November 27, 2012

Nothing Sexy About A Hangover

This season, many of us will attend cocktail parties themed around the holidays, which means that many will have to deal with that awful residual of cocktail parties—the hangover. Few things are worse than a hangover because:

  1. You know you did it to yourself.
  2. You just have to wait it out.

Let’s start with the first. When we have a hangover, it is because we drank too much. We are the ones who imbibed to excess by choice. Sometimes too much can be one glass of wine while other times too much is several beers. It all depends on what we eat prior to drinking and how much water we drink while imbibing. Regardless, we choose to drink the alcohol thus the hangover happens because of our own actions.

A hangover occurs for a variety of reasons. The Mayo Clinic claims that the causes of hangovers are

  • Dehydration
  • Inflamed immune system
  • Irritated stomach lining
  • Falling blood sugar
  • Expanded blood vessels
  • Congeners

Each of these alone is enough to hurt someone, but put them together and we experience the hangover: headache, stomachache, thirst, focus problems, anxiety, fatigue, shakiness, and all those other symptoms that make us just want to crawl into a hole and never come out. The hangover sucks, and it sucks most because we put ourselves in the position to possibly experience it. I highly doubt anyone in the world drinks alcohol thinking, “Yes! Hangover here I come.”

All of the symptoms of a hangover make us feel awful and sick. Compound that with the anxiety and guilt that riddles us during a hangover, and it is a recipe for ickiness. I know, ickiness is not a word, but I simply cannot think of a better way to describe a hangover.

The hangover is one reason I just do not drink all that much. I will enjoy a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail on occasion, but I try very hard to not overdo it. Furthermore, when I drink alcohol in any form, I drink twice as much water as I usually would to help me stay hydrated. The hangover is simply not worth it to me.

The worst part of a hangover is that you just have to wait it out. Sure, all sorts of cures and aids exist. Do a quick search on Google and any number of suggestions pop up. The Mayo Clinic even has some proposals. Most of the supposed hangover cures are bunk, but four things are for certain: drink plenty of water to help alleviate the dehydration, eat lightly like toast or broths, take a pain reliever, and get some rest. These four steps can help a hangover faster than any other option.

Obviously, the ideal cure is to not drink to excess. However, sometimes that happens. It is not because we are addicted or have alcohol issues. It is simply a result of cocktail parties on occasion. I clearly am a proponent of healthy living, but I also believe in happy living. Sometimes a glass of wine and nice discussion with my friends is just what I need to relax and cope with the stress of life. I always hope that the wine doesn’t lead to a hangover, and I try to drink plenty of water along with my wine, but sometimes a hangover just wins. When that happens, just remember that your mood and your symptoms are a result of your own actions.

We need to be responsible when we drink…and that includes the day after.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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