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Alcohol-The hangover by William Mills

image of people drinking
Club members enjoying a drink

The Hangover

So the golden nectar slipped down last night and now its morning! Or the poison slipped down this morning and now its evening, and either way we don’t feel so good.

Why is this so; and what can we do about it? Maybe another drink will help?
Ethyl alcohol is an intoxicating spirit which when mixed with other liquids makes a refreshing tasty drink. So why the hangover? The shakes? The guilt and fearfulness?

The first thing to realise is its dehydration which is causing the awful headache.
Isn’t dehydration the loss of water from the body?
But I drank at least three gallons of beer which is 5% alcohol and 95% water so how can I be dehydrated and if so why not drink some more to cure the dehydration?


Without getting overly complicated we have upset our electrolyte balance. The body needs salts and sugars and other bits and pieces. When we drink alcohol the balance is knocked out. So we stop the intake of alcohol and our bodies absorb the things it needs from our daily diet and gradually we recover and feel better again.
Is there anyway we can speed this up, like right now?
Get up! Fresh air. Move around. Exercise. The head will clear, eventually. At the moment it throbs and is befuddled. As each hour goes by a unit of alcohol is metabolised. Water was turned into wine, now wine is being turned back into water. Metabolised means the body breaks down the alcohol gradually transforming it into harmless waste water.

The high street chemists all stock oral dehydration products. A sachet of powder is mixed with 200ml of tap water to create the most refreshing drink of the week. They really work! It’s the first step in the recovery process.

image of people drinking
Main street Gibraltar


As always when taking medicines ask the pharmacist and follow the instructions on the box and read the enclosed leaflet. It will clear the headache in half an hour or so. Family Medical Enclopedias give instructions on preparing homemade versions using ordinary salt and sugar, as the shop ones can be expensive to buy on a regular basis. Two litre bottles of fizzy drinks have a mixed press. Firstly ones digestive system may already be overloaded with the alcohol, and therefore be unable to cope with breaking down the complex sugars contained in fizzy pop; secondly the e numbers and additives may not be brilliant for our health and teeth at the best of times.


Multivitamins can help. Alcohol destroys the vitamin B group. These are vital for the nerve system which are going to be a bit jangled at this stage. One’s stomach is also going to be delicate. Something light and sensible which is very easy to digest. There are theories about full cooked breakfasts soaking up the alcohol. Fat may slow down the absorption its true, but given that saturated fat is not the best diet in the first place and  the stomach lining is tender; rehydration fluid and some salad may be the best bet.
Its trying to work out what the alcohol has done to our body and then trying to work out how to replace nutrients and repair the damage.

Of course the best hangover cure is not to drink the stuff in the first place!

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