A hangover refers to a set of signs and symptoms that are often unpleasant and result from the overconsumption of alcohol. Hangovers are typically associated with poor performances, personal conflicts or work conflicts.
Generally, the more alcohol a person consumes, the more are his chances of having a hangover the following day. However, there is no exact amount that can be considered safe to prevent a hangover the next day.
Even though hangovers can be unpleasant, they tend to go sway without medical treatment – typically lasting for no more than 24 hours. Make sure you consume alcohol more responsibly to avoid hangovers in the future.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of hangovers typically result when the blood alcohol levels drop to near zero. This effect takes makes an appearance usually the next morning after drinking heavily.
Depending on how much you drank and how you drank the previous day, symptoms and signs may include the following:
- Muscle aches
- Stomach aches
- Lack of sleep
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased sensitivity to sound or light
- Bloodshot eyes
- Impaired concentration
- Depression, irritability or anxiety
When to seek medical advice
See your doctor if you feel that your habit of drinking too frequently or heavily is stopping you from enjoying your life or is affecting your personal or professional life.
Treatment for drug or alcohol abuse and dependence is available for people who are not able to control drinking.
Severe signs and symptoms may signify alcohol poisoning, which is a life-threatening problem, requiring emergency help.
Call 911 or a local emergency number if the person has the following problems:
- Persistent vomiting
- Confusion or stupor
- Irregular breathing
- Slow breathing
- Pale or blue-tinged skin
- Low body temperature
Anyone who consumes alcohol can have a hangover; however, some situations and conditions make certain people more susceptible to hangovers than others:
- Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach
- Taking other drugs such as nicotine with alcohol
- Improper sleep after drinking
- Consumption of alcohol that is darker in color than others (such as brandy, borbon, tequila, scotch, red wine and beer). Lighter colored alcohols such as light beers, vodka and gin may have a milder effect on your body
- A family history of alcohol dependence
The following tips may help you feel better during a hangover:
- Sip water or a nice fruit juice. This will prevent dehydration.
- Do not drink more alcohol to treat a hangover, this will simply exacerbate the problem
- Have a snack such as toast or crackers to boost your blood sugar levels. Honey or fruit juice can help faster
- Take an over the counter pain killer. This may help relieve headaches. However, take acetaminophen and aspirin in caution as they may result in further complications if taken excessively with alcohol
- Sleep. If you sleep well and long enough, you may recover from symptoms by the time you are awake