Hangovers (also called alcohol overindulgence) refer to the unpleasant symptoms a person may develop following excessive alcohol consumption. A hangover usually goes away by itself though it may sometimes last for up to 24 hours. Repeated hangovers may cause social and work-related problems such as repeated absence from work, conflicts with coworkers, falling asleep in the middle of the day, and inability to complete tasks.
A person who chooses to drink alcohol must do so responsibly to avoid future hangovers. The general rule is that the more alcohol a person drinks, the more likely they are to develop a hangover. However, no magic number exists that works for everyone to indicate the amount a person can drink without causing a hangover.
What causes a hangover?
Dehydration is the main cause of the symptoms of a hangover and this is where intravenous (IV) hydration therapy from Vida-Flo comes into play. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes a person to frequently urinate causing that person to lose substantial amounts of fluid from their body, in turn leading to dehydration.
Additionally, alcohol triggers inflammatory reactions in the immune system, causes blood sugar levels to drop, irritates the internal lining of the stomach, makes a person sleepy while blocking deep sleep stages and causes blood vessels to dilate. These reactions combined with dehydration lead to the various symptoms associated with a hangover.
What are the risk factors that lead to developing hangovers?
A single drink might cause a hangover for someone, while heavy drinking might not for another. Therefore, it is important to reiterate the importance of drinking responsibly and understanding your risk factors and your body if you decide to drink alcohol. This is because genetic factors may affect the way alcohol is metabolized in your body.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism develop slowly over several years and include:
- Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach increases the rate of absorption of alcohol.
- Having a family history of alcoholism may suggest inherited abnormalities of alcohol metabolism.
- Drinking dark-colored alcoholic beverages such as brandy, scotch and bourbon. These contains so-called congeners that increase the likelihood of developing a hangover by irritating the blood vessels and brain tissues.
- Concurrent smoking or drug-use appear to contribute to the occurrence of hangovers.
- A smaller person is more easily affected by alcohol compared to a larger person.
Symptoms of a hangover
Hangovers usually develop the morning after a night of heavy drinking. They begin when alcohol levels in the blood drop significantly to zero or near-zero level. Symptoms vary and include:
- Headache and dizziness.
- Muscle pains.
- Weakness and fatigue with an inability to sleep.
- Stomach pains that may be associated with nausea and vomiting.
- Having a dry mouth.
- Sensitivity to sound and light.
- Inability to focus and concentrate.
- Feeling anxious, shaky, or depressed.
When should someone ask for help?
Once one becomes concerned or self-aware of having repeated hangovers or frequent heavy drinking episodes especially if it affects one’s personal relationships, financial status or performance at work then one should talk to their doctor for guidance. Several tools and treatment options are available to help.
How to treat a hangover?
Time is the ultimate healer of a hangover. However, there are many things you can do to help a person feel better, including:
- Visiting a Vida-Flo location to receive IV hydration therapy which will eliminate and cure a hangover in minutes. This is because the 1000 mL saline or Ringer’slactate bag of Vida-Flo is equivalent to drinking 2.5 gallons of water. Additionally, targeted prescription medications are added to the bag to effectively relieve headaches (by Toradol ®), nausea (by Zofran ®),and heartburn (by Pepcid ®).
- Eating a bland or sugary snack such as toast or crackers to help settle the stomach and increase blood sugar levels.
- Bouillon soup, a vegetablebroth, is a good source of vitamins and minerals that is suitable for the sensitive stomach during hangovers to digest.
- Taking an over-the-counter pain killer might be useful. However, this should follow medical advice as excessive use of acetaminophen may cause liver damage and aspirin may irritate the already sensitive stomach.
- DO NOT DRINK MORE ALCOHOL IF YOU HAVE A HANGOVER. It will not help and will only delay the symptoms of a hangover and make things water.
- Avoid drinking alcohol for 48 hours following a hangover.
- Sleep it out.