Why do people drink alcohol? And, is drinking alcohol a bad or good thing? Should you abstain from alcohol or is drinking in moderation acceptable? Many people, including celebrities, prominent people, philosophers, and medical specialists like psychiatrists have weighed in on this topic.
For example, the author, George Bernard Shaw, noted that “alcohol is the anaesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.” Frank Sinatra, the singer and entertainer, on the other hand, is quoted as saying: “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.” And thirdly, the psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that “every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.”
Alcoholism and a hangover: A succinct definition
As part of our discussion on the best ways to treat a hangover, let’s lay out a concise definition of each of the terms “alcoholism” and “hangover”, as there is a fine line between having a couple of drinks with friends and binge drinking or drinking heavily.
2015 statistics show that more than 15 million people over the age of 18 living in the USA, live with an alcohol use disorder of sorts.
According to merriam-webster.com, a hangover is defined as “disagreeable physical effects following heavy consumption of alcohol or the use of drugs.” And, the severity of a hangover’s symptoms is dependent on an individual and on how much alcohol (s)he has had to drink.
The physiological effects of consuming too much alcohol
Before we look at a few ways to cure a hangover, let’s have a quick look at why hangovers occur and what drinking too much does to your body.
In summary, drinking too much results in elevated blood alcohol content levels, which in turn can lead to alcohol poisoning. This, in turn, can lead to liver and digestive system damage, central nervous system (brain) damage, and high blood pressure as well as damage to your heart muscle. Other minor symptoms include nausea, vomiting, passing out, lowered inhibitions, slowed reaction time, and a decrease in fine motor skills.
Therefore, the questions that must be asked and answered are what is your alcohol tolerance limit, and what should you do if you have too much to drink?
Finally, for this article, let’s assume that we understand the importance of avoiding excessive alcohol use, but, it’s still possible to drink too much on social occasions like year-end functions, birthday parties, and other outings.
Thus, the question that begs is how do you deal with a hangover (apart from abstinence), or reduce the side effects of drinking too much?
Replace electrolytes and vitamins
Alcohol acts as a nervous system depressant, and it dehydrates your body. Therefore, it’s important to replace the lost water and nutrients. Therefore, this cure includes anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory medication, headache tablets, and electrolyte and vitamin replacement via IVs in the Keys.
Eat a good breakfast
Low blood sugar can be an indirect side effect of a hangover. Therefore, keeping your blood sugar levels stable will counteract the nausea, dizziness, and fatigue.
Get a good night’s sleep
Because alcohol is a central nervous depressant, it can disrupt healthy sleep patterns. Lack of sleep in itself does not cause a hangover, but it exacerbates the hangover symptoms. Therefore, getting a good’s sleep will allow your body to recover.