Enjoying alcohol is common at many social functions, whether it’s drinks after work with fellow co-workers or enjoying a beer watching Sunday football. Alcohol is known as a means of loosening inhibitions and helping people relax. However, it’s also easy to cross the line into drinking too much, inevitably paying the prices the next day with an excruciating hangover.
There’s no reason to worry if this happens occasionally. However, for those who experience hangovers quite often, it could be an indicator of a much bigger problem. When drinking becomes a problem with work, daily life, or personal relationships, it’s important to understand that there is help. The right rehab program can help people not only quit drinking, but get their lives back on track.
Although the symptoms of a hangover can vary person to person, there are a few shared experiences that tend to hold true. Generally, a hangover causes one to feel quite ill. This nauseous feeling may intensify and lead to vomiting. People fighting a hangover also may feel extremely fatigued and weak. Yet, they may be unable to fall asleep. Headaches are quite common, as well as excessive thirst. Though if nauseous, it can be quite tricky to keep any food or water down.
There are a few psychological symptoms that may pop up such as vertigo, depression, anxiety, and an overall feeling of irritability.
Other hangover symptoms may indicate a health risk. Systolic blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, tremors, sweating, and dehydration could all be signs that it’s time to see a doctor for some help in detoxing the alcohol content in the blood.
What Causes a Hangover?
The consequences of drinking varies from person to person and depends on other factors: how much alcohol was consumed, over what period of time the drinking took place, as well as the type of alcohol that was consumed. Each factor is relevant to how a body reacts to it. Other factors at play have to do with how alcohol naturally reacts with the body’s chemical processes. This is true for both the consumption of alcohol and when the alcohol starts to leave the body. This may have to do with genetics, body weight, and a number of other physiological considerations.
Alcohol dehydrates people simply because of its diuretic nature. This dehydration is typically at the root of many of the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. The thirst is a direct reaction to being dehydrated and cause headaches since your brain requires a certain amount of hydration to function correctly. Without enough hydration, the brain begins to swell, putting pressure against the skull.
Alcohol also forces blood sugar to decrease. This can makes people feel weak and can cause a series of new problems for those who are diabetic. Since drinking tends to make one feel full, the amount of food taken in is often reduced. The food could aide in soaking up some of the alcohol and provide strength to combat the its effects. Food also helps blood sugar levels remain normal.
Some people just naturally have a more responsive system that can combat the symptoms. Others do not. In fact, those who tend to have aggressive, defensive, or neurotic tendencies typically have a higher rate of experiencing the consequences of drinking than those who do not.
Those struggling with alcohol addiction continue to suffer with hangovers, despite an increasing or consistent consumption of alcohol. Without allowing the body to recover between binges, alcoholics are more susceptible to constantly fighting the symptoms of hangover, eventually leading to problems in job performance and the deterioration of relationships. While some believe that eventually a tolerance could be built up, this isn’t the case, at least not in regards to the long term effects of drinking on the body.
There is often a cycle created: alcoholics unable to sit through the symptoms of a hangover attempt to alleviate it by drinking more. Though someone may understand that this cycle is ineffective, they have difficulty breaking it due to a dependency on alcohol. This cycle is also prevalent in those suffering from mental health issues who attempt to use alcohol to ease the symptoms of their disorder.
Having an occasional hangover after drinking from time to time doesn’t necessarily an addiction. However, if morning after morning is spent suffering from the symptoms of drinking, it may be time to take a closer look at if a pattern is developing.
New Vista Behavioral Health is a nationwide family of treatment providers, including primary mental health care. You can find a way to live in healthy, sustainable relationships when you learn the skills necessary to cope with Borderline Personality Disorder. Holding our treatment programs to higher standards, we offer exceptional care along a full continuum of options to provide better outcomes for your recovery.
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