Hangover Cures Help
Vacations are a chance to relax and unwind, they invite the opportunity to forget the rules and indulge. On a diet back home? When you area away it is easier to bend the rules and hit up that great buffet across from the hotel. Trying to control yourself at the hotel’s bar? Vacations can cause the willpower to decrease. While in moderation this is not a bad thing, if the willpower loss is not kept in check, especially in the area of drinking, the trip can take on a painful vide very quickly. When you over indulge on the alcohol, your body has a natural response that is designed to remind you not to do it again. Many people however have either learned to deal with it or chalk it up to an unpleasant side effect of drinking. This natural defense is called the hangover.
Hangovers have been around for as long as people have had access to alcoholic drinks in all of their forms and flavors. The scientific name for a hangover is Veisalgia. This term comes from the Norwegian word, kevis, which means ‘uneasiness following debauchery’ and the Greek word, algia, which means ‘pain.’ When you consider the classic symptoms of a hangover, this is perhaps one of the most fitting names. Symptoms for a hangover vary from person to person and on the situation and the amount and concentration of alcohol involved. Someone who has a mild hangover to beer may have a mega hangover after drinking too much whisky. Some of the most common symptoms of a hangover include: headache, muscle ache, fatigue, dizziness, irritability, paranoia, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate, anxiety, increased blood pressure, sweating, lack of concentration, decreased coordination, light and sound sensitivity, as well as difficulty sleeping. Amazingly, several research studies have shown that as many as 25-30% of people who regularly consume alcoholic beverages are naturally immune to the effects of a hangover. This means that they do not get a hang over after drinking or have a very mild case that does not interfere with their normal lives and routines. I can say from firsthand experience that the few times I have over indulged that I am not one of those lucky souls, but I have known people who are.
One of the biggest questions asked by those who love to drink is some form of the question- how do I prevent a hangover or how do I get rid of one quickly? To answer this, we must first understand why our bodies give us the hangover in the first place. I have a friend who did research on the effects of alcohol on the human body as part of her early research for medical school. She has shared a wealth of information with me and I am going to pass this on to you so that you too can understand why you get a hangover. Alcohol causes you to produce more urine which leads to frequent visits to the bathroom. This in turn can dehydrate you- the leading cause of the dizziness and confusion that accompanies the hangover. Too much alcohol in the blood stream impairs mental abilities such as concentration, appetite and digestion, and blood sugar drop. These all contribute to the unsteady feet, mental slowness, and the drowsiness. Headaches are caused by the expanding of the blood vessels and an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as they body seeks to overcompensate for the alcohol. Finally, the alcohol’s chemical makeup can irritate the stomach and intestines which leads the nausea and vomiting. Because of the stress it puts on the body and the negative effects, your body tries to warn you with the onset of symptoms, When these are ignored and you get wasted, your body responds with a louder message about how much it dislikes what is being done. Simply put, your body is yelling at you for putting too much alcohol into it.
Personally, I have never seen much fun or interest in drinking excessively. I will have a glass with friends over dinner and I may indulge in a nice mixed drink or a sweet cream liquor for a special occasion, but I can pretty much count on one hand the number of times I have gotten drunk to the point of having a hangover. I have however, seen firsthand the stumbling and bumbling messes friends and acquaintances become when they hit the bottle a little too hard. I have seen dinner parties ruined, and several days of a nice vacation destroyed die to hangovers. So I wanted to gather together some of the best and most popular remedies for reducing the onslaught of a hangover and for helping get rid of one fast if it does hit you in the morning.
Easy Steps for Prevention
Drink water– Alcohol dehydrates the body. The more you drink, despite the amount of liquid you are outing into your body, you are becoming more and more dehydrated. This can cause tissues around the brain and stomach to construct which causes the headaches and nausea. Drinking water throughout the night can help reduce the likelihood of becoming dehydrated. A good idea is that for every ounce of alcohol you should drink the same amount of water.
Eat and drink – Alcohol affects us when it gets into our blood stream and starts impacting our major organs. The stomach is a prime place for absorption because that is what the stomach is designed to do- absorb nutrients from food. When you drink on an empty stomach, there is nothing to slow the absorption of the alcohol. So eat a meal before heading out or snack throughout the night to try and keep food in your stomach to help slow the absorption rate.
Keep it classy and light– Stay away from dark colored drinks as they have a higher concentration of the head ache inducing filler known as congeners. Also, cheaper drinks will have more of this filler in them too. By going with the slightly more expensive drinks and opting for light colors, you can help stave off a hangover or at least help keep it from being so bad.
Try vitamins and electrolytes– When we get dehydrated from drinking we lose not only water but the vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes our body needs to function properly. There are several ways to keep these levels in check. One is to take a multi vitamin before drinking to boost the levels before you start depleting them. You can also try to work in some ginger teat- especially the morning after. Another great drink, believe it or not, is pickle juice. Pickles have water, vinegar, and salt which are great for restoring the balance back to your system.
Avoid the alcohol all together– The only guaranteed way to prevent a hangover is to never put yourself in the position to get one. Playing the role of the designated driver, even if you are not eh driver, will guarantee you a hangover free morning.
Know thy limits– This goes not just for your wallet but also your body. If you know you start getting tipsy after three glasses, then stop at three- not six. If you know you are prone to killer headaches and that you have an important meeting at work in the morning, then exercise some willpower and go with the weak stuff or pass on the alcohol totally. Go easy on the throttle and spread the drinks out. If you know your limit is three, don’t drink all three in the first hour- you will be too tempted to keep drinking throughout the evening. Instead, stretch out the drinks so you can enjoy a full night without going over your limit. Finally, keep it to one type of drink. Bombarding your systems with four drinks, all of different beverages, can worsen he reactions and lead to a stronger and longer lasting headache the next morning.
Easy Steps for Treatment
Drink– No, not more alcohol, but rather drink water and a sports drink. This will help rehydrate you and restore those electrolytes that you lost during all that drinking and all those bathroom visits. Water, sports drinks, juices, teas, are all good- stay away from more alcohol and sodas and they will just dehydrate you further.
Eat big– eat something starchy and fatty and it can help reduce the stomach issues and cut down the severity of the hangover. It doesn’t have to be a full meal, even a few slices of pizza, a sandwich, or an order of French fries can help.
Eat little– If your stomach is too flip floppy to handle a big meal, try snacking on some crackers, juice, coffee, or some toast with butter. Getting a little something into your stomach can help absorb the alcohol and allow it to be processed by your body more slowly and easily.
Sleep– the best thing to do for your body is to give it time to recover from the abuse you put it through. Sleeping a hangover off is the fastest and easiest method of dealing with one. If this is an option for you- no work or plans the following day- stay in bed and try to sleep it off.
Medicate– if the nausea is getting too bad or the head ache is pounding too much, try taking some pain medicine. Anti-nausea medicine can help calm the stomach and pain pills can help dull the pain of the headache and soreness- just be sure it is not acetaminophen because of the potential for liver damage when combined with alcohol.
Get a move on- Getting up and moving, no matter how much your body protests, can help ease the hangover and get you over it quickly. Even light exercise helps burn the alcohol out of your system faster. Exercise can also release endorphins, the hormones that are responsible for making you feel good.
With these two lists in hand, you can face that next office party, hotel endless bar, or late night with friends. Take the steps necessary to keep yourself from getting the hangover of your life and find ways to get over it quickly should one find you anyways. Whatever you do, just please don’t overdo it, your non-drinking friends will appreciate the night with you so much more!
Many Thanks to Sarah Jo Coryell for her great assistance in writing this fine article.