What Happens To Your Body During A Hangover

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It’s happened. You’ve gone out with your clients, or you’ve had a work party, or it’s the weekend, and you drank a bit too much.The formal name for a hangover is veisalgia. It comes from a Norwegian word that means “uneasiness following debauchery” (kveis) and also the Greek word for “pain” (algia). It occurs when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) starts to fall after drinking and peaks wen your BAC hits zero.

It’s withdrawal people, and it’s terrible.

Try any cure you want, but the fact is that for a matter of hours your body is going to go through a painful, debilitating process.

Let’s break it down for you.

It makes you urinate a lot (dehydrates you) by blocking the secretion of vassopressin.

Vassopressin, also known as the antidiuretic hormone and created in the petuitary gland, is what makes your kidneys absorb water.

So when you drink, any H2O bypasses your kidneys and goes straight to the bladder.

Source: How Stuff Works

It gives you a headache and makes you nauseous.

When you urinate excessively, your body releases sodium and potassium and this is what you get.

Source: How Stuff Works

It messes with your sleep.

Your body gets excited as your blood alcohol concentration decreases, so you keep waking up abruptly or you sleep lightly.

Source: About.com

It makes it hard for you to concentrate and remember things.

This is because the withdrawal from alcohol creates an inflammatory response in your immune system.

Source: The Mayo Clinic

It stresses you out.

It makes you more susceptible to colds and other diseases.

This is an example of some of the biological stressors your body can't fight as well when you're hungover.

Thank goodness it only lasts around 24 hours.

Source: Disturbances of the Stress Response: The Role of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis During Alcohol Withdrawal and Abstinence

It makes you tired.

This is because your liver starts to break down glycogen, turns it into glucose, and sends it out of your body when you use the bathroom. That glycogen is supposed to be giving you energy.

Source: How Stuff Works

It can give you heartburn and/or make you throw up.

Alcohol increases the acid in your stomach, which wares away the lining of you stomach (and irritates it generally) and causes the unfortunate effects mention above.

Source: The Mayo Clinic

It can give you the shakes.

Due to neurological imbalances caused by withdrawal. These shakes can range in severity from simple tremors to seizures.

Source: Electrophysiological Changes After Repeated Alcohol Withdrawal

It makes you confused and disoriented.

It can even make you hallucinate.

This is known as delirium tremens and occurs when the autonomic neurosystem goes into hyperactive mode. Women tend to experience this less than men.

Source: Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal: Pathophysiological Insights

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