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What Is the Treatment for Vomiting from Alcohol?

By G. Wiesen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The best treatment for vomiting from alcohol often depends upon the severity of his or her alcohol consumption. In general, it is always best to seek advice and assistance from a medical professional regarding any serious condition, including vomiting and the risks associated with it. One of the biggest specific concerns for someone vomiting after alcohol consumption is asphyxiation, so anyone in this condition should sit upright or lay on his or her side. The secondary concern for any kind of prolonged vomiting is dehydration, so someone in this condition should slowly drink water or be taken to an emergency care facility for proper medical assistance.

Vomiting from alcohol often occurs as a result of alcohol poisoning, in which a person’s body is no longer able to handle the quantity of alcohol within it. As this happens, his or her body typically activates the gag reflex to expel the potentially harmful amounts of alcohol out of itself. While some people may experience vomiting even from small amounts of alcohol, the potential risks related to vomiting after drinking can be quite serious. Anyone who is vomiting after excessive alcohol consumption should consult a doctor to ensure that alcohol is the cause and that he or she is properly treated.

As far as possible treatments to stop vomiting, there are relatively few options. Some remedies, such as exercise or sleep, are not actually helpful; they may result in further health risks. There are some medications that can be used to suppress vomiting, but the combination of such drugs with alcohol can be quite dangerous and should be avoided. Time is typically seen as the best treatment, as a person’s body can usually process the alcohol eventually and recover.

One of the major risks related to vomiting from alcohol, which needs to be considered and treated, is the possibility of asphyxiation or choking. Alcohol has a depressive effect on the human brain, which can impair a number of physiological functions. Among these is a person’s gag reflex, which typically helps prevent a person from choking. Once this is affected by alcohol, however, it is possible for someone to begin vomiting but asphyxiate upon it. It is very important for anyone vomiting from alcohol to sit upright, or if he or she cannot sit up then the person should lay on his or her side and not on his or her stomach or back.

Another major health risk involved with vomiting from alcohol is the potential for dehydration, which can cause brain damage or even death. Someone experiencing vomiting should typically drink water or a sport drink in small, periodic sips. Acidic drinks like coffee or citrus juice should be avoided, as these can further irritate the stomach. If someone is vomiting so severely that even water cannot be kept in, then emergency medical care may be required. Medical professionals can use various methods to purge a person’s stomach of alcohol, and use an intravenous (IV) injection of liquids to keep a person hydrated.

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Discussion Comments
By Ana1234 — On Dec 10, 2013

@bythewell - I think people get into a mentality where they see all their friends drinking that much and just think that it's normal behavior. It's amazing what a group mentality can do to normalize something that you might otherwise see as unhealthy.

By bythewell — On Dec 10, 2013

One of the scariest things that ever happened to me was drinking more than I meant to, going to sleep in my bed and waking to realize I had vomited while I was asleep.

I don't usually drink that much but I was being careless and mixing drinks when I shouldn't have.

At first I thought it was just extremely gross, but then I thought about what might have happened. People die when they get that drunk, because even if their body can process that much alcohol, if you are so drunk that you don't wake up when you vomit, you could possibly choke on it. And then, unless someone finds or helps you before it's too late, you're basically going to die.

I'll still drink, but I never want to be in that condition again. I can't understand why anyone would do that more than once.

By Axeleye — On Dec 10, 2013

Drinking water to avoid dehydration when experiencing alcohol poisoning is definitely necessary, and can also be used to speed up the healing process. Since the vomiting is going to cease after a period of time, drinking water and eating bland foods, such as saltine crackers, will help trigger the gag reflex and therefore allow the body rid itself of alcohol quicker.

The alternative is throwing up all day long, as opposed to only a few hours. It's unbelievably unpleasant, but it works! (I'm not sure about this from a medical point of view, but it has helped me with vicious hangovers!)

I've heard of other hangover remedies as well, such as eating a bunch of strawberries or ingesting a spoonful of raw, unprocessed honey.

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