The Dos and Don’ts of Helping Drunk People

Blacking out. Getting plastered. Being “too drunk to function.”  

Many college students have had their fair share of drunken nights, but total blackouts are much more rare. When someone “blacks out,” they are unaware of what’s going on around them and will have no recollection of what they did while blacked out.

According to the online journal Addiction Research & Theory, alcohol doesn’t change our personalities so much as it amplifies them. Thus, quiet people may get loud and loud people may get even louder. People may participate in unprotected sex or get in a fight, when normally they would think twice before doing so.

When people display traits that aren’t typical to them, it can be a warning sign that they have had a little too much to drink.

With countless tips, tricks and myths floating around about what to do and what not to do when trying to help out a drunk person, it’s vital that the record is set straight.

How to Help
DON’T: get angry at the person who is drunk

Their judgement is most likely impaired, and they are more likely to resent you than to appreciate you. Understand that although there’s a chance they won’t remember anything in the morning, it’s crucial that you are assertive but calm while dealing with your drunk friend to ensure that no one gets hurt. Although they may get angry at you for trying to sober them up or “ruin their fun,” it’s important to keep in mind that the situation will only escalate if you let it.

DO: stay calm, cool and collected

Your drunk friend’s emotions are heightened and yours may be as well, depending on how much you’ve had to drink yourself. Try to avoid an angry freakout by establishing that everyone probably has a common goal at the end of the night: to get home safely and crawl into bed.  

DON’T: put a backpack on a drunk person

If someone is so drunk that you’re considering putting a backpack on them so they don’t asphyxiate on their own vomit, you should take them to emergency medical services. According to Dr. Ralph Riviello, vice chair of clinical operations at Drexel University’s Department of Emergency Medicine, although “the backpack theoretically can prevent someone from rolling onto their back, aspiration can occur in other positions, and the degree of intoxication and responsiveness are the biggest determinants of aspiration.” 

DON’T: force a drunk person to eat food or drink water

Force-feeding a drunk person bread and water is a risk, as it can can induce vomiting or even make the person choke. Instead, ask the person if they would like food or a non-alcoholic drink.

DON’T: pour water on a drunk person or force them to take a cold shower

Pouring water on a severely intoxicated individual could result in them choking. Cold showers can be dangerous because the drunk person could slip and fall, choke on water or even drown.

DO:  have them wash their face with cool water

Showering in icy water can induce shock, which is a dangerous state for anyone to be in, especially drunk people. Washing one’s face can wake them up a little and eliminates the dangers of getting in a slippery shower while drunk.

*VALLEY does not support underage drinking. Please remember to always drink responsibly.


How Alcohol Really Affects Your Body

Fall in Love with these Autumnal Cocktails

About Last Night …