WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BODY DURING A HANGOVER
If you’ve ever crawled out of bed with a splitting headache or an upset stomach after a night out, you know just how miserable hangovers can be. Veisalgia, the medical term for a hangover, often strikes when you overindulge or consume a number of different types of alcohol over the course of an evening. Although the symptoms of a hangover are only temporary, it’s important to understand how alcohol and its aftereffects impact your health.
WHAT CAUSES A HANGOVER?
Regardless of how much you consume, alcohol sets off a chain reaction in your brain – first up are your neurotransmitters. Alcohol disrupts the function of these transmitters, which in turn affects how your body releases certain chemicals. Initially, this disruption induces a sense of euphoria. “Feel good” chemicals like dopamine are released after your first few drinks, causing you to feel happy, sociable, and carefree. The consequences of dopamine overflow, however, may come back to haunt you once the euphoria wears off and a hangover sets in.
WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN
Alcohol and the withdrawal your body experiences after drinking too much of it can affect your physical state as well as your mental well-being. What goes up must come down, and that includes your dopamine levels, which plummet after a night of heavy drinking. Because drinking directly influences the chemical activity in your brain, hangovers tend to exacerbate issues like depression and anxiety. Alcohol also disrupts your normal sleep patterns, further contributing to negative thoughts and moodiness.
When you drink, your system starts to metabolize or break down the alcohol flowing through your bloodstream. As alcohol oxidizes, it transforms into something called acetaldehyde, which is the chemical that causes you to feel awful in the morning. A buildup of acetaldehyde is toxic to the system, and it’s what causes you to feel lethargic, sore, nauseous, and drained of energy the morning after a night of drinking.