Health Glossary
How long does a hangover last?

How long does a hangover last?

What is a Hangover?

A hangover is the broad term for various physical and mental symptoms that sometimes occur after alcohol consumption. The duration of a hangover can vary depending on many different factors. Hangover prevention is key, because once you have a hangover, there's almost nothing that will make it better besides simply waiting until the hangover is gone.  

What are the symptoms of a Hangover?

The most common hangover symptoms include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, sensitivity to light and sound, and a general feeling of uneasiness. 

There are many other symptoms of hangovers, including:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shakiness or tremors
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach ache or stomach discomfort
  • Decreased ability to concentrate
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Mood changes, such as irritability and anxiety
  • Increased thirst
  • Sweating
  • Drowsiness or difficulty sleeping
  • General feeling of being unwell

How long do hangovers last?

Hangovers typically last anywhere from several hours to a day or more depending on the individual and the amount of alcohol consumed. Factors such as sleep, hydration, using other substances, and other factors also affect the duration of a hangover.

What impacts the duration of a hangover?

There are several factors that impact how long a hangover lasts.

Hydration Before, During, and After Drinking Alcohol

Drinking water or non-alcoholic beverages will prevent dehydration. This is vital to preventing hangovers since most hangover symptoms are exacerbated by dehydration. Try to drink a glass of water before drinking, between each alcoholic drink, and after drinking.

Amount of Alcohol Consumed

Generally, the more alcohol consumed, the longer the hangover will last.

Type of Alcohol Consumed

Different types of alcohol affect the body differently and they can even cause different hangover symptoms. For example, darker alcoholic drinks like whiskey and red wine contain byproducts of fermentation called congeners that can worsen the symptoms of a hangover.

Genetics and Tolerance

Some people may be more susceptible to hangovers than others due to their tolerance to alcohol and/or their genetics. 

Combining Other Substances with Alcohol

Mixing alcohol with other substances, such as drugs or energy drinks, can worsen the symptoms of a hangover and prolong its duration. 

Cocaine in particular can make hangovers worse. When cocaine and alcohol are consumed together, the liver combines them to form a substance called cocaethylene.

Cocaethylene has a more potent effect on the cardiovascular and central nervous system than either substance alone, and in addition to making hangovers feel worse and last longer, cocaethylene leads to increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

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