What is a Hangover?

A hangover is a collection of unpleasant symptoms that can be experienced after drinking too much alcohol. Common hangover symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, thirst, and sensitivity to light and sound. Hangover symptoms can last for several hours to several days. Hangovers can occur after drinking alcohol in any amount.

What Causes a Hangover?

The cause of the hangover is not fully understood, but several factors are believed to play a role. These include the amount and type of alcohol consumed, genetics, gender, age, overall health, fatigue, dehydration, and the presence of other drugs in the system.

Preventing Hangovers

To avoid hangovers, the best approach is to moderate one's alcohol intake. Even moderate amounts of alcohol can cause hangovers. Other tips for preventing hangovers may include avoiding dehydration by drinking plenty of water, avoiding getting overly tired, avoiding mixing different types and amounts of alcohol, and avoiding sugary or carbonated drinks. It is important to remember that no one is immune to hangovers and that they can occur even when taking precautions.

Treating Hangovers

There is no known cure for a hangover, but many of the symptoms can be treated or relieved. Drinking plenty of water and fluids is important for hydration, and electrolyte drinks may help replenish lost salts and minerals. Some people find relief with over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, anti-nausea medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Eating a balanced meal and avoiding additional alcoholic beverages can also help.

Avoiding Dangerous Hangovers

It is important to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning and seek medical attention if needed. The signs of alcohol poisoning include confusion, difficulty staying conscious, slurred speech, improved or uncontrolled emotional responses, vomiting, slow or irregular breathing, and/or seizures. Mixing alcohol with other drugs or medications can lead to severe health problems that can even result in death.

Ways to Avoid Hangovers

  • Drink water in between alcoholic beverages.
  • Eat before and during drinking.
  • Avoid mixing alcohols.
  • Avoid sugary and carbonated drinks.
  • Drink more slowly.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Get enough sleep and rest.
  • Avoid drinking on an empty stomach.