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How to avoid a hangover after heavy drinking, and how to deal with it

A terrible hangover can totally spoil all the fun that you had last night, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Excessive alcohol consumption does have its effects but if it is once in a while, the only problem you stand to face is the hangover that happens when you wake up in the morning. You may suffer from nausea, vomiting and stomach cramps. You may also experience excessive dehydration, fatigue and weakness. You may suffer from lots of sweating, vertigo, sensitivity to light and sound and a wayward concentration. Psychologically, you may feel depressed, irritable or hyper.

Very bad hangover

Does everybody face these symptoms? Not necessarily. It depends on how used you are to taking alcohol, how much you took, what all you drank and ate before, while and after having drinks, and of course your general physical constitution. But it definitely is a common problem and it can be easily taken care of by the following:

Keep yourself thoroughly hydrated

Your sugar level shoots up when you have had a good dose of alcohol and this dehydrates your body, triggering all the ill effects of dehydration. Most of the tissues in your brain are made up of water (or watery substance) and they shrink during bouts of dehydration causing pressure on the brain. You can counter this by having lots of liquid – preferably water – before the drinks and even while having drinks. If you can stomach it, you should also drink some milk because it coats the lining of your stomach and prevents it from absorbing as much alcohol as it would otherwise. If nothing else, it promotes general well-being so you should have milk anyway.

Do some healthy eating before you hit the bottle

Drinking alcohol empty stomach makes your stomach absorb it faster, causing you discomfort. A full stomach is less liable to transfer the ill effects of alcohol to your body compared to an empty stomach. According to doctors, food helps to reduce the formation of acetaldehyde caused by alcohol consumption, in your stomach. Acetaldehyde, incidentally is known as among the chief factors behind devastating hangovers. Give yourself a good dose of carbohydrates. You can also consume healthy fats by eating food containing fatty acids such as salman and trout. If you have no problem eating junk food, you can splurge on pizza and pasta or even an Indian paratha.

Have your vitamins

While alcohol runs amok in your body, your body uses up lots of vitamins and other nutrients to metabolize alcohol. Alcohol directly destroys B vitamins. As your liver has to work harder it requires all the vitamins and nutrients your body at its disposal. Hence it is advised that before jumping on the binge, you pop in some pills of B complex, B6 or B12.

Avoid mixing soda and whiskey

It’s fun to have whiskey or scotch with a good dose of fizz but the carbonated concoction simply pushes the gas along with the alcohol past your stomach and into your intestines. The problem with this is your small intestine is very good at absorbing alcohol and other stuff. This gets deposited at all the wrong places in the body, resulting in a terrible hangover.

Since we are on fizzy drinks, fizzy champagne can also give you trouble: the carbon dioxide contained within the bubbles speeds up delivery of alcohol to your system.

Stick to lighter alcoholic beverages

Dark alcohols such as whiskey, rum, bourbon and tequila contain toxins called congeners – a byproduct of fermentation. These are also found in cheap liquor. So if possible, stick to vodka the next time you’re planning to drink.

Avoid coffee and tea in the morning if you have a hangover

When you’re having a hangover your body is already dehydrated and caffeine can further exacerbate the situation. It may provide you instant relief but in a while it will increase the feeling of nausea and woolly headedness. If you really feel like drinking something other than water, try to have some sports drink because it can quickly replenish what you might have lost while consuming alcohol.

Eat a good breakfast

Even if you are feeling miserable and the sight of food makes you feel pukish, eat as much food as you can. An empty stomach is a playground for a lasting hangover. The food will give you nourishment and if it contains fat it will counter the ill effects of the alcohol. Although there is no medical proof, the more starchy, fatty and greasy your breakfast is, the sooner your hangover gets over.

Have soluble paracetamol if it helps

A paracetamol will ease your headache. Have a soluble one so that it quickly reaches your bloodstream. Make sure that you mix it with plenty of water rather than with tea or coffee.

Give your body some rest

The alcohol has ravaged your body and it needs some time to recover. So don’t try to rush into feeling better, because you are not going to. You will feel weak, shaky and disoriented and they are normal symptoms of a good old hangover. The steps listed above, especially about drinking water and having a good breakfast, and even having a paracetamol may provide you some comfort, but eventually you will need some good rest for at least a few hours.

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