Getting Rid of a Hangover: How To


Getting Rid of a Hangover: What Causes Hangovers, Anyway?

By S. Michael Windsor

Those dreaded hangovers are something people have been dealing with for thousands and thousands of years. However, many of those individuals never really figured out what was causing them…and neither do many people now.

If a person was able to figure out just what causes a hangover, wouldn’t it be fair to say that they can be eliminated almost completely? It’s true. There are many ways to avoid them, but let’s first look at how they are caused.

First, a hangover is basically a series of unpleasant symptoms directly linked to the over consumption of alcohol, as well as other substances and lack thereof (i.e. water). Most of us know the common symptoms including headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, irritability, grogginess and so on. But each of these symptoms are actually caused by contributions fro many different things such as vitamin B12 deficiency, and lack of hydration. The symptoms can last from say an hour all the way into a few days for some people. Ouch!

Some of the main causes of a hangover are due to dehydration, drinking too much too fast,

carbonated drinks, drinking on an empty stomach, congeners, acetaldehyde, vitamin B12 deficiency and more. We will go over the more apparent symptoms here.

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate…regularly. This constant urination actually is one of the main causes of your headache in the morning. The headaches are often caused by dehydration. When you urinate often, you lose water. Many people forget to consume water when out drinking and this can lead to quite some pain the next day. Your body needs water in order to process to alcohol, so maybe try a glass between each beer. You and your body will both be happy later.

Drinking too much too fast or binge drinking obviously will cause a hangover due to the fact that your body can only process about a beer an hour. When you pile on three, four, or more beers in an hour, the toxins that your body turns the alcohol into run rampant until your body can properly metabolize it into non-toxic substances.

Many people already know that mixing drinks can lead to worsened hangovers. This is usually caused by mixing carbonated drinks with non-carbonated hard liquor drinks, also mixing lighter and darker colored drinks can lead to heavier hangovers due to the congener content. The sweeter drinks can fool a person, too. When you are drinking beers all night and someone hands you a lovely margarita, of course you will drink it in a similar fashion as to that of your last beer.

Carbonated drinks such as champagne can speed up your hangover due to the fact that carbonated beverages speed up your body’s metabolism. It takes a while for your body to adjust to a non-carbonated alcoholic drink and by the time you realize it, you are already feeing pretty nauseas. Think of it like the difference between digesting a salad and a steak. Which takes longer?

Next we come to by-products of both fermentation and you own body’s metabolism of alcohol. When alcohol is produced, many by-products of fermentation are produced. These are called congeners. They cause hangovers. The cheaper the drink, the less congeners are taken out. That is why you get worsened hangovers for drinking cheap liquor. Now as for your body, when you break down alcohol, an enzyme breaks it down into a toxic substance called acetaldehyde. Then it breaks it down with another enzyme into a non-toxic substance. When you have a lot of acetaldehyde in your body and your liver can’t break it all down in time, it can assist in liver damage as well as get you pretty sick the next day. One thing to note is that in addition to acetaldehyde, acetaminophen can also damage your liver due to the fact that now you would be having two toxins up in your liver. That puts quite a bit of pressure on your liver and it can only handle so much. Acetaminophen is found in products such as Tylenol.

One thing to remember here is that it is a good thing to know what causes a hangover as it will show you the way to preventing the things from happening in the first place. Also there are all-natural anti-hangover supplements that I recommend which can do wonders if taken before getting into the night of drinking. So drink well and I’ll talk to ya soon!

S. Michael Windsor is currently publisher and a writer for The Hangover Network. The THN Online Hangover Prevention Guide is a premier hangover information platform that provides individuals with a quality in-depth look at hangover and the associated products, services and information available today. Visit us today at and subscribe to our free services.

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