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Health Questions

Hangover treatment

Information

Here are tips on preventing a hangover:

  • Drink slowly and on a full stomach. Keep in mind that if you are a small person, the effects of alcohol consumption are greater on you than on a larger person.
  • Drink only in moderation. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that women have no more than 1 drink per day and men no more than 2 drinks per day. One drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 1/2 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
  • Drink a glass of water in between drinks containing alcohol. This will help you drink less alcohol, and will also decrease the dehydration from drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid alcohol completely to prevent hangovers.

If you have a hangover, consider the following for relief:

  • Some people recommend foods and drinks that contain fructose (such as fruit juice or honey). However, there is very little scientific evidence to show that fructose will help your body burn the alcohol faster -- that is, get the alcohol out of your body faster.
  • Eat well, if possible. Electrolyte solutions and bouillon soup are good for replacing the salt and potassium you lose from drinking alcohol.
  • Get plenty of rest. Most hangovers are gone within 24 hours. Remember, even if you feel good the morning after heavy drinking, the lasting effects of alcohol will reduce your ability to perform at your best.
  • Avoid taking any medications for your hangover that contain acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), because it may cause liver damage when combined with alcohol.

References

Kelly JF, Renner JA Jr. Alcohol related disorder. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 26.

O'Connor PG. Alcohol abuse and dependence. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 31.


Review Date: 5/29/2011
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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