A hangover is a collection of signs and symptoms linked to a recent bout of heavy drinking. A person with a hangover typically experiences a headache, feels sick, dizzy, sleepy, confused, and thirsty.
Hangovers can occur at any time of day, but are usually more common in the morning directly after a night of heavy drinking.
As well as physical symptoms, the person may experience elevated levels of anxiety, regret, shame, embarrassment, and depression. The severity of a hangover is closely linked to how much alcohol was consumed, and whether the sufferer had enough sleep; the less sleep, the worse the hangover.
It is impossible really to say how much alcohol can be safely consumed to avoid a hangover – it depends on the individual and other factors, such as how tired they were before they began drinking, whether they were already dehydrated before the drinking began, whether they drank plenty of water during their drinking session, and how much sleep they got afterward.Fast facts on hangovers:
- Hangovers are caused by overconsumption of alcohol.
- Symptoms include headache, nausea, sensitivity to light, and fatigue.
- The best method of prevention is to drink alcohol in moderation, or avoid it altogether.
- The most effective cures are rest, rehydration, and sleep.
Unfortunately not. Symptoms can be alleviated by drinking water, replacing electrolytes in the body through food, and resting. In the vast majority of cases, hangovers go away after about 24 hours. Responsible drinking can help avoid hangovers.
There is no “treatment” for a hangover – the best way to avoid one is either not to drink, or to drink sensibly and within the recommended limits. Our article what is the best hangover cure? features some of the common myths and suggests some methods of prevention.
A hangover has to run its course, and that can be best done with rest, drinking plenty of water, perhaps some painkillers, and simply waiting.
Do not go for a “hair of the dog” – an alcoholic drink to get rid of a hangover. This is a myth, and will likely just prolong hangover symptoms.
The following tips may help:
Drink: Sip water throughout the day. Water is the best fluid.
Eating: Go for bland foods, such as crackers or bread, which may raise blood sugar and are easy on the stomach. Fructose-containing foods might help metabolize (break down and get rid of) the alcohol more rapidly.
Pain: Some people may take a painkiller. Be aware that certain painkillers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, paracetamol) attack the liver in high concentrations, while aspirin might not be ideal for a very delicate stomach. If you are not sure what to choose, ask a qualified pharmacist.
Rest: Sleep may help speed up recovery. Have some water next to the bed.
In short, you should not drink more than you know your body can handle.