Can one be drunk without drinking any alcohol?

Auto-Brewery Syndrome Made Simple

Auto-Brewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, is when your body makes alcohol inside your stomach, mouth, or bladder, not from drinking. People with this condition act drunk, but they don’t drink any alcohol. They often eat a lot of sugary and starchy foods.

What Causes It?

Certain yeasts and bacteria in your body can turn bad and produce alcohol. Some yeasts like Candida and Saccharomyces families are usually good but can become bad in this syndrome. Bacteria like Klebsiella pneumonia and others can do this too. Conditions like diabetes and liver issues can make it worse.

How Common Is It?

This condition is rare but can happen to anyone, even kids, in different countries.

Why Does It Happen?

It’s mainly because of an upset in your gut, mouth, or urinary system. This can come from eating too many carbs and using antibiotics too much.


People with this syndrome might throw up, feel tired all the time, get dizzy, lose balance, feel confused, have a bad stomach, and even have problems with mood, like feeling anxious or sad. They can also seem drunk when they don’t drink.

How to Find It

Doctors need to ask questions and do some tests to figure out if someone has this syndrome. They might check the person’s blood and stool and even do an alcohol test.


If someone’s alcohol level is very high, they should be treated like they drank too much. Medicines can help if yeast or bacteria are causing the problem. Changing the diet to have less sugar and starch is a big part of the treatment. Taking probiotics (good bacteria) can also help. It’s important to avoid antibiotics unless really needed, and if taken, watch out for yeast and bacteria again.

What to Remember

This condition can affect people’s lives a lot, causing problems in legal matters and relationships. It can also lead to wanting more alcohol. Doctors and patients need to work together to treat it. An interprofessional team of healthcare providers is the best way to manage this condition. This team includes primary doctors, specialists, nurses, nutritionists, and pharmacists. They should make sure the patient follows the treatment plan and gets any help needed.


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