How to Feel Better When Hungover: The Definitive Guide

Stop me if this sounds familiar. You are out with friends and you decide to have ‘one drink’, next thing you know you are getting up with a splitting headache and swearing off alcohol for the rest of your life. If you are like me – I mean – if this sounds as if it has happened to you or someone you know then that experience is known colloquially as a hangover. Technically, a hangover is caused when your liver attempts to break down the excess ethanol in your body caused by the addition of alcohol. The liver creates acetaldehyde, a quite toxic byproduct, which then triggers all the symptoms hangovers are famous for. The raised level of cytokines, proteins which are critical for the messaging between cells of our immune system, leads directly to inflammation. The other symptoms include but are not limited to: nausea, fatigue, upset stomach, headaches and shivers (chills). Cytokines overactivity could also be tied to the memory loss that happens often when alcohol is imbibed. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to alleviate the effects of hangovers. Maybe all a person needs is for enough time to pass, however if that is not an option, a person could try the following: Drinking fruit juice or water to combat possible dehydration if dehydration persists then google IV therapy near me to check those available options, boosting blood sugar by having a snack, taking a pain reliever (although efforts should be made to avoid ones that contain acetaminophen as its prolonged use is linked to liver damage) or trying to see if the person affect could try ‘sleep it off’.   Going more in depth into these remedies, there are logical reasons why some of them work while some are considered purely a work of fiction passed down for generations. This guide will aim to explore them all plus provide tips that are sure to prevent hangovers from even happening.

Ways to Prevent Hangovers

Making sure that you take care of your body during a night out should be job number one. This could mean alternating between an alcoholic drink and a glass of water. This should go some way to decreasing the amount of alcohol within the body while helping to directly combat the dehydration that normally comes with a spike in alcohol intake. Because alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases the production of urine, drinking water will directly replenish the electrolytes and fluids a properly functioning body needs. One should continue drinking water the day after, the night out, to keep all the normal thirst, fatigue, headache, and dizziness symptoms from a hangover away. 

Of course knowing what to drink is another important way to preempt any potential for a hangover. Certain select studies have found that consuming beverages high in congeners could increase the frequency and severity of hangovers. And what are congeners you might be wondering. Well, as a result of the distilling and fermenting process, congeners are the minor toxic compounds other than ethanol that occur naturally in alcohol beverages. These congeners are: methanol which breaks down into formaldehyde and formic acid, furfuryl that stops yeast from metabolizing, tannins which are found in wine and contain antioxidants, acetaldehyde this is a toxic substance that is a byproduct of the breakdown of ethanol and fusel oil which is created during the distillation process for alcoholic spirits. Congeners are harmful because they slow the metabolism of alcohol, which can prolong hangover symptoms. The greatest quantities of congeners are found in dark liquors. Cognac, brandy, red wine, dark whiskey and bourbon are what is considered as dark liquor. Combining these types of alcohol with mixers have been known to make the effects of congeners more pronounced and longer lasting. Which means if you are a conscientious drinker you should think about trying to incorporate more light liquors in their routine. Specifically because of the lower levels of congeners found in spirits like: sake, light beers vodka, gin, light rum, and white wine. Pure tequila, as opposed to normal mixed tequilas, also do not have as many congeners contained within it. Although the science is clear, it would be foolhardy for those who indulge not to be aware of their respective limits when enjoying alcohol. Moderation when drinking is probably the most surefire way to prevent hangovers.  

How To Deal With Hangovers

However, if there is a situation where a person might be feeling ill effects from a hangover. There are several tried and tested ways to alleviate the hangover symptoms. The first way has been affectionately called the hair of the dog. Short for the “hair of the dog that bit you”, which came from the method of treating a bite from a dog afflicted with rabies. A person was supposed to take the hair from the rabid dog and administer it directly on the wound. Which is quite the juxtaposition when you think about it because having an alcoholic drink in the morning after a night of drinking would definitely be akin to taking hair from the very same dog who bit you in the first place. The science behind this method is not as outlandish as it might seem. The idea is to raise the body’s blood alcohol level and boost its endorphins so as to delay the effects of hangovers. Unfortunately this only delays the inevitable crash which is bound to come about when blood alcohol level returns to zero. Not a foolproof method by any means but it certainly has been known to help a few people. 

Because one of the main issues that arises with hangovers is dehydration. Rehydrating the body is extremely important. It might be as easy as getting a glass of water from the fridge or if you are vomiting then trying more hydration targeted beverages such as Gatorade and Powerade should help replenish lost electrolytes and add carbohydrates to the body. There are even more specialized hydration treatment options for people with more serious dehydration issues. Therapy using the intravenous (I.V.) method is quite the popular way of dealing with dehydration. Nutrients are administered directly into a person’s vein, currently the fastest way to get fluids in the blood circulatory system. The most common type of I.V. fluid is the crystalloid solution which contains tiny dissolved molecules that travel easily through the bloodstream and into the body’s tissues and cells. Saline (salt and water) and D5W (dextrose, a form of sugar, and water) are examples of crystalloid solutions. IV hydration hangover treatments can come in many forms, mostly blending the I.V. fluid with vitamins and electrolytes. Depending on how severe the dehydration, choices will be made as to what type of medication to pair with the I.V. and how strong the dosage or how many kinds of drugs to combine. 

Another pretty simple hangover quick fix is eating properly. Remember acetaldehyde, the toxic congener created by the breakdown of ethanol, eating eggs should help to directly combat that. Eggs are chock-full with the amino acid, cysteine, used by the body to produce glutathione. Glutathione is used to break down the acetaldehyde built up by the presence of lots of alcohol. Sunflower seeds, cheese, walnuts, chicken, turkey and other foods known for their high protein also contain tons of cysteine. Raspberries, Blueberries and Strawberries are rich with vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant which counteracts the oxidative stress caused by an overabundance of alcohol. Because it is rich in carbohydrates, bread, specifically white bread because it is easier to digest, is important to have while managing the bouts of vomiting that are sometimes a feature of the more serious hangover episodes. Cabbage and kale encourage bile to flow freely through the liver which helps to remove alcohol created toxins in the body. Just like there are foods to seek out while dealing with a hangover, there are certainly ones to avoid as their composition has ingredients that only make the hangover worse. Greasy foods like sausages, bacon and other foods that are fatty are prone to leave a person feeling sluggish because it hinders the process of the body’s breakdown of alcohol.

Finally, trying to get the best rest possible is a great way to combat the effects of a hangover. While it will be difficult, primarily because alcohol tends to disrupt restful sleep, it is very important for someone who is feeling the after effects of a hangover to get some good sleep. Sleeping speeds up the detoxification process that your body needs to get rid of toxins built up by the excess of alcohol in the bloodstream. 

It is important to note every hangover is different and should be treated as such. Knowing your body’s limits is key to combating all that will be thrown at it while it seeks to recover from some of the negative effects of slightly overzealous alcohol consumption.         

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