What is a Hangover?
A hangover is a mixture of unpleasant symptoms that occur after drinking too much alcohol. A hangover usually occurs the morning after a night out but it can also occur on the same night itself. Unfortunately there is no set rule as to how many drinks will constitute a hangover or how severe the symptoms will be as everyone reacts individually. What can be said however is that the more an individual drinks, the worse their symptoms will be.
As alcohol is a toxic substance the symptoms of a hangover are caused by the body being unable to rid the toxins efficiently. This is because alcohol dehydrates the body, and the liver requires water to remove the toxins. In order for the liver to do its job it will take water from other organs such as the brain which is what causes the hangover symptoms.
The symptoms of a hangover can include one or more of the following:
• Muscle aches
• Stomach pain
• Nausea and vomiting
• Anxiety, depression or irritability
• Sensitivity to sound and light
Hangover symptoms usually begin to occur when the body alcohol level returns to 0 which is usually several hours after drinking the last alcohol drink. The symptoms of a hangover can last anywhere from a few hours to over a day and symptoms will vary from hangover to another.
One of the best hangover remedies is to just not drink alcoholic drinks at all; however drinking modestly is also a way to prevent the hangover symptoms described above. Drinking to the point of intoxication is sure to lead to a bad hangover the next day. There are a number of hangover cures that are often talked about but how many of these actually work is a different matter – in fact some of these are actually proven to make a hangover worse. The following are definitely not the best hangover cures and are best avoided unless you want to feel worse:
• Hair of the dog – whilst drinking another alcoholic drink will prevent the onset of a hangover, this is still a bad idea as you are only delaying the inevitable. Plus your liver will not be best impressed.
• Black coffee – this may seem to work but the hangover relief will be short. Coffee is a diuretic and is sure to dehydrate you further.
• Burnt toast – whilst carbon is included in some of the over the counter hangover remedies, the carbon found on burnt toast is not activated and hence does not work in the same way.
• Greasy or fried foods – This is a great hangover remedy if you actually eat it before you start drinking. Eating greasy or fried foods in the midst of a hangover is a bad idea though and will only lead to stomach upsets.
So keep away from the bad hangover cures mentioned above and instead try some of the following. These are some of the best hangover cures and are known to help relieve the symptoms of a hangover:
• Hangover soup – Bouillon soup is highly recommended and is a great alternative to solid hangover food. Bouillon soup replaces both potassium and salt which can help even the most severe hangovers.
• Fruit juice – Fruit juice contains a variety of vitamins and minerals which can help your body to get rid of toxins at a faster rate and increase your energy levels.
• Eggs – Another great hangover food, eggs can actively help your body to rid itself of alcohol toxins.
• Water and Sports Drinks – both of these can help to rehydrate you which should provide hangover relief for some of the symptoms described above, most notably the headache. Sports drinks in particular are especially good as they contain potassium which can help your body to restore electrolytes.
• Medicine – over the counter medications can help to relieve the symptoms of a hangover however none will squash the symptoms completely. Keep away from aspirin, ibuprofen and Tylenol and stick to paracetamol unless you want to risk further problems down the line.
Time is the best hangover cure but drinking as much water as possible before you drink alcohol, whilst you are drinking alcohol and the next morning will help to relieve the symptoms experienced. As you can notice, there are many remedies for a hangover, however in our opinion, the best remedy will still be stopping from drinking and getting treatment at an alcohol rehabilitation center.