How to cure that hangover!
WOMAN - UK|December 06, 2021
’Tis the season to be merry, but too much Christmas fun could be putting your health at risk...
DR PHILIPPA KAYE

Last year’s party season was effectively cancelled for many people. But with restrictions on gatherings now over (for the moment at least), it’s no wonder many of us are gearing up for this year’s celebrations. Although some people have enjoyed quieter times during the pandemic and are anxious about returning to social events, others have missed them hugely and can’t wait to start partying. Whichever group you identify with (and you don’t have to be one or the other), there may be a lot of alcohol being offered to you in the next few weeks!

Humans have been drinking alcohol probably ever since it was invented. But what actually happens to your body when you drink? Alcohol affects your brain and nervous system, and it may – at first – make you feel relaxed, and less inhibited. However, alcohol also slows down your reflexes and affects both your memory and your decision making.

In the short-term, alcohol might make you feel good, but it also leads to a hangover! Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that you urinate more than usual which can result in dehydration, making you feel unwell. The combination of dehydration and the fact that alcohol can make the blood vessels in the body and brain dilate mean that you get a headache.

Irritation in the stomach from alcohol often leads to nausea and vomiting, and can cause indigestion, stomach ulcers, diarrhoea and heartburn. Disturbed sleep leaves you feeling tired and you may also have low blood sugar as the liver is too busy processing alcohol instead of storing sugar. Alcohol can affect your mood, making you feel low and depressed. In the longer term, it can impact how your brain works – it will actually look smaller on a scan!

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