Infographic: The Anatomy of a Hangover

By: Gaia Staff

If you’ve ever let your hair down and had a few too many drinks, you’re certainly familiar with the unsavory experience of a hangover. Waking up with a dry mouth and a throbbing headache isn’t exactly pleasant, but have you ever given a second thought as to why your body behaves the way it does after a bender? The infographic below explores the anatomy of a hangover, from the process of getting drunk to methods of possible prevention.

One of the biggest issues associated with a hangover is the area of dehydration. You may be aware that you urinate more frequently when you drink alcohol, and the reason for that is that your body stops producing vasopressin, a neurohypophysial hormone that helps the body to retain water and constrict blood vessels. Without vasopressin, your body begins to send all liquids directly to your bladder.

With frequent visits to the bathroom, your organs become dehydrated, and begin to steal water from your brain. The headache you experience is caused by your brain shrinking and pulling on the membranes that connect it to your skull. When you drink alcohol, you urinate four times more liquid than you drink. What this means is that you end up ridding your body of salt, potassium and magnesium which control nerve, muscle and general cell function. Without those natural minerals, you begin to feel depleted.

There are a number of ways to help prevent a hangover. Here are the top five:

Eat, Eat, Eat Before your night on the town, ensure that you eat something; having a full stomach before drinking absorbs alcohol and protects your stomach lining.

Take a Supplement Taking hangover tablets to boost your body’s vitamin and mineral levels is a good way to combat the vitamin depletion that comes with frequent urination.

Stay Hydrated While you’re out, try to hydrate: one glass of water per one alcoholic drink is recommended.

Don’t Mix & Match Don’t mix your drinks. Each alcohol produces different chemicals and when mixed, they do not work harmoniously with your body.

Take Two Help combat inflammation early. After you get home, take two aspirin, ibuprophen, naproxen or otherNSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug)with a large glass of water before bed and in the morning to reduce inflammation.

(Image courtesy of Revivol)




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