Not everyone who appears to be drunk is. Some people may suffer from a rare condition that is known as auto-brewery syndrome. This can cause them to be wrongly detained and prosecuted for a DUI even though they have not had any alcohol. Having a clear understanding of what this syndrome is can help you better understand your options if you are ever affected by it.
Symptoms of auto-brewery syndrome
The risk of alcohol poisoning is high for individuals who suffer from gut fermentation syndrome. It is not unusual for people with this condition to end up with unexplainable high levels of blood alcohol. They may exhibit symptoms of intoxication, including dizziness and lightheadedness. Since the condition affects gut health, people who suffer from it may also complain of bowel issues, aches and pains, mood swings, excessive tiredness and cognitive issues.
The cause of auto-brewery syndrome has to do with the way a person's body converts sugars into ethanol alcohol in his or her digestive system. The chemical process in the digestive system mimics that of a brewery every time an infected person consumes a large amount of certain foods and beverages that contain Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This type of yeast can be found in many ordinary foods and beverages, such as sodas, pasta and bread. Also, gut fermentation syndrome can develop after a person has taken antibiotics. Fungi and unhealthy bacteria growth usually increase with antibiotic use. In most cases, the condition is short-term. However, there are some people who experience the condition much longer than normal and may require medical treatment even though there is no cure available.
People who suffer from auto-brewery syndrome may have trouble maintaining a normal social life. They may withdraw from their families and friends and avoid public events. They may also end up running into conflict with the law because their condition may cause them to exhibit signs of drunkenness in public. They are also likelier to fail any field sobriety tests that are administered by law enforcement.
Not very many people in the U.S. suffer from this condition. However, several occurrences have been reported in Japan. Some stubborn cases may require medication and a low-carbohydrate diet. Not much is known about this condition due to its rareness.
Dealing with DUIs and the law can be very challenging if you or someone you know suffers from auto-brewery syndrome. For guidance on how you should deal with this matter, you should meet with an attorney.