As the cliché says, alcohols are the curse of the working classes, especially if you wake up in the morning with the feeling of a king size head and an aching stomach, tired and dizzy, measuring the cost and benefit relation between partying hard and suffering hangovers.

Drank a little too much last night?

5233928419_bc8d593d2a_oYou know those heavy mornings when you wake up with everything pulsing in your head, puzzle the pictures from last night’s party and promise not to lose control that much ever again? Yup, we all know it. And most of us have never kept that promise. Like some cosmic balance, after an excess with drinking, no matter how good it felt at that moment, you usually have to pay for it by various unpleasant symptoms tomorrow morning. Hangovers rise after the alcohol levels have dropped almost to zero and signs can last for even 24 hours. There is no precise formula to tell you how much alcohol you are allowed to drink and not to suffer the obvious consequences after that; the dose is highly individual. Some people end up drowsy after a single drink; some manage to dodge it even after drinking gallons. Fortunately, most hangovers go away spontaneously.

We All Know What It Looks Like

MigraineAlcohol levels drop to nearly zero after several hours, and then the tricky part starts. The symptoms usually occur in the morning, and the clinical picture depends on what have you drunk and how hard have you partied. Most people suffer headaches, thirst, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, dizziness with well know “spinning room” and hypersensitivity to noise and light. Alcohol makes you sleepy, but the quality of sleeping is decreased, so most people wake up tired and drained.

What causes hangover symptoms?

It’s almost a general truth that hangovers are induced by drinking too much alcohol. But there are several underlying mechanisms directly responsible for specific symptoms. The basis of everything is dehydration. Alcohol dehydrates various cells in the body and tissues react to that in the form of thirst and neurological signs. Increased production of urine worsens the dehydration. The toxic effect to the stomach lining and increased secretion of acid cause nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Hangovers usually go with headaches caused by dilated blood vessels in the brain. Also, alcohol is responsible for decreased levels of blood sugar and triggered an inflammatory response.

Things can go worse

Adriaen_Brouwer_-_Inn_with_drunken_peasantsHeavy drinking can turn into alcohol poisoning, which is a medical emergency and more dangerous situation than a hangover. It usually happens at very high doses of alcohol in the body leading to vital organs’ dysfunction. These people are often unconscious or confused; their breathing is shallow and irregular, as well as the heart beating. Body temperature can vary, the brain sometimes triggers seizures and kidneys can shut down. Any of these symptoms is a clear sign to take the person to ER.

Is time the only cure for a hangover?

soup-698639_960_720The honest answer would be – yes. Fortunately, there are some tricks you can apply to easy the symptoms and feel a little better. Fight systemic dehydration with increased drinking of water or some fruit juices and restore the levels of blood sugar with food or some crackers. Avoid fatty meals. Any soup can help you balance electrolytes. If you’re having a heavy headache, take some OTC painkillers. All the other symptoms will usually go away if you just sleep over it.

Can you dodge these unpleasant feelings somehow?

Well, responsible drinking, if drinking at all, is the surest way to avoid a hangover. But you can try to eat before drinking and drink slowly to slow down the absorption. Drink the water between the drinks and be aware that smoking cigarettes at the same time will potentate alcohol effects.