Health and medicine

Hangover – what it is, how it occurs and how to avoid it?

Hangover – what it is, how it occurs and how to avoid it?
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

The effects of alcohol abuse vary from person to person. Typically, a hangover manifests as headaches and dizziness, nausea and dehydration. It can also cause difficulty concentrating, hypersensitivity to light and noise, thirst, diarrhea, and fatigue. Sometimes it causes irritability, depression or feelings of anxiety

Direct effects of alcohol

The main cause of a hangover is drinking too much alcohol. The body processes one drink per hour – if you drink more, you have to expect unpleasant consequences.

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Alcohol has a diuretic effect. Therefore, its consumption leads to dehydration, manifested by dry mouth, headache, fatigue and nausea. The sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea that can occur from excessive drinking result in the loss of additional fluids and electrolytes

Alcohol abuse can irritate the stomach and intestines, causing gastritis and slowing gastric emptying. Additionally, it increases the risk of liver steatosis, as well as excessive production of hydrochloric acid and pancreatic and intestinal secretions

Alcohol consumption may also inhibit glucose production in the body and deplete its reserves stored in the liver. Glucose is the main source of energy for the brain, so a decrease in glucose often causes feelings of fatigue and mood disorders

What are some other effects of alcohol abuse?

Alcohol-induced sleep is usually shorter and of poorer quality. This is why you may experience fatigue during a hangover. In addition, alcohol often disrupts the rhythm of the daily body temperature, nightly secretion of growth hormones and cortisol. The aforementioned symptoms are usually accompanied by a headache caused by the expansion of blood vessels. Alcohol consumption also affects histamine, serotonin and prostaglandins. It is worth remembering that alcohol is metabolized by alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase, which break down the molecules, removing them from the body

Alcohol fermentation produces byproducts called congeners. Interestingly, they add flavor to many drinks with percentages. However, they intensify hangover symptoms. Drinks such as red wine and whiskey contain more congeners than lighter drinks such as white wine and vodka

You may also experience excessive sweating and muscle tremors during a hangover. According to research, even in a single evening, the brain adapts to alcohol, and once the blood alcohol content drops, a withdrawal state occurs

How to avoid a hangover?

Don’t drink on an empty stomach. If you can, eat a meal containing carbohydrates (like pasta, potatoes, rice) or healthy fats before the party

Drink water or a non-carbonated beverage in between drinks. The carbonation in carbonated drinks speeds up the absorption of alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic and therefore increases the risk of dehydration. By sipping water, you reduce the symptoms of dehydration, such as thirst, fatigue and headache.

Remember to drink in moderation. Otherwise, you have to expect to wake up with a big hangover in the morning. If you feel like snacking after the party, reach for easily digestible carbohydrates. This will raise your blood glucose levels, alleviating the symptoms of alcohol.

When you get home after an all-night party, fight your first instinct to lie down in a soft, comfortable bed. Instead, turn on an episode of your favorite show and spend an hour drinking water. When we sleep, our metabolism slows down considerably, making it harder for the body to process the alcohol we’ve consumed. If you want to avoid a morning hangover, drink plenty of water before you go to bed

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Effective ways to recover quickly

If you still wake up with a hangover in the morning despite all the preventive measures you have taken, there are a few ways you can help your body recover quickly. Remember to drink a lot. Reach for mineral water, coconut water and chamomile tea. Next, although you may not have an appetite, try to eat something. Your body needs calories to speed up your metabolism. Eggs contain a lot of cysteine, a substance that helps break down the toxin that causes hangovers. This refers to acetaldehyde.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

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