When you overindulge in alcoholic beverages, your body signals that nasty vertigo-inducing, cold sweat-promoting, and vomit-producing sensations. This unpleasant phenomenon is commonly known as a hangover.
For many people, a night of drinking can lead to a painful morning after and the dreaded effects of a hangover. It refers to a set of symptoms that occur as a consequence of excessive alcohol use.
Let us decode the phenomenon in detail here.
The symptoms of Hangover
The hangover is always painful and gut-wrenching. There are common symptoms of this condition, like
- Muscle aches
- Stomach pain
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Sweating, and
- Increased blood pressure.
Hangover symptoms peak when the blood alcohol concentration in the body returns to about zero. The symptoms can last 24 hours or longer.
Sometimes, you can find the following symptoms of alcohol poisoning, which needs immediate medical aid. They are;
- Irregular breathing or slow breathing
- A low body temperature
- Very pale or blue-tinged skin
- Continuous vomiting
- Fits or seizures
The symptoms of alcohol poisoning can vary in severity. Some people experience certain symptoms more severely than others.
Hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol. A single alcoholic drink is enough to trigger a hangover for some people, while others may drink heavily and escape a hangover entirely.
Because individuals are so different, it is difficult to predict how many drinks will cause a hangover. Sometimes, other components of alcoholic beverages might contribute to hangover symptoms or make a hangover worse.
Alcohol suppresses the release of vasopressin, a hormone produced by the brain that sends signals to the kidneys causing them to retain fluid. As a result, alcohol increases urination and excess loss of fluids.
The mild dehydration that results likely contributes to hangover symptoms such as thirst, fatigue, and a headache.
People may fall asleep faster after drinking alcohol, but their sleep is fragmented, and they tend to wake up earlier. This contributes to fatigue, as well as lost productivity.
Alcohol directly irritates the lining of the stomach and increases acid release. This can lead to nausea and stomach discomfort.
Alcohol increases inflammation in the body. Inflammation contributes to the malaise that people feel when they are sick, so it may play a role in hangover symptoms as well.
Alcohol metabolism, primarily by the liver, creates the compound acetaldehyde, a toxic, short-lived byproduct, which contributes to inflammation in the liver, pancreas, brain, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs.
While drinking, individuals may feel calmer, more relaxed, and even euphoric, but the brain quickly adjusts to those positive effects as it tries to maintain balance.
As a result, when the buzz wears off, people can feel more restless and anxious than before they drank.
How to cure a hangover?
Everyone has different ways to treat their own hangovers. Some may prefer to control the damage by having too much water, or many visit the bathroom frequently. I have seen many trying to vomit by putting fingers in the mouth. Yuk!!
A person must wait for the body to finish clearing the toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism, to rehydrate, to heal irritated tissue, and to restore immune and brain activity to normal.
When you get up the next morning, you should drink half a liter of water or tea to stimulate the kidneys. Coffee, by the way, is not such a good idea, so try to limit your consumption just this once.
The morning after is the critical time for vitamins and minerals. If you eat, say, three to five dates, the cocktail of vitamins and minerals will make you feel better sooner.
That well-known hangover breakfast of herring salad, sour gherkins, scrambled eggs, and a hefty soup works wonders for the same reason, too.
An effervescent magnesium table is pretty reliable help, as alcohol is a magnesium killer. It causes dehydration, meaning you also lose minerals through your kidneys.
Minerals are essential for your metabolism, so if you have too few, you’ll be complaining of a headache. Take magnesium tablets and forget the headache.
You can have twice the fun at a party if you never drink alcohol on an empty stomach. You should preferably eat something hearty to reduce the effect of alcohol. Chips work well to line your stomach or slices of white bread dunked in olive oil.
Here are some of the best foods that will help you feel better;
- Green tea
- Coconut water
Yes, it is a reliable cure for the hangover from yesterday – especially if you have one of the wonderful Paznaun ski areas right in front of your door.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers (acetaminophen) can be useful. Yet, the combination of alcohol and acetaminophen can be toxic to the liver. Like alcohol, certain over-the-counter pain relievers, including aspirin and ibuprofen, can increase the acid release and irritate the lining of the stomach.
Proceed with caution when using these medications before or after consuming alcohol.
Myth and Facts
Myth: Certain actions, such as drinking coffee or taking a shower, can prevent or cure a hangover.
Fact: The only way to completely avoid a hangover is to not drink alcohol at all or to keep alcohol intake to a minimum. There is no cure for a hangover other than time.
Myth: The order of drinks will affect a hangover—as captured in the expression, “beer before liquor, never sicker.”
Fact: In general, the more alcohol a person drinks, the worse the hangover will be. This is true regardless of whether a person drinks beer, wine, distilled spirits, or a combination of these.
Myth: Having an alcoholic drink in the morning after a night of drinking will help avoid a hangover—a practice known colloquially as “a hair of the dog that bit you.”
Fact: While this might temporarily minimize some symptoms, it could contribute to and prolong the malaise and other symptoms of the hangover.
Preventing a hangover
The only way to prevent a hangover is to avoid alcohol entirely or drink in moderation, giving the body plenty of time to process the alcohol before consuming more.
Each person’s tolerance level is different, so moderation likely varies somewhat from person to person. Tolerance is based on genetics, body type, sex, and other factors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn against drinking more than:
- 1 drink per day for females
- 2 drinks per day for males
During a hangover, a person’s attention, decision-making, and muscle coordination can all be impaired. Also, the ability to perform important tasks, such as driving, operating machinery, or caring for others can be negatively affected.
You can follow the above-mentioned steps to prevent or control hangover.
You must read:
- Important facts about diabetes and alcohol
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- Break these 8 unhealthy habits to live healthily