If you take alcohol, regular or occasional, I am sure you must have experienced hangover at some or the other occasion and struggled to quickly treat alcohol hangover at home. In fact, alcoholic hangover is a very common phenomenon faced by most alcoholics on a regular basis. At their worse hangovers might seem quite devastating, almost like a sense of impending doom. Then, what shall you do to show them the exit door? I understand you must be eager to skip over to alcohol hangover treatment methods, yet it’s important that before moving on to the home remedies for alcohol hangover we must know what hangover really is.
What is alcohol hangover?
You might say that hangovers are the natural way to tell us Alcohol is bad to the body. By definition hangover is a cluster of unpleasant symptoms, both physical and mental after a stint of heavy alcohol drinking. The symptoms include headache, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, sensitivity to sound and light, aching muscles, thirst, vertigo, depression, anxiety, increased systolic pressure and heart beat, sweating and many more.
What are the causes of alcohol hangover?
The causes behind the occurrence of hangover can be many, and are not yet understood entirely. Some of the probable causes include:
- Acetaldehyde is thought to be one metabolite of alcohol behind the cause. However, the toxic levels needed for its toxicity are way beyond the amount produced during an average drinking.
- Alcohol withdrawal might be another explanation to it. In fact, hangover is worst when alcohol level in blood reaches zero. Also, having another drink alleviates the symptoms.
- Another explanation could be that alcohol interferes with brain function while sleeping. Thus, hangover could also be a form of sleep deprivation.
The next question is how to get rid of these ugly hangovers. Some of the common remedies are listed below.
Top 13 remedies to treat alcohol hangover at home
1. Take plenty of water and other fluids
The drinking may leave you extremely dehydrated in the morning. This might be the result of excessive urination caused by the inhibition of vasopressin release. Vasopressin, also known as antidiuretic hormone (ADH), is responsible for decreasing the amount of urine production. Thus, alcohol leads to loss of water and electrolytes. Diarrhea and vomiting might just add to the water loss. Adding lemon to your drinking water will also relive your nausea to some extent.
Drinking water is, thus, going to provide a drastic improvement in the hangover in many ways including rehydration and flushing out toxins. So, all you might need is a bottle of plain water for a quick hangover treatment. If that doesn’t solve your problem, read on.
2. Have something to eat
Since drinking may lower blood sugar levels, it’s a good idea to have something down your throat. Food would improve blood sugar levels thereby getting rid of fatigue and headache caused by low amounts of sugar reaching the brain. In fact, most drinkers either don’t remember to take food, or prefer not eating much while drinking to accentuate the effects of drinking. In these cases, eating becomes essential.
It is debated whether a greasy meal is better than a light meal. Although many would prefer a greasy meal to ease their hangover, they could cause acidity, and being difficult to digest may worsen the condition especially in diarrhea. On the other hand, lighter foods would be digested easily and replenish sugar levels swiftly.
3. Get pain killers
Painkillers would help you get rid of both headache and the generalized pain all over the body. Aspirin, ibuprofen and other NSAIDS except acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol) can be taken. Since acetaminophen along with alcohol might prove to be hazardous to the liver. Another problem associated with taking NSAIDS is that they tend to be heavy on a stomach already irritated and may lead to acidity or even ulcers.
Alka-Seltzer is an effervescent antacid and pain reliever. It is available in different flavors. Also, in 2001 a special preparation for alcohol hangover cure was introduced. Since it contains sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) that neutralizes the acid, it helps in alleviating the unsettled stomach.
5. Switch to light-colored alcoholic drinks
According to studies dark-colored drinks like whisky, red wine is more likely to cause hangovers than light colored drinks like gin or vodka. The main reason behind this difference is that darker drinks because of the congeners, substances produced during fermentation chemically related to ethanol. Methanol is especially one of the worst congeners with toxic nature, causing worst of the hangovers.
6. Bloody Mary
No no no… not the cocktail … We are talking about the virgin bloody marry. The concoction has proven to be of a great help during a hangover. One glass of the mocktail has proven to be an effective cure to hangover.
7. Sports Drinks
A dose of energy drinks like Redbull® and Monster® effectively replenish your electrolytes and glucose requirements. Consumption of alcohol results in loss of electrolytes from the body. An adequate intake of electrolytes not only replenishes the amount lost, but also relieves the hangover. Added caffeine has a lot of benefits which will be discussed later in this article.
8. Take caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant; thus, coffee or tea helps with hangover by getting rid of the fatigue. However, being a diuretic coffee can accentuate dehydration and it should be accompanied by ample amounts of water.
9. Hangover pills
Aspirin is a good for headaches associated with hangover. Effective and fast. There are various other well known hangover “cures” out there— PreToxx, Chaser and RU 21— but there is very little evidence, if any, to support the claims.
10. Sauna Bath
Well sometime you have to sweat it out! Taking a sauna bath will increase your blood flow, thereby increasing the overall body metabolism. Also, it opens up your pores and makes your skin glow
It may seem impossible to have a workout with a pounding head and drowsy eyes. But, a sweaty exercise session is helpful to alleviate a hangover. The physical exertion the body undergoes pulls back the organs from the numbness, shakes the grogginess out of them and pushes them towards steady functioning.
Nothing works better than rest. Our body is capable of dealing with many problems all by itself; all you need is a good rest. Alcohol interferes with sleep; thus, you might already have sleep deprivation. If you can pull off some sleep, it’s going to help by a good deal.
No matter what we try, though, there is not a single fool-proof method to treat alcohol hangover at home. Only thing that could help is to drink in moderation or not drink at all.
13. Hair of the dog
As the name suggests pluck a dog’s hair and eat it. Just kidding! You don’t really have to do that. Originally, phrase Hair of the Dog was used for a treatment method where the hair of the dog was used in a dog bite patient to treat rabies. However, now, Hair of the dog is a phrase used when more drinking is ensued to ease the hangover. Assuming hangover is the result of alcohol withdrawal more alcohol going into your blood is going to help out.
Although the idea of having more alcohol in the morning sounds enticing, it may not be the best remedy to treat alcohol hangover at home The truth is it would only give way to a never-ending cycle, the first step in the direction of addiction. That’s why I’ve included this method of hangover treatment at last. BETTER AVOID MORE ALCOHOL!
Foods and drinks which you must avoid during hangover
Bacon sandwiches and cheese sandwiches are definitely a no when you’ve got a hangover. The fat is going to make the situation worse leading to acidity, indigestion or even stomach upset. Instead you may opt for egg toast. You can also add some potatoes to them. It would meet all your nutritional need without overloading the system.
2. Greasy Food
The role of greasy food has been debatable to treat alcohol hangover at home. However, it is advisable to avoid them altogether. All the fat is only going to irritate your stomach, lead to acidity or stomach upset. Instead, you can take a good greasy meal before you start drinking. It will make a grease layer on your stomach lining, thus protecting the lining against alcohol and decreasing their absorption rate. Even so if you’re fitness conscious greasy meals might not be for you.
3. Orange Juice
Orange juice can be of little help when the hangover has gone past the gut and banging on your head. But while the stomach is still irritated from the alcohol you must avoid the juice. Citric acid is going to get deadly to the stomach lining. So, avoid.
You’d want to avoid meat while in alcohol hangover. The last night’s alcohol would have the blood sugars already low. Stuffing yourself with a lot of protein without much carbs is going to make the situation worse. The result could be an intensified headache.
It is a common practice to treat alcohol hangover by drinking even more. That is bad. This method is known as hair of the dog. Hangover is a result of alcohol withdrawal; thus, more alcohol gets rid of the withdrawal. But, then, by drinking further is only going to bring you in an endless cycle of alcohol > withdrawal > hangover > alcohol > withdrawal > hangover. So, say no to hair of the dog.
While there lots of home remedies to treat alcohol hangover at home, it’s best to hydrate yourself with plenty of water, fill yourself up with adequate calories and take proper rest. Nothing works better than that. However, in case you have a troublesome stomach, Alka-Seltzer or antacids should be helpful. Do not overload your system with more alcohol to get rid of hangover. And, prevention is better than cure. Avoid alcohol completely or drink in moderation.