Hangovers and Sobering Up

What is a Hangover?

Hangovers are evidence of the body’s withdrawal symptoms from alcohol use and the body's reaction to the toxicity of alcohol. The severity of symptoms varies according to the individual and the quantity of alcohol consumed.

Typical hangover symptoms: fatigue, nausea, headache, thirst and sometimes vomiting.

How can I prevent a Hangover?

There are many myths about how to prevent or alleviate hangovers, but the only real safe way to prevent a hangover is to drink in moderation:
  • Eat a good dinner and continue to snack throughout the night.
  • Alternate one alcoholic drink with one non-alcoholic drink.
  • Try to avoid fast-paced drinking games or shots. Drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time is the easiest way to become dangerously intoxicated.

How can I Sober Up?

The only real way to sober up is by waiting it out – your body must metabolize all the alcohol in your bloodstream (which typically takes one hour per drink). Some tips for easing the waiting process:
  • Drink plenty of water and/or juice to get re-hydrated
  • Avoid excessive caffeine as it may contribute to dehydration. However, if you regularly drink coffee every morning, have your first cup not more than a couple of hours after you usually do. Don't force your body to go through caffeine withdrawal in addition to alcohol withdrawal.
  • Take an over-the-counter antacid (Tums, Pepto Bismol or Maalox) may relieve some of the symptoms of an upset stomach.
  • HOWEVER, do NOT take any painkillers (Advil and Tylenol) until the alcohol is fully out of your system. Pain killers react with the alcohol in your system and create a chemical that is toxic for your liver
  • Do not go too many hours without food as this will increase the effect of the low blood sugar caused by alcohol.
  • Eat complex carbohydrates like crackers, bagels, bread, cereal, pasta, etc.