What Exactly Is A Hangover?

Drinking alcohol always comes with consequences. If you overdrink it, your body will try to defend against the poisoning effects of alcohol. That syndrome of general discomfort, headache, and nausea felt the day after the alcohol consumption is called a hangover. Today, you can find pills for hangover relief to help you when the symptoms become unbearable. Let’s take a closer look at these symptoms and the etiology of the hangover.

Symptoms Of A Hangover

These symptoms are often observed in people who have consumed over three servings of alcohol the previous night. They may not suffer from all of them, but having some still gives them the hangover patient tag.

Dehydration

When you consume alcohol, your kidneys work overtime to remove it from your body. That’s why you urinate a lot more frequently than normal. For that reason, you risk being dehydrated, which is the main cause of headaches, dizziness, and nausea, i.e hangover syndrome.

Gut Dysfunctions

Alcohol makes your gut secrete more acidic juices that slow down the digestion process. That could cause constipation or diarrhea commonly seen in people suffering from a hangover.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Since alcohol penetrates all your cells easily, it can cause an electrolyte imbalance. Potassium and sodium are the two electrolytes most influenced by alcohol consumption and could make you feel anxious, irritable, and weak during your hangover.

Blood Sugar Discrepancies

Alcohol may also inhibit the production of insulin in the pancreas. This could have severe consequences on your blood sugar levels and create episodes of hypoglycemia that could be dangerous to your life.

Sleeping Difficulties

People who have a hangover from alcohol overconsumption cannot enjoy a night of deep sleep. That’s because alcohol interferes with the REM sleep that makes your brain cells recharge and blocks that procedure. Sleeping difficulties make you look tired and unable to focus on your work the next day.

Blood Vessels Over Dilation

Another common function of alcohol in your body is dilation vessels (both veins and arteries). This gives alcoholics the well-known “red face” and is responsible for headaches during the hangover period.

Which Drinks Can Cause The Worst Hangover?

Drinks with higher concentrations of fermented alcohol (congeners) are more likely to give you a hangover the next day. Such drinks are:

  • Whiskey
  • Bourbon
  • Red Wine

The congeners to blame are well-known substances like methanol, tannins, and acetaldehyde. These substances could be poisonous if consumed in large portions.  

People who drink “clear drinks” like vodka and gin are less likely to have a hangover since there is no fermented alcohol in their substance. Recent studies have shown that congeners are more likely to give worse hangovers than any other “clear drink” overconsumption. Of course, a hangover is only one of the harmful consequences of alcohol drinking, and certainly not the most severe one. Any type of drink could cause severe liver damage, and people should always limit alcohol consumption to one or two servings per week.

What Is The Average Duration of A Hangover?

Most of the people suffering from hangovers have seen their symptoms go away in less than 24 hours. However, many people could see a recurrent wave of hangover symptoms related to the kind of drink they consumed last night. People who have gastrointestinal discomfort may see those symptoms come back at night and get better through the day.

If the hangover symptoms go beyond the 24-hour threshold for any reason, you should immediately talk to your doctor. The alcoholic poisoning syndrome is less frequent, but it could be life-threatening if left unattended.

Hangover Relief Strategies

The best way to relieve yourself from a hangover is to drink a lot of water. People who drink water have more chances to pee their excessive alcohol that circulates freely in their bloodstream and feel better. Another way to relieve the headache would be to take some anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin or Ibuprofen. It has been proved that OTC pills are more likely to relieve headaches faster than any other remedy.

Finally, the best way to deal with a hangover is to sleep more and relax. By sleeping, you may leave your body to deal with electrolyte imbalances and let your liver metabolize the alcohol into neutral substances. New vitamins and supplements have been studied to offer you temporary relief from hangover symptoms. It’s up to you to drink alcohol responsibly and don’t let yourself be tortured from hangovers that could limit your ability to work and function in the following days.