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What Is a Hangover?

Person struggling with a hangover

Do you have regular hangovers? Do you ever wonder what a hangover is? A hangover is never fun and can be a sign of alcohol misuse. If you experience frequent hangovers, getting help is vital because alcohol use disorder can become dangerous when untreated.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol use, contact Vertava Health to learn about our alcohol rehab center. Our team can provide you with the resources and support you need to recover. Contact us at 844.470.0410 to learn more.

What Is a Hangover?

So what is a hangover, exactly? A hangover is the experience of various unpleasant physiological and psychological effects following the consumption of alcohol. They can last for several hours or for more than 24 hours. The severity of a hangover depends on:

  • How much alcohol was consumed
  • How quickly it was consumed
  • The individual’s tolerance to alcohol

What Causes a Hangover?

There are several theories about what causes hangovers, but the most likely cause is a combination of factors:

  • Dehydration — One of the most common theories is that hangovers are caused by dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes the body to lose water. The more alcohol that is consumed, the more dehydrated the body becomes.
  • Electrolyte imbalance — Alcohol can also cause an electrolyte imbalance. This is because it prevents the body from absorbing glucose, which is necessary for electrolyte balance.
  • Sleep deprivation — Alcohol can disrupt sleep, which can lead to fatigue and increased sensitivity to light and sound.

What Are the Symptoms of a Hangover?

Processing alcohol requires energy output from your body. Processing these great amounts of alcohol exerts an even more significant strain on your organs. Due to this, and for the reasons we explained above, a person will often experience discomfort and a sense of malaise, even after their blood alcohol content has returned to zero.

Symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased pulse
  • A sense of weakness or tiredness
  • Shakiness
  • Impaired dexterity or troubles with your equilibrium
  • Poor reaction time
  • Impaired visual-spatial perception
  • Depression and anxiety

More Causes of Hangover

As with any substance use, the exact impact varies from person to person. These factors may include your weight, your gender, the condition of your liver, your ethnicity, your level of hydration before, during, and after drinking, if you ate anything during these same periods and the amount and frequency by which you drank. People that suffer from migraines manifest a greater instance of hangovers. Medications can also affect this due to their ability to alter your body’s chemistry and ability to metabolize the alcohol.

How to Avoid Hangovers

There are several ways to avoid hangovers:

  • Drink in moderation — The best way to avoid a hangover is to drink in moderation. This means limiting yourself to one or two drinks per day.
  • Stay hydrated — Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after drinking alcohol. This will help to prevent dehydration.
  • Eat before drinking — Eating a meal before drinking can help to slow the absorption of alcohol.
  • Avoid dark liquors — Darker liquors, such as whiskey and brandy, contain more congeners than lighter liquors, such as vodka and gin. Congeners are impurities that are produced during the fermentation process. These impurities can contribute to the severity of a hangover

Consider Alcohol Rehab at Vertava Health

If you are struggling with alcohol use, consider Vertava Health’s alcohol rehab. We can help can you back on track to living a healthy, sober life. Contact us today at 844.470.0410 to learn more about the physiological and psychological effects of alcohol misuse.