If you’ve ever suffered from a bad hangover, you know how uncomfortable it can be. In dramatic moments, you may have even asked yourself “can I die from this?” It may seem laughable for such a common condition like a hangover to be fatal, but it may be more likely than you think.
Individuals who struggle with substance abuse and alcoholism may deal with more intense hangovers than people who only party occasionally. While hangovers are simply irritating and frustrating for us, they could potentially be deadly for people with alcohol or drug-related issues.
What Is A Hangover?
A hangover is a set of symptoms that occurs after someone drinks a large amount of alcohol. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means it affects the body’s nervous system in a variety of ways. When someone has a hangover, their body is trying to flush all the alcohol they drank out of their system. Hangovers usually kick in about 6-8 hours after someone stops drinking and can last up to 24 hours after someone stops drinking.
Side Effects of A Hangover
Hangovers may vary depending on the individual and what they drink, but they do come with a specific set of symptoms. Side effects of a hangover may include:
- Headaches or migraines
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sluggishness, exhaustion, weakness
- Trouble sleeping and insomnia
- Excessive thirst and dehydration
- Racing heart
- Loss of concentration
- Changes in mood
- Changes in cognitive function
How severe someone’s hangover side effects will be depends on several factors:
- How much they drank the night before
- What they drank the night before and if they mixed types of drinks
- How old they are
- How much they weigh
- If alcoholism runs in their family
If someone drinks extremely heavily and has an intense hangover, what are they at risk for?
Can You Die From A Hangover?
A hangover alone cannot kill you, but drinking too much alcohol can be deadly. In fact, it can be a good sign that the alcohol is starting to leave your system. Drinking too much, however, can be fatal. Drinking heavily can cause alcohol poisoning, which may lead to death. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include disorientation, seizures, pale or bluish skin, slow or irregular breathing, feeling abnormally cold, losing consciousness, and more.
Steps to Cure A Hangover
Even though there is no way to cure a hangover, there are ways to make it more bearable. If you have a hangover, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat food even if you aren’t hungry. Try to get plenty of rest and take pain medication if necessary, but avoid using Tylenol.
In severe hangover cases, medical treatment may be required. Someone struggling from an extreme hangover or alcohol poisoning should visit the emergency room as possible. Treatment may include getting the stomach pumped to clear alcohol out of the body.
How to Prevent A Severe Hangover
The best way to prevent a severe hangover is to monitor how much you drink in one night. Sip your drinks instead of chugging them and make sure you have friends around you who will let you know if you’re drinking too much. Other than that, there’s only so much you can do to avoid a hangover. Eating and drinking water before consuming alcohol may help, but it doesn’t guarantee that you will not feel a hangover the next day.
To learn more about hangovers and how dangerous they could potentially be or if you are looking to admit yourself or a loved one into our detox program, contact our team of substance abuse treatment specialists by calling 866-345-2147.