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Physiology of a Hangover and Cures for Hangovers

Beyond Moderation: The Hangover

It happens to us all at some time or another, but with an expected frequency on New Year's Eve. We drink too much, and then we pay for it the next day. Are you hung up by your hangover?

Well, let me explain what is going on with your body and help you figure out ways to deal with the problems at hand.

Symptom: Dehydration
Your throat and mouth are dry due to dehydration, which is caused by the diuretic properties of alcohol. The dehydration also affects your muscles making them feel weak.
Cure: Drink plenty of water, all day long!

Symptom: Sour Stomach
The excessive alcohol irritates the lining of the stomach causing nausea and sour stomach. The inflammation delays digestion, which in turn, contributes to the feelings of nausea.
Cure: Take some Alka Seltzer or eat some mild foods.

Symptom: Irritability
Your liver gets backed up trying to metabolize all the alcohol so you might be experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia (that's a fancy term for low blood sugar), meaning you are highly irritable and moody.
Cure: Eat some food and drink some juice.

Symptom: Jangled Nerves
Your central nervous system becomes chemically over excited causing sensitivity to light, sound and touch.
Cure: Rest with an eye pillow and soothing music.

Symptom: Headache
Blood vessels in the brain dilate and that is what is causing that throbbing headache, which is only exacerbated by your dehydration mentioned above.
Cure: Take some OTC (over the counter) pain medication.

Sleepy and Sleepless: Your pituitary gland becomes confused and releases the wrong amounts of the hormones that regulate sleep. So while you may want to sleep it off, your sleep pattern is severely disrupted.
Cure: Try some Sleepytime Extra Tea fortified with Valerian root to help you sleep.

The only real cure for a hangover is time. Physical activity can help, too. Take a walk or jog and sweat a bit to help get the alcohol out of your blood. Fear not, the after effects of your partying should only linger for about 24 hours. Tomorrow is another day.

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ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 8 years
I've had only ONE hangover in my whole life and havn't drank since...My boyfriend and I had one of those "drunk" fights...so I vowed never to drink again and I feel great...I was actually pressured into drinking every time I drank (which has been like 10 times my whole life), now I'm like HELL NO! =D The cure for hangovers is to have a little alcohol in the morning. Like a wine cooler...it works
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 8 years
I've had only ONE hangover in my whole life and havn't drank since...My boyfriend and I had one of those "drunk" fights...so I vowed never to drink again and I feel great...I was actually pressured into drinking every time I drank (which has been like 10 times my whole life), now I'm like HELL NO! =DThe cure for hangovers is to have a little alcohol in the morning. Like a wine cooler...it works
wren1 wren1 8 years
I get irritable and jangled nerves. I try to work out and sweat it out. This works so well for me, and I feel like I'm atoning for putting junk into my body, like I'm rebalancing.
emalove emalove 8 years
I hate hangovers and always get them whenever I have more than 3 drinks or so. Usually I just get a massive headache and feel dehydrated, but sometimes I have the whole nausea thing too. That's the worst! Thanks for these tips!
bluesuze bluesuze 8 years
^oops I meant hangover cure, not headache cure
bluesuze bluesuze 8 years
I found this headache "cure" once. It's not really a cure, but it does seem to help. You make a milkshake with honey, milk and a bananna. I can't exactly remember why it helps, I think the honey is a simple sugar so it helps w/hypoglycemia, the milk settles your stomach and then the potassium from the bananna does something. Anyway, when I have a hangover this is what I make the next morning. I guess I need to look for my blender now.
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