Can you get drunk without consuming even an ounce of alcohol? If you have a very rare disease called the auto-brewery system/syndrome (ABS) then yes, you can! A woman in America has made headlines as she claimed that her body makes her drunk and she desperately needs a liver transplant to fix her health. Sara Lefebvre (38) from Connecticut is a teetotaller i.e. someone who abstains from alcohol and alcoholic products. Yet, doctors often assume her to be an alcoholic based on her drunken state.
Due to ABS, any yeast in her stomach gets converted to excessive quantities of ethanol. This travels to her blood, and just like drinking alcohol, she becomes intoxicated. The condition has caused serious damage to her life. When stopped and breathalysed for drunken driving, she was found to be six times over the legal limit of drunkenness!
Though initially flabbergasted as to why this was happening to her, now she finally knows the cause. She was diagnosed in February and has been receiving anti-fungal treatment. But this is like a band-aid on a cut that needs stitches situation. The drugs will only keep her okay till she gets a liver transplant.
“If this new medication doesn't work, I'm going to die,” she was quoted by Ladbible. Her problem is intensified by the fact that most of her doctors think ABS does not exist and is made-up.
Two hospitals have already removed her from the transplant list as transplant patients need to be sober but her blood alcohol levels are always high.
She first noticed something was off when she was 23. After having a couple of drinks with friends, she came home and passed out outside the gate in freezing temperatures. According to her friends who dropped her home, she was completely fine at the time.
She then kept passing out, falling, more frequently- as a drunk person does. She was taken to the hospital where the sugar-based treatment for her liver caused the ABS to rise.
Her husband Ant hired a nurse to keep an eye on her after she fell in the basement one day. “I'm always terrified of what Sara is going to fall into, or how she might hurt herself. It is like a living nightmare,” he said. He says their kids have now adjusted to their “new normal” life but it certainly takes a toll on all.
After discovering that it is ABS, she is even more desperate for a new liver. She has jaundice and is in the hospital because of her damaged liver. But no hospital can operate on her as long as her blood alcohol remains so high.
Ant believes this condition happened because of repeated antibiotics courses she needed as a child.