If you’ve ever experienced a hangover, you know just how awful it is. Your entire day is ruined because of terrible symptoms like nausea, irritability, thirst, weakness, fatigue, and muscle aches. No one wants to get a hangover, and people do everything in their power to not get one, either by limiting the amount of alcohol they consume or finding other ways to dampen down the symptoms.
Have you heard of the “a hair of the dog that bit you” cure?
Some people believe that if alcohol causes a hangover, it can also cure it. Believe it or not, it’s a myth. While alcohol does seem to help with hangover symptoms, the effects don’t last very long, and the cycle repeats again. In fact, drinking alcohol the day you experience hangover symptoms will just cure that hangover for a little while and delay the arrival of the next one.
Why alcohol is a temporary hangover remedy
Hangovers occur when your blood alcohol levels reach close to zero. Consuming alcohol, therefore, does two things:
It increases the level of alcohol in the blood
This gives people a restart, but as the body breaks down alcohol again, the result will be the same, another hangover.
It encourages the release of the body’s “feel-good hormones,” i.e., dopamine and endorphins
This help to relax the body and produce feelings of euphoria and pleasure, thereby reducing or masking the symptoms of a hangover. But when the effects of alcohol decline as it is broken down by the liver, the hangover symptoms will appear again as an unwelcome guest you would rather want to get rid of.
Be careful of alcohol addictions
Testing out this “cure” is good and all, but regular dependence can turn into a habit, and habits can lead to addictions. A surge and drop in our body’s feel-good hormones can encourage people to get hooked to achieve the same surge and avoid getting a hangover. It is therefore advised that, while this is a great trick for temporary hangover relief, you mustn’t continue using it. The fact that it doesn’t actually cure a hangover is reason enough, but also, an alcohol addiction will be far more painful in life than a simple hangover.
The “a hair of the dog that bit you” cure might worsen a hangover
Masking something temporarily is never a good idea because the actual problem is still lurking in the background. Now imagine if the lurker is a hangover. When you mask a hangover with more alcohol, you are just adding fuel to the fire because when the effects of alcohol die down, you are going to experience a stronger hangover, much worse than you had to begin with.
There are better ways to ease a hangover
Your number 1 priority should be to avoid a hangover altogether. This is best done by not consuming alcohol, or if you can’t refrain, strictly controlling the amount you consume. For instance, before heading out to a party, tell yourself that you wouldn’t drink more than 2 glasses or bottles of alcoholic beverages and then stick to it. But if you do get a hangover, there are easy steps you can take to tone down its effects so that you can at least go about your day without any difficulty.
Drink plenty of water with alcohol, right before you go to sleep and the next day
Alcohol is a dehydrator, one of the reasons why you feel terribly thirsty if you have a hangover. If you ignore your thirst or water intake, even if you are not thirsty, then your hangover symptoms will be worse.
Choose an alcoholic beverage that is less likely to give you a hangover
It’s funny that different drinks will have slightly different effects on you the next day. Distilled spirits such as vodka might be better for a hangover than drinks like whiskey. This is because vodka has the least amount of congeners. These are substances that can make a hangover worse.
Never drink on an empty stomach
If your stomach is empty and you drink alcohol, more of it will be absorbed into the bloodstream. This is because food present in the stomach causes the pyloric sphincter, a muscle located between the stomach and the small intestine, to close. With a closed pyloric sphincter, the contents remain in the stomach to be digested.
Never mix alcohol and a fizzy drink
A fizzy beverage increases the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream. The more alcohol in the blood, the more the chances of getting a worse hangover the next day.
Know your body and how different types of alcohols and their quantities affect you
If you’ve had many years of experience drinking different alcoholic beverages, chances are that you will be aware of their effects on you. With this experience, you can keep your drinks in check and consume only the amount that you will be comfortable with.
Don’t let peer pressure get the best of you
No one should be able to make you do anything you don’t want to do. If you are out with your friends, had a couple of rounds, and have now decided to call it a day, but suddenly, a friend shows up in front of you with a tequila shot, politely refuse. Tell them that you won’t be drinking anymore and take a stand if they try to force you to drink more.
Hangovers are never fun, and the ideal situation is not getting one. But, in most cases, hangovers, whether mild or severe, are just a normal part of drinking alcohol. You should always be equipped with the best strategies to deal with them by listening to your body and experimenting. Remember, there is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol as long as you know how to drink in moderation and consume plenty of water.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.