Self-Help for Hangovers

A hangover describes the group of adverse effects that occur after a person has drunk too much alcohol and the intoxicating effects of that alcohol have started to wear off.

Once the blood alcohol level significantly drops, the unpleasant symptoms a person might experience include nausea, headache, muscle ache, thirst, diarrhea, lethargy, stomach upset, and over sensitivity to light and sound. Psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, poor concentration, and feelings of irritability may also ensue.

Ethanol, the alcohol present in alcoholic drinks, works as a diuretic, causing the body to shed water in the form of urine. The more a person urinates, the more likely they are to become dehydrated and dehydration is one of the main contributors to hangover symptoms.

Preventing a Hangover

The only certain way to avoid a hangover is not to drink, but if a person does decide to drink, they should try to adhere to the following:

  • Limiting the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Keeping track of how much alcohol they are consuming and drinking slowly
  • Eating before drinking, which slows the rate of alcohol absorption in the body
  • Drinking water or non-fizzy, soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks
  • Drinking a glass of water before going to sleep

In order to minimize the risk of adverse health effects as a result of drinking alcohol, the following is advised:

  • Not drinking more than 14 units per week on a regular basis
  • Spreading alcohol consumption over the course of three days or more if drinking 14 units per week
  • Having several drink-free evenings every week when trying to reduce alcohol intake

Self-help Measures

There is no effective way of curing a hangover, but there are measures people can take to ease their symptoms. Examples include:

  • Rehydrating the body to help ease painful symptoms such as headache, abdominal pain, and muscle ache. The best time to drink water is before going to sleep.
  • Taking over-the-counter analgesics such as ibuprofen or aspirin to help reduce painful symptoms. Medications containing paracetamol are advisable over aspirin-based remedies, since aspirin can cause additional stomach irritation and contribute to nausea and vomiting.
  • Replenishing depleted levels of nutrition with vitamin- and mineral-rich foods such as bouillon soup.
  • Replenishing depleted bodily fluids by drinking bland drinks such as water or isotonic drinks. Drinking fresh juice can also provide a vitamin boost. Rehydration treatment sachets that restore depleted minerals and salt are also available.
  • Eating sugar-rich foods can reduce shakiness, but the stomach needs to be settled first by taking an antacid.
  • Going back to bed for long enough may mean the hangover will have passed on awakening.

“Hair of the Dog”

The expression “hair of the dog” refers to drinking more alcohol to alleviate hangover symptoms. This is not recommended as it can lead to morning drinking. Furthermore, by doing this, a person may simply be delaying the hangover symptoms until the blood alcohol level has dropped again.

When to Drink Next

Whether a person experiences a hangover or not after drinking, experts recommend waiting for at least two days before drinking alcohol again so that bodily tissues have a chance to recover.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2019

Sally Robertson

Written by

Sally Robertson

Sally has a Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Sciences (B.Sc.). She is a specialist in reviewing and summarising the latest findings across all areas of medicine covered in major, high-impact, world-leading international medical journals, international press conferences and bulletins from governmental agencies and regulatory bodies. At News-Medical, Sally generates daily news features, life science articles and interview coverage.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Robertson, Sally. (2019, February 26). Self-Help for Hangovers. News-Medical. Retrieved on October 17, 2019 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Self-Help-for-Hangovers.aspx.

  • MLA

    Robertson, Sally. "Self-Help for Hangovers". News-Medical. 17 October 2019. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/Self-Help-for-Hangovers.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Robertson, Sally. "Self-Help for Hangovers". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Self-Help-for-Hangovers.aspx. (accessed October 17, 2019).

  • Harvard

    Robertson, Sally. 2019. Self-Help for Hangovers. News-Medical, viewed 17 October 2019, https://www.news-medical.net/health/Self-Help-for-Hangovers.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
Post a new comment
Post