What are hangover symptoms?
Hangover symptoms are different for everyone and can range from mild hangover symptoms to severe hangover symptoms. There are no one-size-fits all solutions when it comes to a hangover. Additionally, there is no hangover cure (regardless of what an ad tells you!). Drinking alcohol should always be done in moderation and responsibly.
However, there are other ailments that are consistent and can be treated in unison or individually when it comes to the symptoms of a hangover. In this article, we will discuss the primary hangover symptoms, and answer some frequently asked questions.
Common Hangover Symptoms
A hangover headache is the symptom of pain developing in the head after an episode of heavy drinking or alcohol abuse. Hangover headaches can sometimes feel splitting, sometimes dull. The hangover headache has been studied less than other symptoms of hangovers, therefore its etiology remains unclear. A hangover headache can be defined as a secondary headache, as it is "a hangover-associated symptom occurring as a direct physiological consequence of heavy alcohol consumption."
Hangover fatigue is characterized by a lack of energy and the inability to be productive. This hangover symptom tends to be the most common hangover symptom and is also one of the hangover symptoms that has been studied in an attempt to find a correlation with hangovers. Researchers have found that there is a negative correlation between hangover severity and fatigue. This leads researchers to believe that this hangover symptom could just be a result of dehydration. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, you may have blood sugar levels that can contribute to fatigue problems as well.
Hangover weakness is when you are feeling like you can't function or move your limbs properly. This hangover symptom is closely related to hangover fatigue. However, hangover weakness is when you are feeling weak in your muscles. This hangover symptom tends to be the second most common hangover symptom.
This hangover symptom has been studied and found that hangovers cause increased thirst, especially for cold liquids. This hangover symptom is linked to hangover fatigue and hangover weakness, as the body needs more liquids during recovery. Having one drink of alcohol and following that with one drink of water is a great technique to remain hydrated throughout the night softening the blow the next morning.
Hangover diarrhea and upset stomach are incredibly common. Stomach pains can also occur when there isn't enough blood going to the stomach due to dehydration, giving the feeling of hunger but nothing will stay down. Commonly called "hungover stomach". Stomach pains and bowel issues can linger after hangovers but are usually alleviated with time. Drinking on an empty stomach is never recommended as alcohol irritates the digestive system. Remember to stay hydrated since diarrhea and hangovers cause a loss of fluids in the body.
If you are feeling like you're going to vomit, you are likely experiencing hangover nausea. Nausea comes in varying strengths, from a general uneasiness to the feeling of needing to throw up, and can hang on even after other hangover symptoms have faded. The length of hangover nausea is also variable; hangover nausea can last for minutes or days. Usually, hangover nausea causes "hangover vomiting".
Common descriptions of hangover vertigo are dizziness and lightheadedness. There isn't a clear answer to hangover vertigo origin, but hangover symptoms like nausea and fatigue contribute to hangover vertigo experiences. Length of hangover vertigo is usually short-lived; hangover vertigo only lasts a few moments. The intensity of hangover vertigo varies. Some people can feel like the room is spinning, while others feel slightly dizzy.
Sensitivity to light and sound
Light and loud noises become more noticeable and can give a pounding sensation in your head. It may be tempting to turn down those blinds, but fight the urge and wear sunglasses when going outside. Sensitivity to light can be normal after a long night of drinking. Slow re-adoption of natural light is an effective method to being able to take off the shades.
Hangovers may trigger a general anxious state the day after a night of heavy drinking. Mental symptoms of hangovers are not uncommon. This is such a common issue that the term "hangxiety" has been coined. Alcohol hangovers are also linked to depression. If you have a family history of depression issues, please consult a medical professional if you find yourself experiencing negative thoughts or thoughts of self-harm.
Feelings of being grumpy, agitated and/or easily annoyed are very common after a long night of drinking. When we don't feel well, we typically don't control our emotions well either. Hangover irritability is one we want to rid of quick, as it may impact others beyond ourselves. Careful of getting angry at the cat, they don't forgive easily.
You feel cold one second, hot the next. It's the worst. You sweat less than normal but it feels like you're sweating more. This symptom is not a fan favorite that much is sure. Thankfully the sweating usually is temporary and comes in waves.
Increased blood pressure
Feeling like you're head is pounding, shortness of breath, or a bit confused upon waking up? These are a result of the increased blood pressure caused by hangovers. If you experience these or others like blurred vision, blood in urine, or chest pains please treat these signs seriously. If necessary, call emergency services and get checked out.
There are almost always body aches associated with hangovers. Alcohol increases inflammation in the body. It may feel like you've been lifting weights all day and your body is sore as a result. Hangover aches can last between a day or two and in some cases even longer. These aches can be attributed to the hangover fatigue experienced during hangovers.
Hangover Symptom FAQ
Is there such a thing as a hangover cure?
You will hear people swear by various methods they use to combat the symptoms of hangovers such as "hair of the dog", color schemed drinks, and many other techniques. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), not Tylenol, have been shown to be effective on some of the symptoms related to hangovers like muscle aches, nausea, etc. The only 100% effective method is to ensure you avoid alcohol completely. There are simply NO hangover cures, regardless of what other drugs say.
How long does a hangover last?
Hangovers typically hang on for a day or two. The hangover duration varies from person to person. It's going to depend on your hangover constitution, hangover type, hangover intensity, hangover tolerance, hangover packet taken, etc.
How do you get over a hangover fast?
Start hydrating as soon as you can. Hydration is probably the hangover symptom with the most tangible effect. Foods high in sugar and electrolytes such as bananas and Gatorade can help with alcohol hangover symptoms. Hangovers get worse with hangover fatigue, hangover weakness, and hangover thirst, so make sure you are getting enough fluids.
How do I know if I have a hangover?
Symptoms of hangovers are sleepiness, headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, hangover vertigo, and hangover anxiety.
What is a hangover headache?
A hangover headache usually appears the morning after a hangover. A hangover headache can be so severe that it feels like you have a migraine. The hangover headache comes on gradually and worsens as the day goes by.
How long does it take for a hangover to kick in?
It takes a hangover 2 to 5 hours for hangover symptoms to start showing up after your last alcoholic beverages. The effects of alcohol vary depending on many factors. If you drank more alcohol than normal, you can expect a worse hangover than when you drink less alcohol. Some people feel hangover symptoms right away, while hangovers for others don't start until the hangover headache hits. Your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) determines the onset as well. Typically, hangovers start once your blood alcohol concentration has dropped below 0.10%.
What food helps with hangovers?
Some hangover eaters say that hangovers get easier to deal with if there is some food in the stomach. Some hangover sufferers swear by hangover rice. We would recommend hangover food that is not going to cause a carb crash or a sugar meltdown. Food helps slow down the effects of alcohol. For example, fruit juice can help other factors such as low blood sugar, but the sugar can amplify other issues with hangovers.
Is a hangover just dehydration?
Dehydration is a hangover symptom, but not the cause of a hangover. A hangover is due to your BAC rising to the point that your hangover threshold is reached. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to hangovers. Some people can consume more alcohol than others. Some people will see that three drinks are too much alcohol for them. If possible, make sure you drink water after each alcoholic drink.
Are hangovers worse with age?
Yes, hangovers tend to get worse as age progresses. The alcohol hangover threshold that you develop tends to decrease with hangover age. As age progresses, hangovers are also more likely to give you hangover anxiety.
What about liquor before beer and other rhymes?
Fact: It doesn't matter what order you drink your drinks in. It is the total alcohol volume and your personal hangover threshold that determine your symptoms.
Are hangovers dangerous?
Hangovers are rarely dangerous. You should exercise caution if you intend to drive or operate machinery. Hangovers usually aren't life-threatening, but alcohol poisoning can occur when you lean towards excessive drinking. Hangovers can lead to serious health issues, such as dangerous levels of dehydration and alcohol withdrawal. Always watch for unpleasant physical symptoms, uncomfortable symptoms, trouble staying conscious, major mood disturbances, gastrointestinal irritation, rapid heartbeat, or other risk factors.
What do hangovers feel like?
The hangover symptoms are headache, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, hangover chest pain hangover fatigue, and hangover anxiety. Hangovers can be as simple as mild dehydration or very severe hangovers can be filled with unpleasant symptoms.
What hangover supplements are available?
There is no hangover supplement that will prevent hangovers. However, products like Hangover Hammer have been proven effective in being able to reduce hangover symptoms. There are many OTC products, most of which have high levels of caffeine. Please be aware of what is in your hangover supplement so you do not increase the effects of common hangover symptoms. Making your hangover worse is the last thing you want to do!
Does the color of the alcohol matter?
Darker colored alcoholic beverages and darker colored drinks do not cause hangovers. The hangover is caused by how much alcohol you drank in total. One drink alone typically will not cause a hangover. Consuming alcohol should always be done responsibly.
What is Blood Alcohol Concentration?
BAC is the total amount of alcohol in your bloodstream at a given hangover time. Your hangover blood concentration will decrease over time. If you drink alcohol your BAC levels are typically .04% - .06%. Normal BAC level when drunk is .08%. After seven hours, BAC levels hangover typically get down to <.02% depending on the amount of alcohol consumed. BAC levels are concerning when they reach .10%. To reach .10% BAC you need to drink heavily to the point of clearly excessive alcohol consumption. Keep in mind everyone's body processes alcohol differently.
What are the signs of alcohol poisoning?
The signs of hangover blood alcohol poisoning are:
- No verbal response to stimulation, such as yelling or shaking
- Loss of control over hangover bladder
- Skin, nails, and lips look blue
- Throat is very dry
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Dangerously low blood pressure
If you or someone you know is experiencing blood alcohol poisoning symptoms, call 911 and get the individual to a hospital as soon as possible.
Will you always get a hangover when drinking alcohol?
No, hangovers happen when you are drinking too much alcohol. If you start to learn your own drinking habits, it is possible to maintain blood alcohol levels that remain below your personal hangover threshold. However, alcohol use makes determining your exact hangover threshold difficult since you experience cognitive and physical functioning issues throughout the process. If you or someone you know drinks alcohol, please do so responsibly.
When should I worry about alcohol abuse?
Always be on the lookout for hangover alcohol abuse. A few common signs of alcohol abuse are morning drinking, alcohol withdrawal, disrespect of others, rapid alcohol use, sleep cycle issues, & dangerous behavior while under the influence. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) can develop quickly and should be discussed with your doctor if you believe you are drinking more than usual.