If people drink too much alcohol they can really pay for it the next day. The dreaded hangover can produce some highly unpleasant symptoms. It is particularly bad if people have work or other important tasks to accomplish that day. There are many suggested remedies for curing a hangover. One of the most popular is the morning after drink. This can lessen the effects of a hangover, but there are many dangers associated with this type of remedy. It is best to choose other types of hangover cure or don’t drink too much in the first place.
Hair of the Dog
An alcoholic drink taken to lessen a hangover is often referred to as hair of the dog or hair of the dog that bit you . This name originates from earlier times when it was believed that putting hair on a rabid dog bite would prevent any problems. The hair used for this needed to be from the dog that caused the actual bite for it to be effective. Over time this recommendation for dog bites began to be used when referring to drinking away a hangover. An alternative phrase used to describe the morning after drink is going for a cure or the cure. In Swahili they say, kuzimua which means being assisted to wake up after a coma.
The medical work used to describe a hangover is veisalgia. This is a Norwegian word that can be roughly translated as meaning uneasiness after debauchery. If people indulge in too much alcohol they will usually suffer the next morning. They symptoms of a hangovercan include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body shakes
- Feelings of anxiety
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sound
- Irritability and moodiness
- Pains in the body
- Inability to concentrate
Causes of Hangover
There are a number of reasons for why people experience a hangover including:
- When people go to sleep after consuming a large amount of alcohol it interferes with their normal sleep pattern. This is why they can feel so tired the next day.
- Alcohol is a type of diuretic and this means that it encourages people to urinate. This means that even though the individual may have consumed plenty of alcohol they can still feel dehydrated the next day.
- Those individuals who are already physically addicted to alcohol can experience withdrawal symptoms as part of their hangover.
- Congeners in alcohol are toxic and these can cause some of the symptoms of a hangover.
- Drinking too much alcohol can interfere with the normal functioning of gluconeogenesis. This can lead to low blood sugars and feelings of fatigue the next morning.
- Blood vessels can expand due to alcohol consumption and this can cause headaches.
- Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol triggers the inflammatory response in the body.
- When people drink too much it irritates the lining of the stomach.
Reasons Drinking Alcohol Lessens a Hangover
The claim that a morning after drink cures a hangover is not accurate. It would be truer to say that it delays the symptoms. There are a number of reasons for why drinking alcohol the next morning lessens a hangover including:
- A congener is a substance created during the fermentation process and is believed to be a major contributor to hangover symptoms when it metabolizes. By drinking the next morning the individual delays the metabolism of congeners.
- A common reason for why heavy drinkers experience hangovers is that they have actually entered the early stages of withdrawal. By drinking alcohol the next morning they are preventing these withdrawal symptoms from taking hold.
Dangers of Drinking Off a Hangover
While drinking alcohol after a heavy night of drinking may lessen the effects of a hangover it is not something that is recommended. Any reprieve from these symptoms will only be temporary and there are real dangers to drinking off a hangover including:
- Drinking alcohol in the morning is a common symptom of alcoholism. It is a sign that the individual feels unable to start the morning until they have consumed some alcohol.
- If people drink in the morning there can be a strong temptation to drink throughout the rest of the day.
- Many individuals who drink in the morning will do so with an empty stomach. This means that their blood alcohol level will rise faster.
- If the individual intends to be driving that day it can be highly dangerous to have even one alcoholic drink the next day. Their blood alcohol content is already likely to be high and any more drink will almost certainly put them over the limit for driving – if they are not already over the limit.
- Some people may find that the hair of the dog makes them feel a great deal worse.
Drinking Off a Hangover and Alcoholism
One of the most common symptoms of alcoholism is the need to drink in the mornings. The individual may feel that he needs to do this in order to face the day. Some alcoholics may even have to struggle hard to consume their first drink of the day. They may be willing to continue with the hair of the dog even though it is making them retch and vomit. The other signs that people have developed alcoholism include:
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when blood alcohol content drops.
- Increased tolerance for alcohol. This means that the individual needs to consume more to get the same effect.
- The individual continues to use alcohol even though they know that it is causing them harm.
- They find it hard to control their intake. They may have even tried to stop but were not able to do this.
- Feelings of guilt about alcohol consumption.
- Feelings of defensiveness about their drinking.
- The individual has lost interest in other activities they used to enjoy and now devotes most of their time to drinking alcohol.
- Lack of interest in any activity that does not involve drinking.
- Drinking interferes with their ability to work or take care of their family responsibilities.
It is not necessary for the individual to have all of these symptoms for them to be considered an alcoholic.
How to Cure a Hangover
Because of the dangers associated with attempting to drink off a hangover it is not an effective cure. There are things that people can do to lessen the effects of their morning after symptoms including:
- When people have a hangover they are actually ill so taking time to rest and recuperate is a good strategy if at all possible.
- Dehydration causes many of the symptoms of a hangover so it is a good idea to replenish fluids as soon as possible. A sports drink can be a good option for this.
- Eating breakfast is important because it will return blood sugar levels to normal. It is usually best to stick to bland food such as toast if people are experiencing an upset stomach.
- Oxygen is used after surgery to help people get over the effects of anesthesia. It can have a similar effect to help people get over the symptoms of a hangover.
- It is suggested that eating something with fructose inside can encourage the body to burn alcohol faster. This may speed up the time it takes to recover from a hangover.
How to Prevent Hangovers
The best way to deal with a hangover is not to get them in the first place. This does away with any need for the hair of the dog. If people keep to the recommended levels for alcohol consumption then they should avoid these unpleasant symptoms. They will also avoid the other health consequences associated with heavy drinking. If people do have a heavy night drinking there are things they can do to help reduce the severity of their hangover the next day including:
- It is not a good idea to drink on an empty stomach. Food slows down the rate by which alcohol is absorbed.
- It is a good idea to drink a glass of water in-between each alcoholic drink as this will help to prevent dehydration.
- It is best to avoid the darker colored drinks as these will usually contain the most congeners. Drinks like white wine or vodka would be preferable to red wine or whiskey.
- It is better not to mix drinks as this can also increase the likelihood of the negative effects of congeners.
- Many people claim that drinking a few glasses of water before going to bed can help reduce the effects of the hangover the next morning.
- It is best to avoid taking medications to cure a hangover as the toxic effects of these drugs can be amplified. Taking Tylenol (paracetamol) is not a good idea because it can further damage the liver.
- It is best to avoid caffeine as this can lead to further dehydration.