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How Can I Deal with a Really Bad Hangover?

Daniel Liden
Updated Feb 03, 2024
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A bad hangover is never a pleasant thing to have, but there are many different ways that one can enjoy a night of drinking without suffering too badly from unpleasant consequences the next morning. Hours after drinking heavily, one may suffer from a headache, fatigue, sluggishness, dehydration, light sensitivity, and a variety of other symptoms. Acute alcohol withdrawal and dehydration are among the many theorized causes of these hangover symptoms. Attempts to avoid or treat these and other symptoms that define a bad hangover should start when one decides to start drinking. Simple preventative and curative measures include drinking in moderation, drinking a large quantity of water, and eating high-carbohydrate foods.

The first way to deal with a bad hangover is to avoid one altogether. While this is not always possible, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the intensity of a hangover or to prevent one. One simple preventative step is drinking in moderation, as one only tends to suffer from a particularly bad hangover when one consumes a great deal of alcohol. If this is not an appealing option, the next method to avoid or to treat a hangover is through hydration, as dehydration is one of the major causes of hangover symptoms.

Drinking water is absolutely essential if one is to avoid or treat a bad hangover. One should drink a great deal of water while one is consuming alcohol, as alcohol is a powerful diuretic, so it severely diminishes the body's ability to retain water. If this is impractical, one should at least drink a substantial quantity of water after finishing drinking alcohol, perhaps before one goes to sleep. Water is more effective at preventing the symptoms of a bad hangover than it is at treating a hangover. Regardless, it is important to drink a lot of water when one is hung over, as treating dehydration is an important part of treating the hangover.

A variety of other options are available for the treatment of a bad hangover. High carbohydrate foods can return blood sugar to normal levels, which is particularly important for treating nausea and the physiological conditions associated with hangovers. Painkillers such as aspirin can be helpful in treating a bad hangover but should not be taken while one is drinking, as the combination of alcohol and some painkillers is toxic. Sports drinks, bananas and other fruits, and some juices can be helpful because they provide both hydration and essential salts and vitamins. Though it only delays the problem and is often indicative of alcoholism, drinking more alcohol can also sometimes temporarily remedy hangover symptoms.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Daniel Liden
By Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to his work. With a diverse academic background, he crafts compelling content on complex subjects, showcasing his ability to effectively communicate intricate ideas. He is skilled at understanding and connecting with target audiences, making him a valuable contributor.
Discussion Comments
By AnswerMan — On Sep 24, 2014

@Ruggercat68- I used to be one of those drinkers who insisted on having a smaller version of my preferred drink the next day. I think the temporary jolt of alcohol made me think I was "stepping down" slowly. Instead of quitting drinking all at once and experiencing really bad hangover symptoms, I could stay a little inebriated and enjoy the euphoria of intoxication longer.

I realize now it wasn't the best hangover remedy available.

By Ruggercat68 — On Sep 24, 2014

One supposed cure for hangovers clearly does not work, and I'm glad this article didn't even mention it. It is never good to have another drink while you're suffering from a really bad hangover. Some people call it the "hair of the dog that bit me", but I just call it prolonging the inevitable. Your liver is already working overtime to process the alcohol you already fed it, so why make matters worse by drinking more?

By Reminiscence — On Sep 23, 2014

I don't drink very much at all these days, but back in my twenties I was a heavy binge drinker. I almost always ended up with a really bad hangover on Sunday mornings. I tried a few of the things mentioned in this article to minimize the bad hangover symptoms, but I'd still be sick as a dog on Monday mornings.

One thing I would suggest is clearing your entire personal and professional schedule for at least one full day after heavy drinking. If you're experiencing all of these really bad hangover symptoms, the last thing you want to do is go into the office or make a lunch date or babysit your sister's children. Give your body enough time to detoxify and recover before putting it through more stressful events.

Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to...
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