Hangover refers to symptoms that occur from drinking alcohol, usually on the next day. There is no full cure, but people can take measures to alleviate many of the symptoms.
Drinking alcohol induces hangovers for a number of reasons, including fatigue, electrolyte imbalances, poor sleep, and inflammation.
The extent of the hangover is closely related to how much alcohol a person has consumed and how much sleep they have had.
It is not possible to make a general calculation as to how much alcohol leads to a hangover. The relationship depends on individual and situational factors, including sleep, hydration and the speed of alcoholic beverages.
In this article, we explained the causes of hangovers and remedies on how to reduce the symptoms. We also look at most factors that influence their severity.
Is There A Remedy Or Cure
While there is no total remedy for a hangover, people can the their symptoms by having plenty of sleep, drinking water, consuming nutritious foods, and restoring electrolytes.
Taking over- the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to relieve inflammation. This can help with headaches, intestinal pain, and body aches.
The hangover must run its course. This includes the body controlling itself as the drug is entering the bloodstream.
In the vast majority of cases, hangover symptoms will be overcome after about 24 hours.
The following may help to reduce symptoms:
- Eating nutritious food: healthy food provides the body with nutrition, nutrients and antioxidants that can help with recovery.
- Drinking water: Alcohol makes a person urinate more frequently, often leading to dehydration, in which case it is important to rehydrate the body.
- Eating soft foods: when a hangover causes stomach problems, consider soft foods that increase blood sugar levels, such as bread.
- Eating fruit: Fructose in the fruit can help the body to break down alcohol.
- Resting: Sleep can help to speed up recovery.
- Taking drugs: NSAIDs, antacids, and some pain relief medications may relieve the symptoms of hangover.
A person with a hangover should not take pain relief medicine or any other medications containing acetaminophen. This ingredient can strain the liver — like alcohol – so it’s important to avoid mixing the two.
Many of the so-called hangover cures are unsuccessful. Among these are the “dog hair” strategy, which involves drinking more alcohol to alleviate a hangover. Healthcare professionals do not recommend this form, which can only prolong the symptoms.
Symptoms of a hangover usually begin when blood alcohol levels drop significantly. Typically this occurs the morning after drinking.
Some Symptoms of a hangover include:
- bloodshot eyes
- excessive thirst
- a headache
- body aches
- sensitivity to light and sound
- bad breath, known as halitosis
- excess saliva, known as hypersalivation
- trouble concentrating
- low mood
- a fast heartbeat
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- trembling or shaking
If the signs of hangover are severe — during or after a bout of drinking – the person may have alcohol poisoning. It’s a medical emergency.
If someone has the following symptoms of alcohol poisoning, seek medical help as soon as possible:
- irregular breathing
- slow breathing, or fewer than 8 inhalations per minute
- a low body temperature
- very pale or blue-tinged skin
- continuous vomiting
- fits or seizures
Symptoms of alcohol poisoning can vary in severity. Many people experience more severe symptoms than others.
Drinking alcohol induces a hangover for the following reasons:
- Dehydration: alcohol is diuretic – makes a person urinate more, which can lead to nausea, lightheadedness, and other symptoms of dehydration.
- Immune system response: Alcohol can cause an inflammatory response from the immune system, which may affect appetite, concentration, and memory.
- Stomach irritation: alcohol increases the development of stomach acids and slows down the rate at which the stomach is emptied – a combination that can cause nausea, vomiting, and other digestive problems.
- A drop in blood sugar: when a person drinks alcohol, their blood sugar levels may fall, resulting in shakiness, moodiness, exhaustion, general weakness, and even seizures in some cases.
- Swollen blood vessels: alcohol consumption can cause dilatation of the blood vessels, which can cause headaches.
- Poor sleep quality: alcohol may cause sleep to be disrupted or shallow, which may increase the symptoms of hangover and lead to fatigue, brain fog and low mood.
- Congeners: These by-products of fermentation are responsible for most of the taste and aroma of distilled drinks, such as bourbon and gin, and contribute to the symptoms of hangover.
- Toxic by-products: when the body breaks down alcohol, it creates toxins that can cause or intensify several symptoms of hangover.
It takes time for the body to process alcohol. Drinking more alcohol before the body was able to process the alcohol already present raises the risk of a hangover.
Preventing a hangover
The only way to prevent a hangover is to avoid alcohol in its entirety or drink in moderation, allowing the body plenty of time to digest the alcohol before consuming more.
The tolerance level of each person is different, and “moderation” is likely to vary slightly from person to person. Tolerance is focused on biology, type of body, age, and other factors.
In addition, a person can reduce the risk of a hangover by drinking plenty of water alongside any alcoholic beverage or by eating a meal after drinking alcohol.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn against drinking more than:
- one drink per day for females
- two drinks per day for males
What qualifies as one drink may be:
- a 12-ounce (oz) bottle of beer
- a 5-oz glass of wine
- 8 oz of malt liquor
- 1.5 oz of spirits or liquor
Although there is no remedy for a hangover, there are many ways to reduce or relieve symptoms.
It’s important to stay hydrated, eat nutritious food, and have plenty of rest. Most of the hangovers pass within 24 hours.