What Is A Hangover?

A hangover is a group of symptoms you feel when you have consumed too much alcohol. These include headaches, nausea, intense thirst, weakness, sweating, anxiety, paranoia, sensitivity to light and sound, and general tiredness.

It is important to state the term “too much alcohol” varies from person to person. The effects of a hangover vary based on a huge range of factors including how hydrated you are, age, physical health, and more.

Discover why you feel so terrible after drinking alcohol… 

Woken up with a raging thirst and a banging headache after a night of drinking? You’ve got a hangover. A hangover is not just a group of symptoms but an uncomfortable reminder that you’ve overindulged in alcohol. Everyone experiences hangovers differently, but here is some more detail about those hangover symptoms:

  • Headache, thirst and dry mouth. This is because your body is dehydrated. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you pee more often. When you’re dehydrated, you can feel thirsty and dizzy, and your head aches.  
  • Nauseous. You may even be sick or have diarrhoea.  
  • Irritability and sensitivity to light and sound.  These can be one and the same as loud noises could make you feel angry and even shout at friends and loved ones.
  • Tiredness and muscle aches. Although you think you have slept soundly, alcohol prevents you getting that good quality sleep your body needs.  

Everyone’s hangovers are different and range in intensity. Your mate, for example, might spring up in the morning and cheerfully wolf down a full English breakfast after a night out, whereas the very thought of a runny egg can have you running for the toilet pan.  

How Do You ‘Cure’ A Hangover? 

There’s no fix-all cure but there are lots of things you can do to relieve the symptoms. There are a lot of urban myths about hangover cures and lots of bad and some not so bad advice out there. Avoiding the bad ideas there are some basic and easy ways to combat your hangover, you can: 

  • Drink plenty of fluids to rehydrate your body. Sip water if you feel nauseous. This can help to relieve a headache, muscle aches and a dodgy tummy. It can also help to drink a pint of water before you go to sleep when you’ve been drinking alcohol.  
  • Eat breakfast. Alcohol lowers your blood sugar so a slice of toast can help to maintain your levels. Try dry crackers or a biscuit if you’re feeling queasy. 
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve headaches and muscle pain.  
  • Get some sleep. A good night’s sleep will make you feel a whole lot better.   

When Is A Hangover More Serious? 

Frequent hangovers are a sign that you’re drinking too much alcohol. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your drinking habits. You can also download the free MyDrinkaware app to help you track your drinking and set alcohol-free days. Click here to download the app.

What is Alcohol Poisoning

Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short time can put you at risk of alcohol poisoning. If someone you know is showing these symptoms after drinking alcohol, call 999: 

  • Seizures 
  • Severely slurred speech 
  • Confusion 
  • Vomiting 
  • Very slow or irregular breathing 
  • Turning blue 
  • Unconscious or difficulty staying conscious 
  • Low body temperature 

Alcohol poisoning is serious and can be life-threatening. Seek medical help immediately if you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning.  


  • Try to keep the person awake and put them in a sitting position. 
  • Give water in small sips if they can drink it. 
  • If they’re unconscious, roll them over into the recovery position to keep their airways open. You can learn how to put someone in the recovery position here.
  • Keep the person warm. Cover them with a coat or blanket.  
  • Stay with them to keep an eye on their breathing and symptoms.  


  • Leave someone to ‘sleep it off’. Their condition can worsen and become life-threatening. 
  • Give coffee – this can dehydrate the body even further. 
  • Force them to be sick. There’s a risk they could choke on their own vomit. 
  • Try to get them to walk it off. This can lead to accidents or falls.  
  • Let them drink even more alcohol. Give water instead.  

Read more about alcohol poisoning here


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