Hangovers are an unfortunate consequence of drinking too much alcohol. They can cause a range of unpleasant physical and mental symptoms, including headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, dehydration, sensitivity to light and sound, poor concentration, anxiety and irritability. While there is no one-size-fits-all cure for a hangover, there are some steps you can take to help alleviate your symptoms and get rid of your hangover more quickly.
Causes of Hangover
Hangovers are caused by the body’s reaction to the toxic chemicals in alcohol known as congeners. These chemicals can irritate the stomach lining and cause dehydration which leads to headaches and other symptoms. Alcohol also interferes with sleep cycles which can contribute to fatigue and poor concentration the next day.
Prevention of Hangover
The best way to prevent a hangover is to drink in moderation or abstain from drinking altogether. If you do choose to drink alcohol, be sure to alternate alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic drinks such as water or juice throughout the night in order to stay hydrated. You should also eat before or while drinking in order to slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.
Home Remedies for Hangover
If you do find yourself suffering from a hangover there are some simple home remedies that may help alleviate your symptoms:
- Drink plenty of fluids – Water is best but sports drinks such as Gatorade can also help replenish electrolytes lost due to dehydration caused by alcohol consumption.
- Eat a good meal – Eating a balanced meal will help replenish nutrients lost during drinking and help stabilize blood sugar levels which can lead to improved energy levels and better concentration during the day following a night out drinking.
- Get some rest – Resting will help your body recover from the effects of alcohol consumption more quickly so try taking a nap or going back to bed if possible after experiencing a hangover.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever – Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve headache pain associated with hangovers but be sure not to take more than the recommended dose as this could be harmful for your health.
Over-the-Counter Medications for Hangover
There are several over-the-counter medications available that may provide relief from hangover symptoms:
- Antacids – Antacids such as Tums or Rolaids may provide relief from stomach upset caused by overindulgence in alcohol consumption by neutralizing acids in the stomach that irritate it when combined with alcohol consumption .
- Antiemetics – Antiemetics such as Dramamine or Bonine may provide relief from nausea associated with hangovers by blocking signals sent from nerves in the stomach that trigger vomiting when combined with alcohol consumption .
- Vitamins – Vitamins such as B complex vitamins may provide relief from fatigue associated with hangovers by helping replenish stores depleted through excessive drinking . Additionally vitamins C and E have been shown to reduce inflammation associated with excessive drinking .
Professional Help for Hangover
In severe cases where home remedies fail or if you experience any other concerning symptoms it is important that you seek medical attention immediately as this could be indicative of an underlying medical condition unrelated to excessive drinking . Additionally if you find yourself experiencing frequent hangovers it might be helpful for you consult with a doctor about ways that you can reduce your risk for developing them in the future .
Hangovers are an unfortunately common consequence of overindulging in alcohol consumption but thankfully there are steps that one can take both before and after consuming alcohol in order minimize their severity . The most important thing is that if any concerning symptoms arise it is important that one seeks professional medical attention immediately .
Barbara Weiss is a highly accomplished health expert with over 20 years of experience in the field. She is a certified physician assistant and a member of multiple professional organizations, including the American Academy of Physician Assistants.