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This Rare Metabolic Condition Causes People To Act Drunk Even If They Haven’t Had A Sip Of Alcohol

ViDi Studio - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

In April 2022, a man from Belgium was pulled over by the police. After completing a breathalyzer test, the results showed that he was more than four times the legal limit. However, he insisted that he hadn’t been drinking at all.

Last month, he was acquitted of drunk driving because it was discovered that he had auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), a rare metabolic condition in which the body produces its own alcohol by essentially fermenting carbohydrates in the stomach.

The judge emphasized that the man did not experience any symptoms of intoxication when he was pulled over.

Individuals with ABS produce the same type of alcohol as the one found in alcoholic drinks, but they usually don’t feel its effects too much. People aren’t born with ABS — it can develop when they already suffer from another intestine-related issue.

The condition is rarely diagnosed because it is not very well understood. As a result, those who don’t know they’re suffering from it can experience some serious legal and medical consequences.

For instance, Michelle Giannotto, the vice president of a support group called Auto-Brewery Syndrome Advocacy and Research, became acquainted with ABS when her husband Donato developed an infection after a routine nasal surgery.

He was in and out of the hospital for months as doctors tried to figure out what was going on. He was hospitalized 18 times in a 14-month period and even got a DUI charge along the way. Finally, he was diagnosed with ABS.

The Giannottos eventually connected with Dr. Prasanna Wick, a gastroenterologist based in New York City. He is one of the leading experts in the field of ABS.

According to Dr. Wick, many judges and doctors do not consider ABS as a valid diagnosis. He believes that exposure to antibiotics can trigger the condition.

ViDi Studio – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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