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How Long Does a Hangover Last?

August 31, 2022

 
How Long Does a Hangover Last?

We’ve all been there: pounding headache, upset stomach, muscle aches, dry mouth, and dizziness. These are the most common hangover symptoms, and they are far from comfortable. Depending on how much you had to drink the night before and the amount of water or food you consumed, your body can experience varying levels of severity when it comes to a hangover. 

And yet, when you’re feeling your worst the morning after, there’s nothing you want more than to make that hangover headache (and the rest of the issues alcohol causes) to disappear. Electrolyte-packed beverages, nourishing foods, hydration, and time are all key factors when determining when a hangover will let up. 

At The I.V. Doc, we are familiar with the discomfort that can be caused by hangovers, which is why we crafted this guide on how long a hangover lasts and traced some of our most effective hangover remedies.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about making that hungover feeling go away. 

What Causes a Hangover?

Let’s clarify the most important fact about hangovers: they are caused by consuming too many alcoholic beverages or high alcohol content drinks. While other substances can cause hangovers, like marijuana, alcohol is responsible for that uncomfortable cluster of symptoms that makes the morning after a night out with friends so unpleasant. 

In addition to consuming too much alcohol, a hangover can be caused by a lack of hydration. Since alcohol is a diuretic, it causes your liver to process fluids more quickly, resulting in more frequent urination. More trips to the bathroom combined without replenishing those lost fluids with glasses of water can easily cause dehydration in your body. 

Symptoms of dehydration – dizziness, nausea, head and neck tension – is mirrored in hangover symptoms. Without adequate hydration, you are more likely to feel acute symptoms of a hangover. 

Lastly, if you started drinking on an empty stomach and didn’t eat beforehand, you’re more likely to get drunk and feel those hangover symptoms more intensely (with a little stomach pain thrown in). Add in the way alcohol can cause low blood sugar, and you can see why you might be feeling pretty bad — and why a pain reliever isn’t necessarily working for you..

Symptoms of a Hangover

We’ve already outlined a few uncomfortable symptoms of a hangover, including a headache, nausea, and dizziness, but hangovers come with all sorts of discomfort. The cluster of symptoms that create a hangover are sensitivity to light, vomiting (due to nausea or your body reacting to excess alcohol), interrupted sleep, fatigue and brain fog, shakiness, elevated heart rate, and increased irritability. 

The fact of the matter is that there really are no benefits to a hangover and no symptoms that are particularly comfortable or easy to manage. However, the severity of a hangover (and its symptoms) correlates with how much alcohol you consumed, how dehydrated you are, whether you have any food in your system, and how much sleep you had. 

How Long Does a Hangover Last?

How severe hangover symptoms are and how long a hangover lasts can depend on various factors, including your age, weight, and tolerance to alcohol. However, a typical hangover can last around 24 hours from when you stopped drinking alcohol. 

And while 24 hours may not seem like a long period of time, an entire day of hangover symptoms can be difficult to manage, particularly if the effects of alcohol are more severe and include migraines, vomiting, or shakiness.

A number of factors can determine how long your alcohol withdrawal will last, and we’ll take a look at a few of them below.

How Much Alcohol is Consumed 

The amount of alcohol you consume is a primary factor in determining what kind of hangover you will experience and how severe the symptoms will be. When you drink, the alcohol in your system acts as a diuretic which causes your body to pass liquid more quickly through your body. Additionally, your liver typically processes the toxic by-products caused by alcohol. 

However, if your liver isn’t able to properly process those by-products, known as acetaldehyde, your system will experience something called oxidative stress. This causes your immune system to have an inflammatory response, in addition to being unable to adequately process and excrete these toxic by-products. 

This over-consumption of alcohol puts stress on your system, which is unable to function properly due to high alcohol intake. Next time you plan a night out or find yourself at dinner with friends (and flowing drinks), prioritize drinking water in-between whatever type of alcohol you are drinking and monitor how much you are drinking. 

How Quickly Are You Drinking?

The amount of alcohol you consume is a major factor in dictating the severity of the side effects you might experience. Another contributing factor that impacts the length of a bad hangover is how quickly you consume red wine, tequila, or other alcohol. 

Since your liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol per hour, you will feel its effects if you consume more than your body can process in a certain period. The more quickly you drink, the higher your blood alcohol levels rise, which can be dangerous if you are consuming alcohol quickly in a short period or binge drinking. 

You may get a severe hangover after a heavy drinking session in a short period, just as you might get a hangover if you drink alcohol over a long time. However, it’s important to note that if you consume more alcohol in a shorter time, the consequences can be significantly more harmful and lead to alcohol poisoning.

When to See a Doctor

If you are consuming significant levels of alcohol regularly or frequently getting hangovers, and suspect you have an alcohol use disorder, it might be wise to consult with your team of medical professionals. Everybody processes alcohol differently, so a few drinks for you might impact someone else completely different. 

If your hangover symptoms persist past 24 hours, or you cannot stop vomiting, seeing a doctor to assess whether you have alcohol poisoning or not can help. 

If you cannot keep down fluids or are just looking to address the discomfort of your hangover, The I.V. Doc is also here to help. We have a luxury selection of hangover remedies that can be delivered to you in the privacy of your home, office, or hotel room through intravenous fluid therapy. 

Our team of licensed medical professionals will come to you with your choice of our Hangover Treatments, including the Cleanse, Detox, Refresh, or Rescue, and administer your intravenous fluid therapy to help you out of bed and back on your feet in no time. 

Packed with important electrolytes, antioxidants, nutrients, and anti-inflammatory support, our IV therapies are here to help you move through the discomfort of a hangover towards a better (more hydrated) day. 

Can I Shorten a Hangover?

Time is the most essential factor in determining how long withdrawal symptoms will last. There is no real cure for a hangover except to avoid drinking. Once you have a hangover, it’s all about managing your symptoms and discomfort and replenishing your body with some much-needed fluids and nutrients to help it heal. 

One of the best ways to lessen the discomfort of your hangover symptoms is to prioritize replenishing your body with the electrolytes and vitamins it’s missing due to a hangover. 

Our Rescue Treatment from The I.V. Doc is a one-stop cure for the discomfort you inevitably feel after a night of drinking. With anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, and anti-heartburn medications on top of hydrating fluids, you could be feeling better within a few hours of receiving your intravenous treatment.

Our Rescue treatment isn’t just for hangovers, either. Whether you’re jet-lagged or experiencing symptoms from the flu or food poisoning, this package is filled with the support your body needs to get through a tough 24 hours. 

The Bottom Line 

Hangovers aren’t fun and can interrupt your plan for the day. If you have a splitting headache, can’t keep food down, and are dehydrated, how are you supposed to get everything done?

Even the best of us forget to hydrate sometimes, and when alcohol is in the mix, you can end up with a cluster of uncomfortable symptoms and feelings of regret the next day. 

While there is no hangover cure, there are things you can do to feel better (and hair of the dog isn’t one of them). Face your hangover head-on – but not alone – with the support of The I.V. Doc. 

We want you to be more comfortable, and on the road to recovery, and our intravenous treatments can help you feel healthier in no time. 

Sources:

Hangovers - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

How to Get Over a Hangover - UnityPoint Health

The Role of Alcohol Metabolism in the Pathology of Alcohol Hangover | PMC

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