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Home / Alcohol Induced Hangover: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Alcohol Induced Hangover: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Alcohol induced hangovers are estimated to cost one hundred forty-eight billion dollars in related absenteeism and poor job performance in the United States annually as per Dr. Steven Reisman a Cardiologist in New York City. A hangover is the experience of unpleasant physiological and psychological effects after drinking too much alcohol. These symptoms usually begin when the blood alcohol level falls significantly and is at or near zero. Symptoms include headache, tremulousness, nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, fatigue, anxiety and general discomfort. Those with an alcoholic hangover have diminished visual-spatial skill and dexterity.

Hangovers can last up to twenty-four hours. There appears to be several physiological processes occurring.  Alcohol or ethanol is broken down to acetaldehyde and this is thought to be ten to thirty times more toxic than alcohol. This process adversely affects certain bodily processes. These breakdown products may also increase susceptibility to oxidative stress in the body.  In addition, it is felt that certain alcoholic beverages that contain “congeners” as a flavoring or as the byproduct of fermentation may aggravate the hangover and its effect. Usually dark liquors have a higher concentration of congeners and clear liquors have a lower concentration. The clear liquors such as gin and vodka may have a lesser effect and cause a less severe hangover than the darker liquors.

The best prevention is to drink in moderation, for example, limiting drinks to one per hour. Certainly abstinence from the ingestion of alcohol is the BEST prevention. It is best to eat food before drinking and also important to drink slowly and not to drink too much at one time. One should drink a large quantity of water to stay hydrated. If one experiences a hangover, symptomatic treatment is recommended including drinking water to prevent dehydration, eating foods such as toast and crackers and bouillon soup, and rest or sleep if one is tired. If one ingests alcohol or experiences a hangover the individual should not drive an automobile or any other type of vehicle and should stay away from heavy machinery. According to Dr. Steven Reisman, a New York City Cardiologist and Director of The New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center the most effective way to avoid the symptoms of alcohol induced hangover is to avoid drinking alcohol.




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