What is a Hangover?

 In Addiction & Recovery Ins and Outs, Addiction Flash Blog

What Causes Hangovers?

Of course, we all know that a night of too much drinking causes a hang over the next day. Scientists aren’t completely sure about why we get hangovers, but there are a couple promising hypotheses.

One proposes the cause is accumulation of the toxin acetaldehyde, which is the first byproduct when the body processes alcohol. Another suggests that it is mainly the immune system’s reaction to alcohol that causes hangovers.

Hangover Symptoms

Whatever the cause, the symptoms can be quite uncomfortable:

Pounding Headache
Nausea & Vomiting
Fatigue & Confusion
Light Sensitivity
Anxiety or Depressive Feelings

It is true that dehydration is a factor of hangovers, but it isn’t the primary factor. Scientists believe now that the cause is a chemical imbalance that occurs while the body processes alcohol and remains after.

Is a Hangover Withdrawal?

Hangovers and alcohol withdrawal are very different. Alongside consistent binge drinking, the body grows accustomed and adjusts to having large quantities of alcohol in the blood consistently—aka tolerance. If alcohol is removed from the system, the body then struggles to sustain balance without it—this is withdrawal.

Hangovers occur from drinking too much and the body’s process to rid the system of alcohol. Hangovers are never deadly and only last up to about 24 hours. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening and sustains for much longer.

What if I do Experience Withdrawal?

If you believe you are experiencing alcohol withdrawal, you should call 911. If you are worried that you are addicted to alcohol and want to find help, call (520) 288-8484 to hear about treatment and recovery.

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