the person feel more awake rather than actually impact the alcohol metabolization process.

Over the years, there have been trials of drugs or products that claim to either quickly reduce blood alcohol content (BAC) or lower the impact that alcohol has on the body. However, to date, there’s been little evidence that anything currently available to consumers significantly speeds up the metabolization process.

That said, one user on TikTok claims that there’s a surefire way to lower your BAC—and he says he’s got the science to back it up.

In a video with over 787,000 views, TikTok user and Canadian lawyer Paul Doroshenko (@prairiepaul) says that hyperventilating may be the key to lowering one’s BAC.

As evidence, he cites a 2020 paper published in Scientific Reports, which is under the umbrella of the journal Nature, that found that exhalation plays a part in removing alcohol from the body.

“So we know that alcohol eliminates from the body at a fairly linear rate. And it’s eliminated by your liver…Basically, you pee it out,” Doroshenko explains. “But what about breathing? I mean, we know that you have a breath tester, and some alcohol is going out of your breath, and the breath tester tests the alcohol concentration in your breath and gives you a projected blood alcohol concentration. That means you are exhaling alcohol.”

The study, he says, took that theory and expounded upon it. To do this, the scientists took five individuals and monitored the elimination rate of ethanol in proportion to their blood levels. First, they observed the elimination rate of alcohol with a normal pace of breathing; then, they measured the elimination rate during isocapnic hyperpnea, which typically involves taking many deep breaths over and over again.

“What they found was really remarkable,” details Doroshenko. “It resulted in a clearance rate three times as great as the baseline. So instead of it being a linear projected elimination, it was a rapid elimination. You could eliminate quite a bit of alcohol in a very short period of time.”

While Doroshenko and the study itself notes that this can have positive implications in a hospital environment, where someone with alcohol poisoning may need to quickly rid their body of alcohol, it can also find use outside of a clinical environment.

First, naturally, one may be able to get sober faster. Second, Doroshenko says that this could assist those who have been pulled over under the suspicion that they’re driving under the influence.

Doroshenko argues that breathalyzer tests can be skewed in a variety of ways—for example, a nervous driver may hold their breath, which he says can affect breathalyzer results.

“As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with [this method], because you may be getting a more accurate reading,” Doroshenko says about the idea of heavily breathing before a breathalyzer test.

Although Doroshenko states that he’s advised people to employ this method, he also shares that there is more research to be done before this can be considered a foolproof method. This is a viewpoint echoed by the study itself; the study was performed on only 5 male individuals, so its applicability to the broader public must be tested further.

Additionally, how much this would affect someone who has a significant BAC is up for debate. After one has stopped drinking, their BAC generally lowers at a consistent rate of about 0.015 per hour, or 0.00025 per minute. Deep breathing for 10 minutes, even with the proposed threefold increase of this study, would only reduce one’s BAC by 0.0075.

@prairiepaul How can you sober up quickly? For thousands of years humans of wondered whether or not there was a way to make themselves sober up quickly. Coffee doesn’t work. Cold showers do not work. There is no medication that will make you sober up more quickly. There is, however, a scientifically proven method of reducing your blood-alcohol concentration. A 2020 study demonstrates convincingly that hyperventilating can reduce your blood-alcohol concentration. In other words, deep and rapid breaths will speed up the elimination of alcohol from your body. #Alcohol #Drunk #DrunkDriving #DUI #Test #Breathing #AlcoholPoisoning #impaireddriving #Police #Courts #Sober #SoberUp #Drinking #Hangover #FYP ♬ original sound – Paul Doroshenko / PrairiePaul

In the comments section, users shared their anecdotal experiences that speak to the efficacy of this method.

“This is why when younger you’re typically partying and dancing you could drink more than just sitting around and drinking,” speculated a user.

“Makes total sense as to why I would get drunk enough to cry, and then feel sober after bawling,” said another.

“This explains why I feel like running when I’m too intox helps lmao,” offered a third. “I thought it was a metabolism thing though. Ha!”

The Daily Dot reached out to Doroshenko via TikTok direct message.

Update 1:16pm CT March 28: In an email to the Daily Dot, Doroshenko elaborated on his video, especially as it related to drunk driving offenses.

In short, Doroshenko noted that the law in Canada can be enforced for those “‘at or over .08’ in the two hour period AFTER driving.” This can result in situations where someone has begun driving at a 0.06, been pulled over, then charged with being over the legal limit, even if they are not technically over the limit.

“Now, if you blow .08, does that mean your blood is at .08? No,” he wrote. “Almost never are you at exactly .08 and if you drew blood from your foot and from your arm you might have a small variance. But more than this, breath does not match blood. It may be a close approximation, but it operates under an assumption that 2.1 liters of breath has the same alcohol concentration as 1 cubic centimeter of blood. But this is based on an ‘average,’ so if you’re below average, you’re innocent and if you’re above average you’re guilty.”

“In other words, you might blow .08 and actually be at .063. Or you could blow .08 and actually be at .097. You are innocent or guilty depending on which side of the average you’re on,” he continued. “And the side of the average depends on when you drank, age, health, gender and likely other factors.”

From here, Doroshenko explained that Canadian law now dictates that one can be charged with an offense solely based on a hand-held breathalyzer result, a test he says he believes to be “unreliable for punishment.”

“In BC, punishment starts at .05 based on a hand-held breath tester. The hand held breath testers are, in my view, unreliable for punishment. They do not give a digital reading, they have no capacity to check the integrity of the sample and the testing isn’t done following procedures to ensure a proper breath test,” he detailed. “We need to be able to regulate the roads to ensure people aren’t driving impaired and the government rightly recognizes that this is a way to do that, but one should not shy away from the fact that it is all subject to error. When they made it simply the number on the machine, they accepted that innocent people would be punished in the sense that many will be under .08 if you tested their blood (something we don’t do unless they are in the hospital due to an injury).”

“So my advice is don’t drive over .05, but if you had something to drink, and the police are about to test you, the number is the issue, and you want the lowest number possible,” he said, in reference to a question about when to use the tip showcased in his video. “A .09 is a very different case to defend than a .12. The lower you can make it, the better. If you can go from .06 to .04, you face no punishment.”

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*First Published: Mar 28, 2024, 12:00 pm CDT