You’re lying in bed. Your head is pounding like a jackhammer and your stomach feels like you just rode a roller coaster 20 times in row. As you’re lying there (staring at a ceiling that will not stop spinning), the only question that comes to mind is: Why did I drink so much last night?

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. You had that one drink that put you over the edge, and now youre paying for it. No matter how many times you tell yourself that youll never drink that much again, you almost certainly will, and the dreaded hangover will inevitably strike back.

Luckily, you don’t have to suffer through the torture of a terrible hangover twice. To all you party animals out there, here are some tips that will get your hungover-self detoxed after a night of one too many tequila shots.

1. Drink, drink, drink! Water, that is. If you do anything for your hangover, drinking water should be #1 on the list. Your body is naturally 90 percent water, but it will feel more like nine percent after a night of heavy drinking. Keep a Brita pitcher bedside and drink up.

For more tips, check out 10 easy ways to sneak in your daily water intake.

2. Detox with herbal teas. Drinking herbal teas (like fennel, mint, or chamomile) the morning after a crazy night calms, soothes, and relaxes your stomach. Tea also works wonders on headaches and indigestion, especially when sweetened with honey.

3. Eat your fruits and veggies. Alcohol flushes vitamins from your body, so now you need to indulge in fruits and vegetables; they will help your body rebound after a long night out.

4. Get some shuteye. After getting to bed as the sun was rising, you’re probably surprised that you woke up just a few hours later (much to your chagrin). And why is this? The spins and other effects of alcohol inferfered with your REM cycle last night. The solution is simple: if you had a late night, rest up the next day.

5. Skip your Starbucks fix. A weak cup of coffee is okay, but too much caffeine will dehydrate your body — the opposite of what you want after a night of partying. Even though you’re extremely tired and a cup of Joe seems like the best way to wake you up, stay away.

How many calories are really in your morning coffee?

6. Gatorade: The hangover cure from heaven. Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade will help replenish the electrolytes your body needs to re-hydrate your system (because you took trips to the bathroom every 15 minutes the night before).

7. Sweat out your hangover. Even though you might not feel like running a marathon, exercise will help rid your body of the toxins that were in all of those cocktails. Increased circulation gets blood and oxygen to where your body needs it most — your brain.

8. Shake it up. Make yourself a banana milkshake in the morning. The banana calms your stomach, while the milk will soothe. The fruit is also rich in electrolytes, magnesium, and potassium, all nutrients that are depleted during heavy drinking. Add a touch of honey to satisfy your sweet tooth — it will build up decreased blood-sugar levels.

9. Restore the flora in your stomach. That’s right. Its important to balance the levels of probiotics in your tummy — it will aid in the digestion and metabolism of alcohol. Try Activia yogurt: it tastes great and each spoonful will help you along the road to recovery.

10. Take your vitamins! B-vitamins will help metabolize the alcohol and restore energy levels (a high dosage is necessary for this remedy to work; try 50-75 mg). Better yet, take them before you go to bed and let them work their magic while you sleep (that is, if you can remember to). If you are a frequent partier, make it a habit to take your Vitamin B supplement every morning.

11. Chicken soup for the hungover soul. Grandma’s favorite standby works well for a hangover.

12. Try a Sprite spritzer. Pour yourself a glass of Sprite and throw in an Alka-Seltzer: the antacid will put an end to your nausea — trust us.

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7 steps to cure your hangover

Drinking fluids may help with the morning-after misery from getting drunk.

Hangovers seem to be the body’s way of reminding us about the hazards of overindulgence. Physiologically, it’s a group effort: Diarrhea, fatigue, headache, nausea, and shaking are the classic symptoms. Sometimes, systolic (the upper number) blood pressure goes up, the heart beats faster than normal, and sweat glands overproduce — evidence that the “fight or flight” response is revved up. Some people become sensitive to light or sound. Others suffer a spinning sensation (vertigo).

The causes are as varied as the symptoms. Alcohol is metabolized into acetaldehyde, a substance that’s toxic at high levels. However, concentrations rarely get that high, so that’s not the complete explanation.

Drinking interferes with brain activity during sleep, so a hangover may be a form of sleep deprivation. Alcohol scrambles the hormones that regulate our biological clocks, which may be why a hangover can feel like jet lag, and vice versa. Alcohol can also trigger migraines, so some people may think they’re hung over when it’s really an alcohol-induced migraine they’re suffering.

Hangovers begin after blood alcohol levels start to fall. In fact, according to some experts, the worst symptoms occur when levels reach zero.

The key ingredient seems to be “drinking to intoxication”; how much you drank to get there is less important. In fact, several studies suggest that light and moderate drinkers are more vulnerable to getting a hangover than heavy drinkers. Yet there’s also seemingly contradictory research showing that people with a family history of alcoholism have worse hangovers. Researchers say some people may end up with drinking problems because they drink in an effort to relieve hangover symptoms.

Dr. Robert Swift, a researcher at the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Rhode Island, coauthored one of the few review papers on hangovers in 1998. It’s still one of the most frequently cited sources on the topic. The rundown on hangover remedies that follows is based on that review, an interview with Dr. Swift, and several other sources.

1. Hair of the dog. Drinking to ease the symptoms of a hangover is sometimes called taking the hair of the dog, or hair of the dog that bit you. The notion is that hangovers are a form of alcohol withdrawal, so a drink or two will ease the withdrawal.

There may be something to it, says Dr. Swift. Both alcohol and certain sedatives, such as benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium), interact with GABA receptors on brain cells, he explains. And it’s well documented that some people have withdrawal symptoms from short-acting sedatives as they wear off. Perhaps the brain reacts similarly as blood alcohol levels begin to drop.

Even so, Dr. Swift advises against using alcohol as a hangover remedy. “The hair of the dog just perpetuates a cycle,” he says. “It doesn’t allow you to recover.”

2. Drink fluids. Alcohol promotes urination because it inhibits the release of vasopressin, a hormone that decreases the volume of urine made by the kidneys. If your hangover includes diarrhea, sweating, or vomiting, you may be even more dehydrated. Although nausea can make it difficult to get anything down, even just a few sips of water might help your hangover.

3. Get some carbohydrates into your system. Drinking may lower blood sugar levels, so theoretically some of the fatigue and headaches of a hangover may be from a brain working without enough of its main fuel. Moreover, many people forget to eat when they drink, further lowering their blood sugar. Toast and juice is a way to gently nudge levels back to normal.

4. Avoid darker-colored alcoholic beverages. Experiments have shown that clear liquors, such as vodka and gin, tend to cause hangovers less frequently than dark ones, such as whiskey, red wine, and tequila. The main form of alcohol in alcoholic beverages is ethanol, but the darker liquors contain chemically related compounds (congeners), including methanol. According to Dr. Swift’s review paper, the same enzymes process ethanol and methanol, but methanol metabolites are especially toxic, so they may cause a worse hangover.

5. Take a pain reliever, but not Tylenol. Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, other brands), and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help with the headache and the overall achy feelings. NSAIDs, though, may irritate a stomach already irritated by alcohol. Don’t take acetaminophen (Tylenol). If alcohol is lingering in your system, it may accentuate acetaminophen’s toxic effects on the liver.

6. Drink coffee or tea. Caffeine may not have any special anti-hangover powers, but as a stimulant, it could help with the grogginess. Coffee is a diuretic, though, so it may exacerbate dehydration.

7. Vitamin B6. A study published over 30 years ago found that people had fewer hangover symptoms if they took a total of 1,200 milligrams of vitamin B6 before, during, and just after drinking to get drunk. But it was a small study and doesn’t seem to have been replicated.

Explore the many factors to consider when deciding how much (if any) alcohol is safe for you. Buy the Special Health Report, Alcohol Use and Abuse to get details of the dangers of alcohol misuse, from drunk driving to chronic, life-threatening health conditions.

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At one point in your life, perhaps during college of your 20s, you were probably able to go out drinking, come home, pass out and get a decent night’s sleep. Unfortunately, as we age, our post-alcohol sleep quality goes downhill quickly. And that’s not even getting into the hangover.

Heavy drinking can give you a hangover, sure, but part of the reason you feel so sluggish and worn out after a night of drinking is because you get such terrible sleep. It only takes a couple drinks to ruin your rest, but all isn’t lost. Here’s how to turn a potentially restless night into something that’s at least a little recharging.


Before you go out

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If you’ve ever had a few drinks before bed and found yourself sleeping deeply, then shallowly, waking and falling asleep again all night, that’s because of the “rebound effect.” It makes you constantly slip out of the deep sleep and into lighter stages of sleep that are easier to wake from.

As Timothy Roehrs and Thomas Roth of the Henry Ford Sleep Disorders and Research Center explain, the rebound effect is the body’s way of snapping back to normal after the alcohol that initially helped you fall asleep is processed. Instead of being drunkenly sleepy, your body snaps back to life. This makes you highly sensitive to your environment, like light coming through your window, the sound of a car horn outside, even a slight change in temperature. Once the alcohol leaves your bloodstream, the tiniest of variables can jolt you awake, even though you know you need more rest. If you’ve ever woken up crazy early for no reason after having a few glasses of wine the night before, now you know why. Still, it can help to do some prep before you even take your first sip:

Make your bed welcoming for when you get home

If you head out drinking right before you know you’re going to bed, you can’t avoid these disruptions in your sleep. But if you prepare your sleeping environment before you head out, you can do a lot. For starters, remember the basics. Good sleep hygiene is even more important now. Filter out the light in your room with blackout curtains, or get a sleep mask. Set the temperature so it’s nice and cool—around 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit—so you don’t get too hot when you finally crawl in bed, and get some earplugs to help block out any noise in your environment. Making your bed could help too: that way you’re not messing with the covers or trying to straighten it out when you come home, waking yourself up in the process.


And if possible, Elizabeth Kovacs, Ph.D., Director of the Alcohol Research program at Loyola University Chicago, says that getting good sleep each night leading up to that party will reduce the impact one night of drinking will have. Basically, pretend that you’ll be trying to sleep in a loud, well-lit factory that night and prepare accordingly.

Eat a balanced meal

Before you take your first sip of alcohol, make sure you’ve had a solid, balanced meal to help regulate your body’s absorption of alcohol. A nice, slow-burning meal with some protein, a few carbs and some fat will introduce the alcohol to your bloodstream gradually so your body can process it without overworking itself. Red meat is a pretty decent choice because, according to Jason Burke, M.D., creator of Hangover Heaven, it has a high concentration of protein and B vitamins, which help process alcohol byproducts in your body.


While you’re out and drinking

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So you’re out, living it up, enjoying a few drinks with friends. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it’s going to make you pee—a lot. That also means that as you drink you’re dehydrating yourself. Dehydration is what gives you a headache when you get home (not to mention the next day); makes you feel dizzy, hot, and uncomfortable; and causes you to toss and turn all night long.

Drink plenty of water

Obviously the best solution is to drink water. Easy enough, but the key is how much and when. If possible, alternate between one drink and one glass of water. This keeps you hydrated while you drink, and it fills you up so don’t end up drinking as much alcohol—which is what will save you the most grief in the long run. And it’s a good idea to avoid caffeine. That means no vodka & Red Bulls, and steer clear of the Irish Coffees.


Cut yourself off early

Finally, cutting yourself off early is the smartest thing you can do if you know you need to sleep. If you still want to have a good time and avoid being a party pooper, front-load your drinking for the night (after having something to eat), and slowly taper off from there over the whole evening.


Having dinner with friends first and then planning to hit the bar? Have a few glasses of wine at dinner, and nurse a drink or two at the bar. Don’t worry too much about mixing alcohols; the old sayings like “liquor before beer, you’re in the clear” and “beer before liquor, you’ve never been sicker” are largely nonsense. It really just comes down to your individual tastes and preferences.

Ideally you would cut yourself off so most of the alcohol in your system has been metabolized before you even get home and try to sleep. This way you get decent rest and miss out on the hangover the next day. If you want a ballpark estimate, aim to cut yourself off at least four hours before you go to sleep. That might seem like a long time to go without a drink at a party, but if you take into account how much time it takes you to get home, unwind, and then hit the sack, you’ll still enjoy yourself while your body processes what you’ve already enjoyed.


When you get home

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If you’re sober enough to comprehend what’s going on, these before-bed tips will give you the best chance of safely sleeping through the night.

Go easy on pain meds

To combat the eventual alcohol-related headache and fight off the early effects of a hangover, take a small dose of ibuprofen when you get home. Stay away from Tylenol or other acetaminophen-based medicines as they can damage your liver when mixed with alcohol.


Also, stay away from any sleeping medication. It might sound like a great way to cheat the system, and get some rest, but alcohol can multiply its effect, mess with your breathing and cause pauses in your oxygen intake, all of which will not just make you feel even worse in the morning, but can be downright dangerous.

Snack smart

It’s also a good idea to plan out some before-bed snacks so you don’t raid the fridge if you’re hungry when you get home. Focus on stabilizing your gut so you don’t get indigestion and providing your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to process the alcohol efficiently while you sleep. You can’t go wrong with high-fiber foods, like vegetables, fruits and crackers. High fiber foods will slow the digestive process some, meaning it will also slow the absorption and processing of alcohol, but it’s a worthy trade-off if you get indigestion after drinking, or if your stomach is unsettled.


Honey is another solid post-drinking snack. Dr. Richard Stephens at Keele University explains that low blood sugar can make the after-effects of drinking alcohol worse. A spoonful of honey, some honey slathered on toast, or even a banana will provide you simple, easy-to-break down sugars to fuel the body’s breaking down of alcohol through the night. Keep your before-bed foods neutral. These are great snacks for the morning after as well, when your blood sugar will be especially low.

Replenish your body’s lost nutrients

It’s also a good idea to pop some vitamins before you hit the hay so you can replenish any you may have lost while drinking. A standard multivitamin is sufficient, but according to a study published in QJM: An International Journal for Medicine, alcohol reduces your body’s supply of B vitamins (used to break down the alcohol), so a B vitamin supplement might be a good idea. Don’t pop a ton of pills before bed or the next morning, but thiamine, folic acid and magnesium sulfate can help as well.


In the ER, doctors will give patients with acute alcohol toxicity a mixture of these via IV in what’s known as a “banana bag,” which helps correct the chemical imbalance in the body. You can prepare your own mixture of “banana bag” supplements (in smaller doses obviously) to do the same thing.


Have one last small glass of water before bed, then fill a glass to keep on your nightstand in case you get thirsty later. Don’t drink too much water—you’ll just wake up through the night to go to the bathroom, time you could be sleeping. You could also consider Pedialyte, a nutrient-rich option that will hydrate and isn’t full of sugar like other sports drinks. It won’t instantly cure your dehydration or potential hangover, however, so don’t treat it like some magical potion you can just chug when you get home (it’s actually better the morning after.) The key to beating dehydration is prevention.

Finally, put your phone on silent or into airplane mode so notifications don’t wake you. If you can, turn off your alarm and plan to sleep in. You’ll need more time to get the rest you need. However, if you’re reading this, you probably need to get as much sleep as you can, and probably can’t sleep in. If that’s you, try to call it a night next time.


This story was originally published on 4/25/16 and was updated on 7/9/19 to provide more thorough and current information.

What Happens to Your Body When You Binge Drink

After a night of chasing beers with tequila shots, the next morning’s hangover might actually be the least of your worries.

More research shows that even a single episode of binge drinking can have serious effects on all parts of your body, not just your brain.

Long-term damage from heavy alcohol use isn’t limited to people with alcohol use disorder. Frequent binge drinkers can also develop health problems.

Binge drinking is defined as men consuming five or more drinks within about two hours. For women, it’s defined as consuming four or more drinks within about two hours.

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 1 in 6 U.S. adults reported binge drinking in 2015.

The 37 million binge drinkers had about one binge per week and consumed an average of seven drinks per episode.

That comes out to about 17 billion total binge drinks for the year.

Here’s a look at how all that alcohol is impacting the health of Americans over both the short and long term.

Short-term effects

You’ll start to feel the effects of alcohol within 5 to 10 minutes of having a drink.

About 90 percent of the alcohol in your blood is broken down by the liver. The rest is excreted through the lungs, kidneys, or in sweat.

For an average-sized person, the liver can only break down about one standard drink per hour. If you drink more alcohol than what your liver can process, your blood alcohol content (BAC) will increase. So will the effects on your body.

Other factors also affect your BAC, such as how quickly you drink, whether you’ve eaten recently, and your body type. Even your age, sex, and ethnicity play a part.

Binge drinking has many effects on the body. But what’s often overlooked is that it can be a risky activity.

“It’s estimated that about half of all alcohol-related deaths in the United States are related to acute intoxication, and most of the economic costs are also related to binge drinking,” said Dr. Timothy Naimi, professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and co-author of the CDC study.

Binge drinking can lead to death from alcohol poisoning. Or by depressing the gag reflex, which puts a person who has passed out at risk of choking on their own vomit.

Excessive alcohol also affects your actions, which can increase your risk of injuries and death from motor vehicle accidents, drowning, suffocation, and other accidents.

“Acutely, when you’re impaired by alcohol, you not only have poor coordination, but you also have very poor judgment and very poor executive functioning,” Naimi told Healthline.

Alcohol is also often found in the blood of people who harm themselves or attempt suicide.

A single night of binge drinking has a number of other effects, especially at higher amounts.

“When it comes to inflammation of the pancreas, stomach, or liver, those effects can be acute,” said Naimi. “A very heavy single drinking episode, or several of those in a short space of time, can cause acute inflammation and irritation of those organs.”

In addition to increasing the risk of injury, binge drinking impairs the body’s ability to heal from those injuries.

“If a person is drunk and gets injured, the person will have more complications when alcohol is present in the body, as opposed to a person who may not have been exposed to alcohol,” said Mashkoor Choudhry, PhD, director of the Alcohol Research Program at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Binge drinking can also affect your:

  • Heart. Heavy drinking can cause high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, or sudden death from heart failure.
  • Kidneys. Alcohol is a diuretic, which causes the kidneys to produce more urine. This, alone or with vomiting, can lead to dehydration and dangerously low levels of sodium, potassium, and other minerals and salts.
  • Lungs. Alcohol inhibits the gag reflex, which can lead to vomit, saliva, or other substances entering the lungs. This can cause inflammation or infection in the lungs.
  • Pancreas. A single session of heavy alcohol use can lead to dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
  • Sexual health. Being drunk increases the chance of having unsafe sex — which can lead to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or unplanned pregnancy.

Long-term effects

After a single night of binge drinking, some of the short-term effects will go away.

Many, like injuries or STIs, can stay with you for years.

There’s not a lot of research on how long the physical effects of binge drinking last, or whether your body can recover completely.

More frequent binge drinking, though, is more likely to lead to long-term damage.

One recent study by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found that 21 binge drinking sessions over seven weeks was enough to cause symptoms of early stage liver disease in mice.

More research needs to be done on people, but the effects of long-term heavy alcohol use are already well-known.

Over the long run, alcohol increases the risk of several cancers, including cancer of the liver, mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, colon, and rectum. Even a few drinks a week is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women.

Heavy, long-term alcohol use can lead to alcoholic liver disease, which includes inflammation of the liver and cirrhosis.

Excessive drinking is also bad for the cardiovascular system, leading to increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.

More researchers are looking at the effects of alcohol on the intestinal microbiome — the bacteria and other organisms that live inside us.

“A single alcohol drink may not have that much of an impact , but bingeing or chronic alcohol drinking certainly will change the microbiome in the gastrointestinal tract,” said Choudhry. “And this microbiome has many long-term effects on different parts of the body.”

The microbiome has been implicated in medical conditions ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to obesity.

Long-term heavy alcohol use can also affect your:

  • Blood and immune system. Chronic alcohol use can lead to anemia, low platelets, and a suppressed immune system.
  • Bones and muscles. Heavy long-term use of alcohol can interfere with absorption of calcium and bone formation. This can lead to osteoporosis.
  • Brain and nervous system. Heavy alcohol use increases the risk of stroke and can lead to dementia or impaired balance and coordination.
  • Mental health. In addition to alcohol dependency and addiction, heavy drinkers are at higher risk of depression, anxiety, and psychosis.
  • Sexual health. Chronic heavy use of alcohol can reduce fertility in men and women and decrease a man’s sex drive. Drinking while pregnant can also affect the health of the fetus.
  • Intestines. Heavy alcohol intake can interfere with the absorption of vitamins and other nutrients in the gut. This can lead to malnutrition.

Cutting back on the amount or frequency of drinking can reduce these risks. But even low-risk alcohol use doesn’t mean no risk.

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that men consume no more than four drinks on any day and no more than 14 drinks per week. Women should drink no more than three drinks a day and no more than seven per week.

Reducing the impact of binge drinking on society, though, will need recognizing the scope of the problem and addressing it with alcohol taxes, alcohol advertising guidelines, and reasonable restrictions on availability of alcohol.

“Binge drinking is a very common behavior. It’s not a behavior that’s limited, by any means, to alcoholics,” said Naimi. “And it’s a behavior that can be readily reduced by strong public health interventions.”

Binge Drinking and Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are most frequently associated with serious alcoholics – those individuals who are always drunk or in the process of getting that way. The reality is that it is not necessary for people to fit this stereotype before they begin to experience the negative effects of alcohol abuse. It is not unusual for binge drinkers to also experience alcohol withdrawals even though they might only drink heavily on the weekends.

Binge Drinking Defined

Binge drinking is a pattern of alcohol consumption that is popular in many parts of the word. It is most associated with young people but there are binge drinkers of every age. Those who engage in this pattern of drinking deliberately set out to become inebriated because they enjoy the feeling. It means consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. Binge drinking is the most dangerous pattern of alcohol consumption, and it leads to all sorts of problems for the individual and society. Even those who only binge drink once a week may be doing a great deal of harm.

Dangers of Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is considered to be the most dangerous pattern of drinking because:

* It can easily lead to alcohol poisoning, and this can be life threatening.
* Those people who binge drink are far more likely to develop alcoholism.
* Binge drinking can cause a great deal of damage to the body and mind. It is not necessary for the individual to become an alcoholic before they begin to experience the negative effects of this type of behavior – including alcoholic liver disease.
* This pattern of drinking is most likely to lead to accidents. This is because when people are inebriated their judgment is impaired and so are there motor skills.
* Those people who binge drink are far more likely to commit suicide. This is because alcohol increases impulsiveness and reduces the ability of people to reason properly.
* Binge drinking can lead to symptoms of depression.
* This pattern of drinking often leads to blackouts. This type of amnesia means that the individual is not able to remember periods of time when they were inebriated.
* People who drink this way will usually suffer from a hangover the next day. This means that they will feel ill and will not be able to take care of their responsibilities effectively.
* Binge drinking can encourage sexual promiscuity. This means that people may be more at risk of catching sexually transmitted diseases or it could lead to unwanted pregnancies.

Cause of Withdrawal Symptoms

If people have been drinking heavily over a long period or they drink heavily on a regular basis they can develop a physical and psychological dependence on the substance. A physical dependence means that the body has adapted so well to dealing with alcohol in the system that it develops unpleasant symptoms when alcohol is removed. It is these effects that are referred to as withdrawal symptoms, and they can occur whenever the level of alcohol in the bloodstream falls too low. Some binge drinkers will experience these symptoms for a few days after the binge ends, but they may mistake them for hangover symptoms. Another sign of physical dependence is that people develop a tolerance for alcohol. This means that they have to drink more to get the same effect.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

The most common withdrawal symptoms that people will experience include:

* Shaking or body tremors
* Feelings of restlessness
* Nausea and vomiting
* Body aches
* Inability to concentrate and confusion
* Paranoia
* Mood swings
* Loss of appetite
* Symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts
* Changes to sleep pattern
* Feelings of weakness
* Heart palpitations
* Sweating
* Diarrhea
* Headaches
* The individual may experience depersonalization where they feel like an outsider looking in.
* Changes to pulse rate, respiratory rate, or blood pressure.
* Feelings of anxiety.
* Fever
* Hallucinations

Some individuals will experience a particularly dangerous form of alcohol withdrawals known as delirium tremens (DTs). These effects of DTs can be potentially life threatening so it is vital that those who are at risk of experiencing such symptoms have their withdrawals medically supervised. The symptoms of DTs include:

* Seizures/ convulsions
* Intense audio and visual hallucinations. A common hallucination is insects crawling on the skin.
* High degree of agitation
* Severe confusion
* Elevated blood pressure levels
* Fever

Withdrawal Symptoms and Hangover Symptoms

Sometimes people will mix up withdrawal symptoms with hangover symptoms. They do share some similarities, and it is common for heavy drinkers to experience them both together. Common hangover symptoms include:

* Nausea and vomiting
* Diarrhea
* Loss of appetite
* Inability to concentrate
* Moodiness and irritability
* Sensitivity to sound
* Headaches
* Feeling dehydrated
* Body aches
* Feelings of fatigue
* Body shakes
* Feelings of dizziness
* Feelings of anxiety

Withdrawals from Binge Drinking

It is not necessary for people to drink every day for them to develop a physical dependence on alcohol. Those who only binge drink at the weekend may experience these symptoms for the first half of their week but believe them to be due to a hangover. They become caught in a vicious cycle of binge drinking followed by withdrawals followed by more binge drinking. The individual can go on like this for years, and they may be doing serious damage to their mental and physical health.

How to Deal with Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. In order to deal with them the individual can:

* If people are experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is a sign that they have become dependent on alcohol. The only real solution to this is complete abstinence.
* Those people who have been drinking heavily for a long period of time or ever suffered from a convulsion as a result of drink may be at risk of delirium tremens. If that is the case then their withdrawals should be medically supervised.
* These days it is common for people to enter rehab when they give up alcohol. This is not only to help them make it through withdrawals safely but also give them an opportunity to develop the skills they need to enjoy a sober life.
* The symptoms of withdrawal can last a few days, but they are rarely any worse than a mild flu. Those who are serious about quitting their addiction will be easily able to manage this period, but those who are ambivalent about recovery may find it more of a struggle.
* If people try to distract themselves, it will lessen the severity of symptoms when recovering from alcoholism. The worse thing they can do is to wallow in the discomfort.
* Once the individual escape their addiction there will be no need for them to ever experience withdrawal symptoms again.

Ms Taylor’s liver was no worse at the end of the 30-day experiment. Doctors told her she would have to continue bingeing for a further five months to do lasting damage. But the experiment took its toll on her health.

“My skin became extremely dry. I lost my jaw line. It became saggy and very unattractive. I developed chipmunk cheeks, which is just horrible, and put on 8lbs in weight – I was drinking the equivalent of about 2,000 calories a night.

“I was warned that if I carried on I would get central obesity – a big tyre round my stomach. It happened. I was enormous – I had to go back to really big clothes.

“Towards the end I got quite depressed. I quite enjoyed going out in the first week, but then it really got me tired. Drink drains you completely. I found I had to sleep during the day to recharge myself.”

At no stage did Ms Taylor struggle to find somewhere to drink or someone who would serve her. “I could buy twice the weekly limit for less than £20,” she said. “I am amazed at how cheap it is and how available. It runs completely against what the World Health Organisation says. We have to limit availability and put up the prices – that is not what the Government is doing.”

Bar staff are supposed not to serve people who are drunk, but Ms Taylor was never refused a drink, no matter how under the influence she became. “I got myself hammered and made it quite obvious – shouting at bar staff, that sort of thing. I still got served. Nobody takes any notice of these laws.”

The experiment has irrevocably changed the drinking habits of a woman who used to drink two glasses of white wine a night.

“When I look at a bottle of Chardonnay now, I think to myself it is a drug – as bad as a cigarette,” she said. “It is almost like we are kidding ourselves that it is not really a drug. Because of that whole attitude, it does not invoke any fear. Everyone is doing it. Politicians are doing it. No one wants to say alcohol does you no good whatsoever.

“Of course I still drink – I am not going to stop. But I will not drink every night now. I have cut down considerably.”

On The Town: What Nicky drank

“I normally drink two glasses of white wine in the evening to wind down. I rarely get drunk. My challenge was to match the girls drink for drink. Whatever they had, I had.

“I love good wine but they didn’t really drink wine – that is what made it so disgusting. Some of the alcopops are horrible. They are so sugary and sweet. If it was ‘let’s binge drink on three bottles of gorgeous wine’ it might have been easier.

“I was drinking the equivalent of about 2,000 calories a night. A Smirnoff Ice has more than 200 calories in it and I was often drinking about seven or eight a night. It is no surprise that I put on more than half a stone.

“On one of the first nights I drank a couple of tequilas, two vodka tonics, pint of cider, an apple Schnapps shot, a Slippery Nipple cocktail, a Malibu and pineapple, three bottles of WKD – an alcopop – and a mojito cocktail.

“The next night I had eight mojitos, five glasses of wine, three bottles of beer, two vodka and oranges, a bottle of Smirnoff Ice and another Slippery Nipple. This became a normal night.”

‘Mischief: Binge Drinker’ is on BBC3 on Thursday, 12 January

Went on a Drinking Bender? Here’s What to Do Now

Get Help to Stop Going on Benders

Monitoring how much alcohol has been consumed in an hour is one way to avoid binge drinking. Quitting after a drink or two and drinking water or a non-alcoholic beverage are other ways to avoid binge drinking.

Drinking every day, even one or two servings of alcohol, can also cause harm to the body, so intentionally taking breaks between social events or meals with alcohol is important for physical recovery. If a bender is binge drinking over three days or more, then drinking one day, followed by no alcohol the next day, will prevent a bender. Avoiding hair of the dog, or drinking alcohol to alleviate a hangover, can also prevent a bender.

Compulsive consumption of alcohol, drinking more than intended in an outing, or frequently craving alcohol are all indicators that alcohol use disorder (AUD) may be a problem.10 Frequent benders and feeling sick from several days of drinking a lot can also suggest that the person has a problem with alcohol.10 Get help with medically supervised detox and evidence-based rehabilitation to avoid the long-term effects of alcohol abuse.

Alcohol-Free Days Give Liver Time To Recover Say UK Doctors

UK doctors are recommending men and women who drink should have two or three alcohol-free days a week to give the liver time to recover. The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) says the government guidelines should be amended as they imply daily drinking is safe.
The RCP has been giving oral and written evidence this month to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee’s inquiry into the evidence base for alcohol advice. The Select Committee launched the inquiry on 18 July to find out, among other things, whether the evidence base and sources of scientific advice to Government on alcohol could be improved.
The current government advice, issued by the Chief Medical Officers recommends that men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day and women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day. The guideline explains that “regularly” means drinking every day or most days of the week, and that people should also take a break for 48 hours “after a heavy session” to let the body recover.
The RCP says this implies it is OK to drink every day or nearly every day. They disagree with this, saying the liver needs time to recover, even from small amounts of alcohol. There is a higher risk of liver disease for people who drink alcohol every day or nearly every day compared to people who drink less frequently, says the RCP.
Sir Ian Gilmore, RCP’s special adviser on alcohol wrote recently to the Daily Mail about the importance of limiting frequency as well as quantity:
“In addition to quantity, safe alcohol limits must also take into account frequency. There is an increased risk of liver disease for those who drink daily or near daily compared with those who drink periodically or intermittently.”
Gilmore said the RCP recommends “a safe limit of 0-21 units a week for men and 0-14 for women provided the total amount is not drunk in one or two bouts and that there are two to three alcohol free days a week. At these levels, most individuals are unlikely to come to harm.”
In answer to the question of whether the evidence base and sources of scientific advice to government on alcohol could be improved, in its written evidence to the Committee, the RCP said it believes the government’s guidelines coud be improved to better reflect the evidence in a number of areas, such as:

  • Overall levels of consumption that are “safe” or within “sensible limits”,
  • Frequency of alcohol consumption,
  • The physiological effects of ageing, and
  • The balance of the health benefits of alcohol consumption for coronary heart disease against wider alcohol-related health harms.

In its letter to MPs, the RCP says the current government guideline implies daily drinking is low risk, but this “runs against evidence which suggests that frequency of drinking is a significant risk factor for the development of alcohol dependency, and the development of alcoholic liver disease”.
In the list of points about the evidence for including alcohol-free days, it notes:
“Although the mechanisms for alcohol related liver damage are not fully delineated, further studies have shown an increased risk of cirrhosis for those who drink daily or near daily compared with those who drink periodically or intermittently.”
One of the studies the RCP refers to is a Japanese study that showed heavy drinkers who consumed their alcohol over 5 to 7 days had higher rates of death than those who consumed it over 1 to 4 days.
The letter also refers to another study published in 2009 that found increases in liver deaths in the UK were the “result of daily or near -daily heavy drinking, not episodic or binge drinking, and that this regular drinking pattern is often discernable at an early age”.
In the section on frequency of alcohol consumption the letter concludes that:
“The government guidelines should recognise that hazardous drinking has two components: frequency of drinking and amount of drinking. To ignore either of these components is scientifically unjustified. A very simple addition would remedy this problem namely a recommendation that to remain within safe limits of alcohol consumption that people have three alcohol-free days a week.”
You can read the full written evidence from the RCP to MPs here.
Written by Catharine Paddock PhD

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How long does it take to detox from alcohol? You are likely to experience the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal if you drink heavily every day, and then suddenly stop.

The symptoms of withdrawal are a reflection of your body’s physiological dependence on the booze. How bad it gets depends on a number of factors that vary among individuals.

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?

Essentially, drinking every day causes your body to ‘expect’ the depressive effects of alcohol. This adjustment of the body’s norm must be continually fed by more and more alcohol to be sustained. With the abrupt discontinuation of alcohol intake, the body cannot relax in the same way. Without the alcohol to ‘steady’ the central nervous system, the body undergoes a period of overactivity. This is the source of the withdrawal syndrome.

There are several types of alcohol withdrawal syndromes, classified by the degree of severity and complications. In general, the more intensive, daily drinking – as opposed to periodic “binge” drinking – you do, the worse the withdrawal syndrome.

Withdrawal phenomena can generally be divided into minor withdrawals and severe withdrawals, a.k.a. delirium tremens or the “DTs.” Let’s look at each in turn.

How Long To Detox From Alcohol: Minor Alcohol Withdrawal Duration and Symptoms

How long do alcohol withdrawal symptoms last? When a patient is in for a mild case of withdrawal, he or she can expect approximately one week of noticeable symptoms, with peak severity occurring within the first few days.

If your drinking problem is complicated by other medical or psychiatric issues, be aware that the withdrawal syndrome for alcohol can take longer and, in some cases, be much more dramatic.

You can begin experiencing symptoms of withdrawal as soon as the normative level of alcohol in your blood drops, within hours of your last drink. Paradoxically, you can experience mild withdrawals even while still tipsy or drunk.

During the first 24-48 hours, minor symptoms of withdrawal occur, including anxiety and depression, fatigue, and mild confusion. The detoxifying individual may also have nightmares by night, and mood swings by day. Many people find they are unusually jumpy or irritable.

These minor symptoms are fairly common, but patients should remain conscious of the possibility of escalation. The next level of symptoms is a bit more harrowing, and may indicate your withdrawals have not yet peaked. They include:

  • Pale, clammy skin
  • The “sweats”
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea, possibly vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Physical tremors

These symptoms represent an intermediate stage between mild and severe withdrawal, and can be useful from a diagnostic perspective. They offer a final chance to seek medical attention before a full-blown case of the DTs develops.

When detoxification is medically supervised, as it generally should be, addicted patients may receive either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Outpatient, or “ambulatory,” treatment is the norm for less serious cases because there are readily available ways to minimize the harm potential of withdrawals. However, even outpatient detox patients need to be accompanied by a friend or family member who can keep an eye out and take action if things get bad.

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol: Severe Cases

Severe withdrawals occur in approximately one in four long-term heavy drinkers, most of whom are over age 30 and drink at least half a 750ml bottle of hard liquor a day. Severe alcoholic withdrawal resembles a kind of psychosis, with both physical and mental symptoms. Collectively, the worst of it is known as “delirium tremens,” from the Latin for ‘shaking madness.’

Delirium tremens may develop any time between 12 hours and 4 days after the last drink. The range of onset is fairly wide. There is, however, usually a window of opportunity consisting of the first 24 to 48 hours of detoxification. So even if your body is gearing up for a horrific case of the DTs, it will likely take at least a day to get to that point.

How long does alcohol withdrawal last in cases of delirium tremens? It can last for minutes, hours, days, even weeks. Most acute episodes are resolved within five days. Each case is different, however, making it difficult to predict precisely when and for how long the DTs will last, if they occur at all.

When overtaken by the DTs, you may experience severe agitation or anxiety. Some patients break out in fever. Trembling is common, but could escalate to a point of seizures. Major confusion develops – a kind of dense mental cloud that makes it hard to discern what’s going on. Visual or auditory hallucinations can further complicate a bad situation.

Delirium tremens is a very serious medical disorder. Not only can it be terrifying and traumatic, it can also be fatal if left untreated. Although most people who face alcohol withdrawal make a full recovery, it’s important to take the possibility of death seriously. Even with hospitalization, it is possible to perish in the wake of the DTs.

Inpatient detoxification may be necessary to calm the body’s hyperactivity with benzodiazepine sedatives until detoxification is complete. If you are experiencing seizures, high fever, severe confusion, rapid heartbeats, or hallucinations, get to an emergency room fast. It could save your life.

The Many Faces of Alcoholic Toxicity

The above section delineates the first and most immediate stage of alcohol detoxification. But keep in mind that alcohol is an invasive drug that infiltrates every system in the body. It’s toxifying effects are cumulative and enduring, particularly for longtime, everyday drinkers. This fact matters for both the middle term and long term of recovery.

In the middle term, minor withdrawal symptoms can persist for weeks or months after your initial detoxification. Most commonly, you’re looking at some level of sleep disturbances, mood swings and fatigue as your body readjusts to life without a heavy daily nervous system depressant. Alcoholics commonly report at least two to four weeks of generalized anxiety – a feeling of uneasiness and the world being much too bright or loud.

Depending on how long you have been drinking heavily, there could also be serious long-term consequences of alcoholic toxicity. If you drink heavily for enough years, your body will begin to lose its ability to self-detoxify. The worst alcoholics may experience this eventuality as one or more chronic diseases of the liver, heart and brain – although nearly any physical system can be impacted.

The Prognosis

Worried about withdrawals? Don’t panic. If you have proper medical oversight, know what to expect ahead of time, remain calm, and proceed conscientiously, you will likely make it through alcohol withdrawal.

Remember, detoxification is only the first step in the recovery process. When you emerge on the other side, however scathed – that’s when recovery really begins.

153 Shares By The Recovery Village Updated on10/08/19

Withdrawal from alcohol is different for everyone, and can last anywhere from a few days to an entire week. However, the detoxification stage (when your body is ridding itself entirely of alcohol) can last well after the end of the withdrawals, continuing for a few weeks. As with most instances in life, your body will respond accordingly based on what you put into it during this stage.

When detoxing, you’ll likely be told that first and foremost in importance is water. Hydration is important in general, and especially when withdrawing from alcohol as the body is adjusting to less fluid intake than typical. But certain food groups also have benefits when it comes to the discomfort of withdrawals and detoxification. The following foods can aid in the detox process.

Fruits and vegetables

Due to their high amounts of fiber, fruits and veggies will digest quickly. Additionally, people withdrawing or detoxing from alcohol may often crave sweets. Fruits contain sugar, which can fulfill the craving for something sweet while not weighing too heavily on the person’s stomach since appetite tends to decrease during the detox stage. According to, some go-to fruits and veggies include raspberries, pears, oranges, strawberries, bananas and figs.

Whole grains

Carbohydrates are vital for recovery, as they provide fiber and energy, which the detoxer may be lacking. Of course, refined grains such as white bread also offer carbohydrates for energy, but are a less healthy option in the long-run. Whole grains contain more fiber, resulting in feeling fuller and not causing the body any digestive issues.

Anything containing vitamin B

Prolonged alcohol consumption leads to a lack of vitamin B, so it is important to replenish your body’s supply. Foods high in vitamin B include salmon, broccoli, asparagus, and romaine lettuce.

Proteins low in fat

Many alcoholics in detoxification will have a decreased appetite or simply be turned off by food, but foods high in fiber will help them feel full. Proteins with low fat content are ideal because they positively affect mood and energy, leading to less chance of a relapse. Such foods include fish and lean beef.

Cayenne pepper

Though it may not sound appealing, adding cayenne pepper to foods can reduce alcohol cravings and increase appetite. This is beneficial because in detox, appetite’s are often suppressed and vital nutrients are not received. Cayenne pepper can also aid in decreasing alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as nausea.

Though being sure to eat these foods during detox won’t ensure smooth sailing, they will likely ease the discomfort and cravings that accompany the detox stage.


Almost every Monday, I wake up telling myself that next weekend I’m not going to indulge in trendy cocktails, late nights, bags of chips, and brunch pastries. I make a mental note reminding myself that I’m no longer a teenager and can’t just rely on my fast metabolism to do everything for me: I need to start adulting. But then again… where’s the fun in that?

The weekend brings out both the best and the worst in all of us. We thrive at bars, clubs, and happy hours (obviously), and scarfing down those fry-day donuts or binge-drinking until we blackout is pretty much just the weekend routine. But then it’s Monday, and the guilt is real.

Cheat weekends are an obvious (and somewhat justified) part of life. And while most of us aren’t proud of our eating and drinking choices by the time Monday rolls around, there’s really no point in dwelling on them. Instead, try curing your weekend binges with these detox strategies and have a happy (and speedy) recovery.

If you ate too much sugar

Virginia Myers

By now, we’re all familiar with the infamous sugar rush. This is basically your body reacting to the fact that you’ve eaten way too much sugar way too quickly. If you’re anything like me and have a weakness for donuts, cookies, and really anything that contains sugar, your metabolism has been triggered to start producing insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is released in order to stabilize your blood sugar levels. Once this happens, your body will start to feel more sluggish than usual and you’ll start to experience a sugar crash.

Detox Strategy:

1. Eat your three meals (especially breakfast!)

Don’t hate me when I say this but breakfast is the most important meal of the day – especially if you’re trying to recover. Go for a low-sugar breakfast that is hearty and filled with healthy fats. Here are a couple healthy breakfasts you can make in five minutes or less, so no excuses!

2. Fuel your body with foods that are high in fiber

Snack on raw, unsalted nuts, eat fish, and fill your body with veggies. The high-fiber content will help you detox your body of all its’ weekend sins (…or at least some).

3. Drink green tea with lemon

Both green tea and lemon are diuretics (which is just a fancy word that means you’ll pee a lot), so it’ll help to flush your toxins out.

If you drank too much alcohol

Christin Urso

If you had one too many cocktails, chances are you experienced the night-of or morning-after repercussions. Whether you spent your night with your head in the toilet or you spent your morning chugging water and popping Advil, unfortunately, it takes more than just a day to detox.

Detox Strategy:

1. Drink lots of water

After an alcohol binge, your body is dying of dehydration so replenishing your body with water is crucial. I recommend infusing your water with lemons because of the health benefits of drinking lemon water, but as long as you’re drinking water, your body will be a whole lot happier.

2. Eat a banana or avocado

Potassium is key to cleanse your body of alcohol. Eating a banana or an avocado will help to push the toxins out of your system and get you back to feeling as good as new.

3. Move a little

I know this is probably the last thing you want to hear or do but exercising is one of the best ways to detox. It’ll help you sweat the alcohol out, encourage you to drink more water, and get your heart rate up and your blood flowing—all of which will help you recover.

If you ate too much salty food

Hannah Rote

When we’re at a party that’s filled with cheese platters, pizza, and chips, it’s actually comical to think that we have any chance of refraining ourselves. And while it’s fine to eat these foods every once in a while, binge-eating them is unfortunately not the move. Not only are these items filled with sodium and unhealthy fats, but overeating these foods will most likely lead to indigestion and bloating.

Detox Strategy:

1. Avoid processed and packaged foods

I know we’re broke, lazy, and hangry but fight the urge. Processed and packaged foods may be super convenient but they’re loaded with sodium and are only going to make the bloating worse. Just trust.

2. Eat cantaloupe

Fruits like cantaloupe or veggies like Brussels sprouts will help to reduce any water retention but if you’re not into either option, here are some other ways you can beat the bloat.

3. Out of sight, out of mind

Take your salt shaker off the kitchen table for a week and try eating your meals without any added seasoning. It may be a struggle but you will feel a difference.

Obviously you’re not going to not indulge in some of your guilty pleasures over the course of the weekend, but at least now you know how to detox and properly recover.

How you can get back on track after a boozy weekend

Over-indulged? Hey, we’ve all been there. And an extra dessert here (there, and everywhere) or a big night out with friends once in a while is normal. In fact, many would argue it keeps you sane. If you’ve overdone it (also, normal) it’s easy to completely write things off. Don’t. Getting back on the wagon after a huge ‘do is really simple, and can take as little as 48 hours.

Here’s what to do and don’t worry, we’re not talking juice cleanses, people. Follow these simple tips to help your body and liver recover.

1. Reduce toxic fats

The trans fats found in processed and packaged foods, as well as an excessive intake of saturated fats found in animal products (such as fatty cuts of meat), can overwhelm the liver’s normal functioning. These can contribute to fatty liver disease as described previously.

If your liver is already overwhelmed by food containing these fats, then for 48 hours after a party, avoid these processed and packaged foods (which is really a good habit for life anyway). Stick to good fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds, oily fish such as salmon and eggs. Avoid frying food in fats that can be converted to toxic fats as previously explained, choose instead macadamia oil, rice bran, grapeseed or a small amount of coconut oil.

RELATED: These are the good fasts you need to be eating

2. Hydrate well

Provide your liver with the fluid it needs to eliminate and detoxify. Avoid further dehydrating you body by reducing tea and coffee intake to no more than 2-3 cups per day. Aim for 2-3L of filtered water per day for the next two days.

3. Avoid alcohol

Ideally we consume alcohol in moderation, even at parties. In reality though, on occasion, alcohol consumption will be in excess. It is important to avoid all alcohol in the days following a big drinking session to give our liver a break from having to process this toxin.

RELATED: Here’s how to supercharge your system in just one week

4. Cut back on sugar

Fructose, found in table sugar as well as fruit, can overwhelm the liver if eaten in excess. The result is fatty liver disease as well as insulin resistance. Since the body uses alcohol as a source of fuel in preference to other food sources while alcohol is still floating around in the system, it will store anything else you eat during this time as body fat. This effect can last for several days following a drinking session. So to reduce alcohol- related weight gain and the danger of contributing to fatty liver disease, keep your intake of sugar to a minimum following a drinking session. This means limiting processed foods, desserts and treats, which often contain large amounts of hidden sugars.

5. Avoid paracetamol (if you can!)

This medication is also processed by the liver. It is often taken for various conditions such as body aches and pains as well as headaches, including hangover headaches. If you have had a large drinking session and overindulged in party foods, my suggestion would be to avoid taking paracetamol for the next forty-eight hours following this as you may exacerbate liver overload. Unless you really can’t. It happens.

6. Stay regular

A healthy liver requires a healthy digestive system as the two are intrinsically linked. Staying regular helps to aid the liver in its detoxification process and to help the bowel expel this waste. Keep your fibre intake high in the days following a party by including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds. Adding psyllium husks to your breakfast may help to increase the fibre content of your meals without adding bulk.

RELATED: 8 of the best sources of fibre

Following the above tips will help to offset some of the effects of party overindulgence. The key of course is not to overindulge too often! Still attend parties but keep in mind an important principle of good health, which is moderation.

Dr Cris Beer is a Dry July ambassador and author of Healthy Liver (Rockpool Publishing $29.99), now available at all good book stores and online.

Worried? Here are some signs you might have a problem with alcohol

According to these are some things to look out for if you think your drinking might be a problem:

• Worrying about when you’ll be able to have your next drink

• Suffering from withdrawal symptoms like sweating, nausea or insomnia as a result of not drinking alcohol

• Needing to drink more and more alcohol to get drunk

• Drinking alcohol, or desiring to drink alcohol, when you wake up in the morning

• Consuming alcohol regularly on your own, or trying to hide your alcohol consumption from those around you

• Relationships with friends or family are being affected by your drinking

Need help?

Check out Counselling Online at to contact your closest Alcohol and Drug Information Centre for free alcohol and drug counselling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

16 Legit Ways To Prevent A Hangover

Headed out to a party or a big, boozy night out? Even when we don’t plan on drinking too much, sometimes those fancy cocktails and two-for-one pints can get the best of us.

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Unfortunately, having a hangover is seriously not fun, and can set us back on our diet and fitness goals, too.

This step-by-step party plan will help protect you from a morning of sluggishness and regret.

Before/During The Party

1. Keep Hydrated

You probably already know this one, but a huge part of being hungover is simply dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic and wildly dehydrating, leading to headaches and pain the next day. To combat this, drink at least one glass of water for every beverage you sip. In addition to counteracting the dehydrating effects of your libation, this will also slow down the rate at which you’re guzzling down booze.

2. Eat A Big, Healthy Meal

Before a big night out, enjoy a dense, high-fibre meal chockfull of complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. Lining your stomach with slow-digesting foods like proteins, carbs and healthy fats will cause the alcohol to be absorbed at a slower pace.

3. Add Garlic

When you consume alcohol, the liver breaks it down into a toxic compound called acetaldehyde. Garlic contains a chemical that can neutralize acetaldehyde, so add it liberally to your pre-party meal (just make sure to brush your teeth afterwards).

4. Avoid Sugary Drinks

Sugary cocktails are not only high in calories, but they tend to make hangovers much more intense. Instead, sip vodka sodas with lime or other, lower-calorie beverages.

5. Avoid Dark And Cheap Liquor

Congeners are an ingredient found in dark liquors and they tend to aggravate hangovers. You can avoid them by drinking clearer liquors like vodka, light rum and gin. In addition, more expensive liquors contain fewer congeners than the cheap stuff, so treat yourself and ask for top-shelf.

After The Party

6. Chug Some Water

It’s easy to get home and pass out in all your clothes without doing any pre-hangover prep, but this is a no no. You’ll feel much better in the morning if you take the time to wash your face, brush your teeth, and yes, force down at least two glasses of water. Also keep a glass or two next to your bed, in case you get thirsty throughout the night.

7. Avoid The Drive-Thru

It may seem like a good idea to indulge in your drunken cravings for salty, sugary or greasy foods, but resist the urge. These types of processed, sodium-filled foods will dehydrate you further and increase your likelihood of getting a hangover. (Plus, you’ll feel like garbage when you wake up).

8. Indulge In A Nutrient-Dense, Before-Bed Snack

Traditional “drunk food” of the junk variety can make a hangover worse, but eating a healthy late night meal that’s rich in vitamins can take the edge off of your morning wake-up call. Drinking all night can cause you to deplete your magnesium and potassium stores, so munch on foods that are high in these minerals – bananas, leafy greens, and avocados are good choices. You may also want to load up on some carbs to soak up the alcohol. A light sandwich filled with veggies and protein is a good bet for a happier morning.

9. Get Some Sleep

This one is pretty obvious, but your body will have a much easier time recovering from the night’s debauchery if you get a good night’s rest. Turn off your morning alarm and catch some well-deserved zzs. Your body will thank you for it.

The Next Morning

10. Take A Multivitamin

A night of drinking can deplete you of vitamins and nutrients. This is especially true of B vitamins, because your liver needs them to detoxify your system effectively. Taking a multivitamin will replenish your stores and help you feel better as the day goes on.

11. Re-Hydrate

Remember, dehydration causes most hangover symptoms. First thing in the morning, drink two to three glasses of water and continue hydrating as the day goes on. Proponents of coconut water swear by its anti-hangover properties, while smoothies and green juices are great for getting some added nutrition in your system.

12. Eat A Hearty, Egg-Filled Breakfast

In addition to dehydrating you, you’ll likely experience a drop in blood sugar the day after consuming alcohol. (That’s why hungover brunch tastes so darn good). Enjoy a healthy, but hearty breakfast that includes complex carbs, lean protein, some dairy and fruits or vegetables. A research study conducted at Jiangnan University found that taurine, a compound found in eggs, can reverse liver damage caused by a night of heavy drinking, which also explains why you crave eggs benedict after a big night on the town.

13. Fight The Coffee Urge

Caffeine is a natural diuretic meaning it will cause your body to expel water. Since dehydration is at the heart of every hangover, you want to avoid any substance that will dehydrate you further. Stick to freshly squeezed orange juice, green juice or water instead.

14. Try Ginger

Ginger is known for its nausea-fighting properties, so a cup of ginger-infused tea may be just what the doctor ordered if your stomach is doing summersaults.

15. Get A Workout In

Exercise may be the last thing we want to do when we’re experiencing the effects of a hangover, but if you can get yourself moving, it’ll certainly take the edge off. Exercise give us a boost of endorphins and energy, and increasing your oxygen intake will speed up the breakdown of the hangover-causing toxins floating around in your bod.

16. Enjoy A Steam Or Sauna

Can’t bring yourself to move, let alone do a workout? Consider heading to the steam room or sauna for a good, lazy sweat. Sweating stimulates your lymphatic system and helps excrete toxins faster, so you’ll feel relaxed and refreshed. Just make sure to hydrate plenty if you’re getting your sweat on.

Detox to Prevent or Cure Your Hangover

Nobody likes a hangover. You feel tired, sore, cranky, disoriented and sometimes even get the jitters. But why does this happen? It is a combination of several things really: toxin overload coupled with dehydration; and Vitamin A, B and C depletion, caused by the chemical action of alcohol on your system.

All alcohol contains toxins. In fact, the whole experience of getting intoxicated is simply giving your body so many toxins that it can’t process them quickly enough. This results in less control over your body, and is actually from where the word “in-TOXIC-ated” was derived. So, when you wake up the next day and your head hurts, you feel like you want to vomit, and you have the shakes it means that there are too many toxins inside of you that your body is desperately trying to get out.
You will also notice that you have to pee a lot more when you are drinking. This is your body’s attempt at processing and releasing these toxins. You are also, however, flushing out a significant amount of vitamins and nutrients from your system that will need to be replenished, contributing to the disorientation and jitters you experience.

How to Detox

The best way to stave off a hangover or to speed up the recovery process the day after is to detox. The way you detox will depend on what stage in the drinking game you are at: before, during, or after.

Before Drinking

Take 500mg Milk Thistle before going out drinking and take two more in the morning. Milk thistle is all natural and boosts the liver so that it processes more alcohol while you are drinking resulting in less toxin build-up.

During Drinking (or right after)

  • Drink plenty of water between alcoholic drinks and lots before going to bed. Don’t drink coffee which is a diuretic (induces urination).
  • Stop drinking if it has made you vomit. You are in severe toxic overload and your body is trying to tell you to stop.
  • Avoid fizzy or sugary drinks, which actually speed up the rate that alcohol is absorbed into the system and contribute to a stronger hangover.

The Morning after Drinking

  • Drink lots of water
  • Make a fruit or vegetable smoothie to replenish lost vitamins and nutrients. Expecially, try to include Vitamin C by adding orange juice or tomato juice.
  • Take a Hot Bath. The heat will sweat out the toxins that are causing all the problems. You’ll feel a bit woozy at first but go with it and you’ll feel better afterward.

Detox after binge drinking

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