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symptoms of a hangover

Evidence based

47 Symptoms of a Hangover

Afterdrink Author Dewey Jhon
Dewey Jhon

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  1. This article is based on currently available scientific evidence at the time of writing and fact checked.
  2. All referenced studies and research papers are from reputable and relevant peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.
  3. Some peer-reviewed papers have stronger study designs and are more robust in terms of quality and reliability. We will make every effort to highlight weak evidence.
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Evidence based

If you’ve ever experienced a bad hangover, you’ll know the symptoms can be debilitating.

Hangover symptoms start when your blood alcohol levels reach zero and everyone experiences them differently.

In this article, we are going to take a look at all the possible symptoms of a hangover.

Table of contents

Study About Hangover Symptoms

A study carried out by R.Penning and co looked at all the hangover symptoms reported by 1420 Dutch students.

and 47 different symptoms were reported!

They ranked every symptom by combining how common and severe they were, which is what we’re going to share with you next.

47 Symptoms of a Hangover

1. Fatigue (reported by 96%)
Fatigue ranked number one in the study and the students felt this was the most prominent symptom.

It’s no surprise because alcohol is usually associated with late nights, dancing, and poor sleep. In addition, alcohol metabolism produces toxic by-products which cause free-radical damage and inflammation.

2. Thirst (Reported by 89%)
Alcohol increases the amount of urine you produce by blocking a hormone called vasopressin from being released from your pituitary gland. As a result, your kidneys flush out too much water.

In fact, for every pint of beer (approximately 500ml), you’ll lose an extra 180ml of water.

This explains why dehydration and thirst are one of the most reported hangover symptoms.

3. Drowsiness (Reported by 88%)
It’s probably expected that it ranks so highly as it’s closely linked to how fatigued you’re feeling.

4. Sleepiness (Reported by 87%)
We feel that sleepiness and drowsiness probably mean the same thing although in this study they separated the two out.

5. Headache (Reported by 87%)
Hangover headaches can really get in the way of you getting on with your day. For some people who already suffer from tension headaches or migraines, it can be particularly severe.

6. Dry mouth (Reported by 83%)
Linked to dehydration, dry mouth and bad breath go hand in hand.

7. Nausea Reported by 81%
Arguably one of the worst symptoms of a hangover, nausea is one of the hangover symptoms you’ll probably want to get rid of first. Sipping on ginger tea could help as it’s a natural anti-sickness remedy.

8. Weakness (Reported by 80%)
You’ll know this hangover symptom very well. Sometimes even trying to get out of bed can be a challenge.

9. Reduced alertness (Reported by 78%)
You’re not going to be 100% when hungover. Reaction times are increased and clumsy mistakes are more common.

10. Concentration problems (Reported by 78%)
Also known as “brain fog”, concentrating when hungover can be a real struggle. We’ve all been there hungover at work where our productivity levels are non-existent.

11. Apathy (lack of interest/concern) (Reported by 74%)
Give a S***? Not when you’re hungover…

12. Increased reaction time (Reported by 74%)
There are several studies that have shown that reaction times when hungover are much slower which is a big problem if you need to be on top form the day after drinking alcohol.

13. Reduced appetite Reported by 62%
Combine reduced appetite with feeling nauseous and you’ll really not want to eat anything. If this is the case, sipping on a sugary drink can help get some calories in you.

14. Clumsiness (Reported by 51%)
How many times have you dropped a plate or walked into a wall when hungover?

15. Agitation (Reported by 50%)
“Hangry” usually refers to being angry when hungry. However, we feel it has a place when hungover too.

16. Vertigo (Reported by 48%)
Vertigo describes the sensation of spinning. This can either mean you feel the room is spinning or you are spinning in the room. Either way, it’s not a very nice feeling and can lead to falls or accidents.

17. Memory problems (Reported by 48%)
“Blackouts” happen when drinking way over your limits and is a sign that your blood alcohol concentration is reaching dangerous levels.

18. Gastrointestinal complaints (Reported by 47%)
By gastrointestinal complaints they mean diarrhea. Alcohol poops are a well-known phenomenon and can be one of the more embarrassing hangover symptoms to have to deal with.

19. Dizziness (Reported by 46%)
Dizziness means something different to everyone. It encompasses vertigo but it can also mean the sensation of feeling light-headed.

20. Stomach pain (Reported by 45%)
Alcohol is an irritant and causes inflammation of the stomach lining which can cause stomach pains and aches.

21. Tremor (Reported by 39%)
Alcohol shakes usually occur if you’ve been drinking excessively. The “rebound effect” is thought to be responsible for this phenomenon as your nervous system snaps into action after being subdued all night.

22. Balance problems (Reported by 39%)
If you’re suffering from dizziness or vertigo, it can have an impact on your balance.

23. Restlessness (Reported by 37%)
Once the alcohol has left your bloodstream, your nervous system snaps back into action and is over-stimulated causing restlessness among other hangover symptoms we will cover below.

24. Shivering (Reported by 34%)

25. Sweating (Reported by 34%)
Alcohol disrupts your body’s temperature regulation because it dilates blood vessels which can cause sweating.

26. Disorientation (Reported by 34%)
Wake up thinking where am I? how did I get here? Yep, more signs of binge drinking. You wouldn’t normally experience disorientation with a mild hangover.

27. Audio sensitivity (Reported by 33%)
This means increased sensitivity to sound. Loud music is the last thing you want to hear when hungover.

28. Photo sensitivity (Reported by 33%)
You guessed it, this means increased sensitivity to light. Close those curtains!

29. Blunted affect (Reported by 30%)
In psychiatry, “affect” refers to one’s mood. When hungover, a third of respondents reported feeling that they were not interested in anything.

30. Muscle pain (Reported by 29%)
A big night out usually involves hours of dancing and most of the aches and pains are as a by-product of this.

31. Loss of taste (Reported by 28%)
Probably because you’ve irritated your taste buds with the spirits you were drinking the night before!

via GIPHY

32. Regret (Reported by 27%)
This point needs to introduction. We’ve all been there after a night of drinking feeling full of regret from the things we did or said the night before.

Luckily, on most occasions, the people you were with probably don’t remember them so it all usually works out OK in the end!

33. Confusion (Reported by 26%)
Confusion is probably the worst just after you’ve woken up but things usually start to clear after a few hours.

34. Guilt (Reported by 25%)
Hangover guilt is a hard one to shake. But it will pass!

35. Gastritis (Reported by 23%)
Gastritis means inflammation of the stomach lining. One of the reasons why you may have indigestion when hungover.

36. Impulsivity (Reported by 23%)
How many bad decisions have you made when hungover? Give it some time and reassess.

37. Hot/cold flushes (Reported by 21%)
Probably one of the more annoying hangover symptoms, dysregulation of your body’s temperature control leads to hot and cold flushes.

38. Vomiting (Reported by 21%)
81% of people reported nausea and 21% vomiting. It’s a real problem when hungover and some people experience this symptom after having even small amounts of alcohol.

39. Heart pounding (Reported by 19%)
This is different from palpitations and describes the sensation of forceful heart contractions. It could be secondary to dehydration as your heart tries to pump harder.

40. Depression (Reported by 19%)
If you’re someone who suffers from low mood, alcohol can significantly worsen symptoms and is best to avoid it.

41. Palpitations (Reported by 17%)
Alcohol is known to cause a fast heart rate and in some cases can lead to arrhythmias. Scientists are still not sure exactly how alcohol causes palpitations however it’s thought to be secondary to its direct toxic effect on heart cells as well as electrolyte imbalance.

42. Tinnitus (Reported by 17%)
Tinnitus was reported by some which is a ringing in the ears. This is probably because of loud music from the night before!

43. Nystagmus (Reported by 16%)
Nystagmus is when the eyes flick side to side. It can be worsened by feelings of dizziness. It does, however, resolve with time.

44. Anger (Reported by 10%)
The smallest things can make us angry when hungover as we are more irritable.

45. Respiratory problems (Reported by 10%)
Some people with histamine intolerance can develop allergy-like symptoms after drinking.

46. Anxiety (Reported by 7%)
Anxiety and depression are distinct symptoms however they often come together. Initially, drinking alcohol will settle anxious nerves however, in the long run, it’ll make anxiety a lot worse.

47. Suicidal thoughts (Reported by 2%)
2% of people in the study reported suicidal thoughts when hungover. If you experience this, consider calling a helpline or speaking to your doctor right away.

Anything else to consider?

Hangovers are a sign by your body that you’ve been drinking too much for your liver to handle. The best way to prevent a hangover is by drinking less alcohol.

If you experience severe hangover symptoms on a regular basis, it’s probably a good time to consider cutting down on your alcohol intake.

Drinking within your limits, keeping well hydrated, and eating a meal before going out can make a big difference in preventing the worst hangovers.

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