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Health > Hangover


Hangover Fact Sheet

A hangover occurs as a result of consuming too much alcohol - your body becomes dehydrated.

What to look for

  • headache, nausea, dizziness, irritability, thirst, and fatigue - usually on awakening.
  • in some cases, tension, paleness, tremor, vomiting, heartburn, unsteady gait, and loss of appetite.


A hangover is usually caused by dehydration of the body tissue. As alcohol is a powerful diuretic, it causes the body to lose fluid and certain vitamins and minerals at a fast rate. This, together with the effect of irritants in the fermented drinks such as red wine, beer and other drinks creates nausea, vomiting, extreme tiredness and headache.

Traditional Treatment

Time is the only cure for the occasional hangover. In almost all cases, however, you can ease hangover symptoms. Beware if you suffer frequent hangovers - you may have an alcohol abuse or dependency problem. If this is the case you should seek professional help.
Most doctors recommend taking a general pain killer, for the headache; drinking plenty of filtered water to help your body cope with the dehydration; and eating light foods.

Alternative/Natural Treatment

Herbal Therapies - White willow (Salix alba) bark, which contains a natural form of salicylate, the active ingredient in aspirin, may help relieve a headache. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) tea may aid nausea.
Personal Care - Drink several glasses of water to rehydrate your body. Cold compresses on your head or the back of your neck may also bring relief.
Homeopathy - Some homoeopathic medicines come in kits that include remedies for the occasional hangover. For nausea, try Nax vomica.

Dietary Considerations

Vitamin C, taken before and after drinking, is thought to help your body clear the alcohol from your system.


Moderation is the key to preventing a hangover. Never drink on an empty stomach and drink alcohol slowly with glasses of water in between. By drinking slowly, you give your body time to get rid of the alcohol before it enters the blood and your brain. The less you weigh, the less alcohol you should consume.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are concerned that you have developed a dependency on alcohol;

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