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Alcohol Hangover

Alcohol Remedies


Alcohol Remedies

Many treatments are described to prevent hangover, shorten its duration, and reduce the severity of its symptoms, including innumerable folk remedies and recommendations. Few treatments have undergone rigorous investigation, however. Conservative management offers the best course of treatment. Time is the most important component, because hangover symptoms will usually abate over 8 to 24 hours.

Drink Small Amounts of Alcohol - Attentiveness to the quantity and quality of alcohol consumed can have a significant effect on preventing hangover. Hangover symptoms are less likely to occur if a person drinks only small, nonintoxicating amounts. Even among people who drink to intoxication, those who consume lower amounts of alcohol appear less likely to develop a hangover than those who drink higher amounts. Hangovers have not been associated with drinking beverages with a low alcohol content or with drinking nonalcoholic beverages.

The type of alcohol consumed also may have a significant effect on reducing hangover. Alcoholic beverages that contain few congeners (e.g., pure ethanol, vodka, and gin) are associated with a lower incidence of hangover than are beverages that contain a number of congeners (e.g., brandy, whiskey, and red wine).

Eat Foods Containing Fructose - Other interventions may reduce the intensity of a hangover but have not been systematically studied. Consumption of fruits, fruit juices, or other fructose-containing foods is reported to decrease hangover intensity, for example. Also, bland foods containing complex carbohydrates, such as toast or crackers, can counter low blood sugar levels in people subject to hypoglycemia and can possibly relieve nausea. In addition, adequate sleep may ease the fatigue associated with sleep deprivation, and drinking nonalcoholic beverages during and after alcohol consumption may reduce alcohol-induced dehydration.

Medications - Certain medications may provide symptomatic relief for hangover symptoms. For example, antacids may alleviate nausea and gastritis. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (e.g., ibuprofen or naproxen) may reduce the headache and muscle aches associated with a hangover but should be used cautiously, particularly if upper abdominal pain or nausea is present. Anti-inflammatory medications are themselves gastric irritants and will compound alcohol-induced gastritis. Although acetaminophen is a common alternative to aspirin, its use should be avoided during the hangover period, because alcohol metabolism enhances acetaminophen's toxicity to the liver.

Caffeine - Caffeine (often taken as coffee) is commonly used to counteract the fatigue and malaise associated with the hangover condition. This traditional practice however, lacks scientific support.

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*Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA); Alcohol Withdrawal Volume 22, Number 1, 1998 Alcohol Hangover: Mechanisms and Mediators; Robert Swift and Dena Davidson
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