Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Had too much to drink did we ..... eh?

What happens to your body after you've had too much to drink

We've sifted through some of the literature to help make sense of your morning-after sensations

By Jonathan Forani/Staff Reporter
Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Your temples are pounding, your ears are ringing, and the lights are too, too bright. Research by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says intoxication leads to vasodilatation — the dilation of blood vessels, decreasing blood pressure — which might be the reason for the most common of hangover symptoms: the headache.

It doesn’t end there. “Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways,” according to the NIAAA. “These disruptions can change mood and behaviour, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.”

Some sufferers may be overcome with anxiety, which researchers have suspected is a symptom of alcohol withdrawal after several days of drinking.


Just because you pass out quickly at the end of the night and stay in bed all day, you won’t necessarily feel rested. Drinking can mean you’ll spend more time in “slow-wave” sleep and less time in satisfying REM (rapid eye movement), according to the NIAAA. No wonder you’re so fatigued and drowsy.


Thirsty? A dry mouth is often indicative of dehydration, one of the most direct effects of excessive alcohol consumption. If you’re really dehydrated, you can expect to feel weak, dizzy and light-headed too.

Research by the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences suggests drinking water before bed and/or during your hangover may reduce some of these symptoms of dehydration, but that “it is unlikely that rehydration significantly reduces the presence and severity of alcohol hangover.”


Your average hangover shouldn't involve tremors. If it does, consider seeing a doctor. This could be a sign of alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal are often teamed with anxiety and nausea, but can be as extreme as hallucinations and seizures.


When your heart is pounding irregularly the next day, think of it as thrashing about in protest. “Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart,” according to the NIAAA. That can lead to problems like irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and the stretching and drooping of heart muscles. Chronic drinkers may need to worry about increased risks of stroke, heart attack and failure.


The liver takes the biggest hit. Since its job is to break down the bad stuff, it takes a beating. Alcohol can interfere with glucose production, and in extreme cases of binge drinking, can result in “alcohol-induced hypoglycemia.” Without enough glucose in the body, you can expect fatigue, weakness and mood disturbances.


Drinking prevents the pancreas from doing its job aiding digestion after a night of drinking, leading to indigestion. This can eventually lead to pancreatitis, according to NIAAA.


Alcohol inflames the stomach lining, delays stomach emptying and produces gastric acid, which may result in the all-too-common nausea and vomiting.

Some research suggests the culprit may be a substance called acetaldehyde. That's what your body converts alcohol into after it's broken down. “Acetaldehyde is highly reactive and can cause tissue damage due to its toxic effects,” says research by the Utrecht Institute, “which may lead to hangover-like symptoms such as nausea, sweating, rapid pulse and headache.”


Forget “don’t break the seal,” that common refrain you hear from friends when you say you need to run to the bathroom at the party. It doesn't really matter how long you wait to go to the bathroom. Alcohol is a diuretic that will send you there anyway. According to research by the NIAAA, drinking promotes urine production by interfering with the release of the hormone vasopressin, which helps the kidneys retain water.

Sexual Organs

More research has been done on alcohol and erectile dysfunction than hangovers in general. The verdict: Performance issues can surface when alcohol is in play. For both men and women, alcohol abuse can also lead to infertility, the NIAAA warns.


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