Getting Drunk Without Drinking Alcohol
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Natalie Lindemann, Psy.D on 01/17/2023
Dr. Natalie Lindemann, Psy.D, holds a doctorate in Forensic Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
By: Zinnia Healing Editorial Staff | Edited By: Rebecca Hill
The concept of becoming drunk without drinking alcohol is foreign to many. However, this process is a normal part of everyday life for some. Some routes of administration are extreme, and the reasoning behind these methods varies.
Those exploring how they can become drunk without physically drinking alcoholic beverages often need assistance addressing their alcohol abuse and related behaviors. Grave dangers are involved, especially when users are exposed to excessive amounts of alcohol. Understanding these dangers and why you participate in such acts is the first step in receiving support.
If you or your loved one are consuming alcohol in excess and have started to experiment with dangerous routes of administration, Zinnia Healing will help you address your unique needs. Learn more about our individualized substance use treatment programs.
Getting Drunk Without Drinking — How and Why
While there are cases of individuals becoming drunk without drinking, as with auto-brewery syndrome, getting drunk involves the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Conventionally, people drink alcohol, and sometimes they do so in excess. Sadly, around 95,000 people die every year in the United States from alcohol-related causes. Most of these cases involve chronic issues due to regular oral alcohol consumption.
However, those with alcohol issues may instead try other ways to get drunk without physically ingesting their drink of choice. There are reports of individuals doing so to avoid damage to their livers or to consume fewer calories. Some teen trends spread because of social pressure, while others signify a much deeper addiction issue.
Regardless of why someone chooses to do so, alternative ways to absorb alcohol are often more dangerous than conventional drinking. Chronic health problems can still develop; in some cases, sudden death is the consequence.
Some people choose to inhale alcohol vapors, while others will go as far as soaking a tampon in vodka to send alcohol directly into their bloodstream. The idea is to feel the effects of alcohol after a short period without the associated side effects.
The Ways People Get Drunk Without Drinking
There are several ways people get alcohol into their bodies without drinking it. The following are some examples that vary in degrees of safety.
- Snorting alcohol — The concept of snorting alcohol is not a common way to approach alcohol consumption, but it’s being done — especially among young adults. The hazards of this method are well-established, mainly from research on workplace safety.
- Inhaling ethanol — “Smoking alcohol” is a trend that often involves dry ice. Users heat alcohol and then inhale the vapors. However, ethanol is found in many products, like household products, sprays, and aerosols. For example, natural gas contains industrial alcohol, so some people take part in gas huffing. This process can cause significant short and long-term effects.
- Enemas — Sometimes referred to as butt-chugging, this dangerous method leverages sensitive mucous membranes for rapid absorption. This method can quickly become lethal. Once the alcohol reaches the brain, the user can pass out while their body continues to absorb more alcohol. Since you can’t vomit the alcohol out of your system, you significantly increase your risk of alcohol poisoning.
- Eating — Technically, you ingest alcohol in food, but it’s not like drinking alcohol. Whether it’s alcoholic gummy bears, popsicles, or Jell-o shots, this method can be dangerous because you may be unaware of how much you’re consuming. The effect could be potent if you eat many gummy bears at once. This option is safer than some of the other routes of administration only because the alcohol needs to move through your digestive system. However, it depends on the food or product. Ingesting excessive cough syrup, hand sanitizer, or mouthwash can quickly become deadly.
If you can relate to any of the methods above or are struggling with alcohol abuse, please call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439. We offer various customized treatment plans, including dual diagnosis programs to address mental health concerns and substance use disorders.
The Consequences of Unconventional Alcohol Absorption
Depending on the route of administration, there are varying concerns about unconventional alcohol absorption. Excessive alcohol consumption is a common and leading preventable cause of death, but less is known about the above-mentioned methods. Despite that, there is research on the dangers of these methods, showcasing the importance of treatment when relevant.
For example, this case study highlighted the death of a 52-year-old man killed by rectal ethanol absorption. Since alcohol bypasses the first-pass metabolic effect, your blood alcohol content (BAC) becomes much higher in a shorter period. This effect results in a higher risk of central nervous system depression.
Another study highlighted the effects of “eyeballing” — a technique behind a problematic trend of alcohol misuse. There are reports of adolescents pouring hard liquor directly into their eyes. The goal among users is to experience the rapid and intense effects of alcohol. Localized effects can be severe, including permanent vision damage, scarring, and blindness. This method also showcases the issues associated with risky behavior.
Regardless of how you consume alcohol, whether it be orally or via inhalation, excessive use increases your risk of addiction. If you’re drinking daily and have developed a dependence, you should seek a professional detox center. Withdrawing from alcohol can be a complicated process. One of the most severe complications is delirium tremens, with death occurring in up to 5% of patients.
Seeking Treatment for Alcoholism
If alcohol creates chaos in your life, many treatment options are available. The goal is to enter a program that offers individualized care. Zinnia Healing understands that long-term success depends on a treatment plan that addresses your personal journey. From genetic predispositions to childhood trauma, your treatment plan will focus on your road to recovery.
Several treatment programs are offered, ranging from inpatient treatment to intensive outpatient. Each program offers evidence-based therapy and alternative treatment options to ensure your greatest chance of success.
Zinnia Healing has facilities across the country. Our expert team is here to assist you, helping you every step of the way. Ready to take the next step? Contact Zinnia Healing to discuss what’s next when addressing your substance use and mental health.