What is a hangover??

Alcohol often has an intoxicating effect on anyone who takes it. The degree of intoxication varies by individual and the quantity consumed. However, it is not just the intoxicating effects of alcohol that an individual has to worry about. The intoxication stops as soon as there is a drop in alcohol level in the blood until it reaches zero. This process comes with a side effect known as hangover.

Definition:

The psychological and physiological feelings associated with the significant decrease in the amount of alcohol in the blood stream or as the alcohol level nears zero. The implication is that as the intoxication caused by alcohol starts to wear off, the individual will start to feel the hangover symptoms.

Symptoms:

There are a number of symptoms that are associated. Some of the symptoms include

  • Increase in the rate of heartbeat
  • Irritability, anxiety, depression and other forms of mood disturbances
  • Inability to concentrate properly
  • Shakiness
  • Dizziness
  • Enhanced sound and light sensitivity
  • Decreased or poor sleep
  • Stomach pain, vomiting or nausea
  • Muscle aches and headaches
  • Dry mouth and excessive thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness and fatigue.

Factors that Contribute

  • Urinating: When you take alcohol, you tend to urinate more frequently. This contributes to dehydrating your body leading to lightheadedness, dizziness and thirst.
  • Immune System Inflammatory Response: Alcohol in the body results in the immune system causing an inflammatory response that could result in interest loss in certain activities, reduction in appetite, problems with memory and issues with concentration.
  • Stomach lining irritation: Stomach acid production is increased with the intake of alcohol. Furthermore, emptying of the stomach is delayed. These could result to vomiting, nausea and pain in the abdomen.
  • Fall in blood sugar: Alcohol could lead to low level of sugar in the blood thereby, causing seizures, mood swings, shakiness, weakness and fatigue.
  • Expansion in blood vessels: Headaches result due to expansion in blood vessels.

Measures to Reduce Effects:

Generally, the effects should end automatically within hours up to a maximum of 24 hours in majority of the instances. There is often no need to take any medication. However, a number of measures could be taken to reduce the effect.

As preventive measures, it is advisable to always ensure you do not take too much alcohol. Furthermore, you should ensure to eat properly before taking alcohol. This is because the rate at which alcohol is absorbed by the body reduces with food. Do not compete with people on alcohol consumption as it will make you drink more.

Furthermore, you should take a lot of soft drink or water when taking alcohol so that you do not feel dehydrated. You might also want to ensure that you drink earlier, so that you will suffer minimally the following morning.

If you are already having a hangover, you can take fresh juice to boost your vitamin level. Drinking water too should help. Furthermore, you can sort out your stomach by taking antacid. For headaches and muscle aches, a painkiller would be effective. Replace salt and lost minerals by taking a sachet of rehydration treatment.