The Morning After: Tips to Cope With a Hangover

by on February 25th, 2011 at 7:00 am

Have you ever had too much to drink the night before and felt awful the next day? If you’ve been guilty of consuming just a little too much, then you would most likely wake up with a hangover.

Physical symptoms such as a pounding headache, queasy stomach, dry throat, redness of the eyes, thirst and fatigue, are characteristic of a hangover. In addition, you may also experience a rapid heartbeat, tremors, muscle aches and sweating.

Mental symptoms such as dizziness, depression, irritability and anxiety are also common. It makes sense that a mood-altering substance, such as alcohol, will affect mood.

Although it may feel like it alters your mood in a positive way at the time of consumption, the remnants of alcohol in your bloodstream and brain the next day affect your natural ‘feel good’ chemicals and cause mood disturbance. For centuries, it seems that man has been trying every conceivable concoction to remedy a hangover.

We have compiled this short list of some favorites:

The “hair-of-the-dog-that-bit-you”
The notion that the cure for what ails you, is more of what ails you! This has been popular since the times of Shakespeare, but can be traced back to times when dog hair was literally used to treat dog bites.

The Bloody Mary
Popular since the roaring twenties, this cocktail of vodka, tomato juice and various spices such as Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, or horseradish has been touted as a hangover cure. Another ominous sounding concoction is called “Black Velvet” and consists of champagne and flat Guinness. Hemingway, it is said, relied on a morning-after tonic of tomato juice and beer.

Certain foods
Fatty, high-calorie foods like fried bacon and eggs have long figured among the most popular homespun hangover cures. Fatty foods, if eaten before drinking alcohol, “grease” the lining of the intestines. The alcohol then takes longer to be absorbed by the body. In the Mediterranean, one folk remedy involves swallowing a spoonful of olive oil to line the stomach.

The ancient Greeks ate boiled cabbage before a binge – thought to be the best preventative, while Medieval folk ate eel and bitter almonds. Burnt toast has also been hailed as a great remedy – Carbon in the charred part of the toast filters the impurities. In fact, people who arrive at emergency rooms with alcohol poisoning get potent carbon slurry pumped into their stomachs for the same reason.

Nature Vs. Conventional Medication – which one can help?

Conventionally there are several treatments commonly recommended to prevent a hangover. Some medication may reduce the severity of the symptoms of a hangover. Over-the-counter drugs such and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely available. Remember that anti-inflammatory drugs are actually gastric irritants, so use them with caution as they may intensify alcohol-induced gastritis and further irritate any gastric problems. Without a doubt, the best way to avoid the unpleasantness of a hangover is to abstain from alcohol or to limit your intake to amounts that your body can easily metabolize without causing too much harm. While this sounds great in theory it is not always so easy in practice.

After a night out drinking – the most important thing is to drink water the next day. A headache is usually the first sign that the brain is dehydrated. It is essential to replace the delicate balance in the body by consuming an adequate amount of water, as well as eating a healthy balanced meal. If you or a friend experience multiple vomiting or pass out –it is time to call a doctor!

To treat a hangover the natural way and cleanse and detox the body of toxins (brought about by excess alcohol) herbal and homeopathic remedies can be a gentle, yet very effective solution. Homeopathic ingredients like Lupulus humulus, Lobelia inflata and Nux vomica help to address conditions of the nervous system related to nausea, dizziness and headache following a night’s debauchery.

Natural treatments can help to kick-start your body and restore balance. Herbs such as Taraxacum officinalis (Dandelion), Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel) and Pelargonium reniforme can serve to flush out the system, rejuvenate liver functioning and eliminate bloating. Certain herbs can also help you prepare for times of over-indulgence. These herbs (Milk thistle, Marshmallow and Slippery elm) can be taken ahead of time, or before a function to help your body cope.

Here are a few helpful hints to help you get through ‘the morning after the night before’:

  • If you do have any alcohol, drink small amounts, and remember that small amounts of better quality alcohol will have fewer hangover symptoms.
  • Eat a large meal before drinking to line the stomach and slow down the rate of alcohol absorption into the bloodstream
  • Eat bland foods such as toast or crackers to relieve nausea
  • Try coffee made with tonic water, orange juice and honey
  • Fructose-containing foods such as fruit and fruit juices may also decrease hangover intensity
  • Drinking water during and after alcohol consumption can minimize alcohol-induced dehydration
  • Know your limits and pace yourself by drinking slowly (the body metabolizes alcohol and needs time to do so)
  • Avoid smoking while drinking because smoking constricts the lungs and decreases oxygen flow to the blood stream
  • Vitamin B helps to replace the nutrients lost while drinking.

Leave Your Car Keys at Home! Remember that if you’ve had too much to drink, no amount of burnt toast or bacon is going to make you a safe driver. Assign a “designated driver” someone who abstains from alcohol and drives everyone else home safely. Or make arrangements to have a cab take you home.

Hang-Over Morning Mend Homeopathic remedy relieves hang-over symptoms like headaches and nausea.

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