It’s that time of the year again. The festive season brings out the best and the worst in all of us and, for many, overindulging in an assortment of vices may leave us feeling a little unwell. Unfortunately, hangovers seem to be an inevitable part of the Christmas/ New Year party season for many who go out to celebrate.

Many of us have experienced waking up the morning after to a spinning room, a violent headache and the need to rush to the toilet. Even though this happens time and time again for some people, we continue to overdo it and find ourselves the worse for wear the next day. So what causes a hangover?

The simple answer is, of course, drinking too much alcohol. A hangover is the result of your body experiencing a mild reaction resulting from an overdose of alcohol and certain toxins that are associated with alcohol consumption. Your body attempts to protect itself by producing enzymes to break down and remove the toxins from your body.

Unfortunately, the flushing is not rapid enough to prevent the effects of toxin ingestion. This build-up of toxins is believed to be a major cause of hangovers. When the toxin level exceeds your body’s ability to metabolise them in an efficient manner, you experience the unpleasant and classic symptoms of a hangover. The excess toxins may irritate your stomach, cause you to vomit and, in general, make you feel ill.

Another major cause of a hangover is dehydration (the loss of fluids from the body). As you are drinking alcoholic beverages, your body is actually losing fluids. It is not known how much dehydration contributes to causing a hangover, but most experts believe it plays a major role, and all agree that it makes you feel worse.

The best way to prevent a hangover is not to drink too much but that is not always possible -“ so be prepared, particularly at this time of year. Before you go out, eat a good meal. A fatty meal is beneficial as fat is digested slowly and will protect the stomach from the irritating effects of alcohol. A glass of milk will protect the stomach too, and slows down the absorption of alcohol.

As for the hair of the dog after the event, this refers to the remedy of drinking more alcohol to relieve the effects of alcohol consumed the night before. The hangover victim is supposed to drink the same drink that they drank the night before, although many just drink a Bloody Mary. When you wake up with a hangover your body is going through mild withdrawals from an alcohol overdose.

By drinking more alcohol, you may alleviate some symptoms of the hangover, but the effects are only temporary. At some time or another you are going to face the hangover -“ might as well get it over with quickly.

Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug and, no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?/p>

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