Science of Hangovers

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery - Science of HangoversHangovers: It’s the Acetaldehyde

| AcH creates both unpleasant aversive reactions that protect against excessive alcohol drinking and euphoric sensations that may reinforce alcohol drinking.
The role of acetaldehyde in the actions of alcohol, NIMH |

Can hangovers be prevented?

There is only one fool-proof, sure-fire, scientifically proven 100 percent effective way to stop a hangover from happening. Don’t drink to excess.

Regardless of physical condition, age or gender – a hangover means that too much alcohol has been consumed.

Before totally dismissing the health impact of hangovers, note that research shows that functional alcoholics account for about 20% of all alcoholics. For many individuals, hangover recovery is a way of life. Let’s explore further….

Estimated Cost of Hangovers in the US: $224 Billion Annually

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Rehab for Men, AlcoholismThere’s a tendency to view drinking as a vice, and hangovers as a punishment. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC,  hangovers cost an estimated $224 billion in lost productivity each year in the United States alone.

Understanding what causes hangovers can help researchers better understand why people drink and how to help them when they drink to excess.

If you have a hangover, nothing but time can cure it — no matter what friends, relatives or an infomercial may say.

World Health Organization IARC Study: Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages

The International Agency for Research on Cancer says acetaldehyde should be classified a carcinogen. It creates an inflammatory response in the body.

On the basis of the epidemiological evidence, which showed little indication that the carcinogenic effects of alcoholic beverage consumption depend on the type of alcoholic beverage, and given the sufficient evidence. that ethanol causes cancer in experimental animals, the Working Group evaluated “Ethanol in alcoholic beverages” as carcinogenic to humans. In addition, the Working Group acknowledged the important role of acetaldehyde in the development of alcohol-related cancer, especially of the esophagus, but refrained from making a formal evaluation.
Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages

A study conducted in 2000 by the NIH National Institutes of Health, The role of acetaldehyde in the actions of alcohol, found that elevated acetaldehyde levels lead to increased skin temperature, facial flushing, elevated heart rate, lower blood pressure, dry mouth, nausea and headache. Long term, it’s a cause of liver cirrhosis.

Alcoholic Hangovers, Explained Scientifically

The alcohol hangover develops when blood alcohol concentration (BAC) returns to zero and is characterized by a feeling of general misery that may last more than 24 hours. It comprises a variety of symptoms including drowsiness, concentration problems, dry mouth, dizziness, gastrointestinal complaints, sweating, nausea, hyper-excitability, and anxiety. The alcohol hangover is an intriguing issue since it is unknown why these symptoms are present after alcohol and its metabolites are eliminated from the body.
From the Alcohol Hangover Research Group

Hangovers are thought to be caused from a variety of synergistic factors

“The challenge is [hangover research] is a lot more complicated than anybody wants it to be,” said John McGeary, a clinical psychologist at Brown University and member of the international Alcohol Hangover Research Group.

From the Alcohol Hangover Research Group

“…these findings suggest that alcohol hangover and dehydration are two independent yet co-occurring processes that have different underlying mechanisms. The idea that alcohol hangover symptoms (i.e. memory impairment) are related to immune system activation is strengthened by a relatively new discovery that the immune system and central nervous system (CNS) operate in close communication with each other (Maier and Watkins, 1998; Maier, 2003).

…To make matters complicated, the presence and severity of alcohol hangovers is influenced by many factors other than the amount of alcohol. One is these factors is the presence of congeners in alcoholic drinks.

Congeners are substances that flavor and color drinks. In laboratory experiments mixing pure alcohol with orange juice can prevent the presence of congeners. However, in real life (and naturalistic experiments) people consume a variety of different alcoholic drinks which all have different congener content.

To complicate matters, co-occurring dehydration and sleep deprivation have an impact on the next-day effect of excessive alcohol consumption as well.

High Functioning Alcoholics: A Real Issue, Real Problems

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery - Mens Alcoholism RehabIn our culture, drinking to excess – and the resulting hangovers – are common.

So how can I know if I have a drinking problem?

The classic stereotype of alcoholism is someone who always drinks too much too often and whose life is falling apart because of it. But not all problem drinking fits that mold. Some people appear to be just fine while they abuse alcohol.

Functional alcoholics are often able to hold down a well-paid job and appear in control of their lives. These individuals are often extremely well experienced at hiding their drinking habits. Due to the seemingly minimal consequences [to them] of their drinking, they will be unlikely to see it as a problem.

A serious obstacle in identifying and getting help for high-functioning alcoholics is that high-functioning alcoholics often do not meet the criteria for alcohol abuse, as described in the psychiatric diagnostic manual. They have good jobs, perform the expected tasks of daily life and avoid legal problems.

Drinking to Excess Recognize and Treat Alcohol Problems

From NIH News in Health:

“Some people enjoy an occasional glass of wine with dinner. Others might grab a beer while watching a football game. Most people drink alcohol moderately, within their limits. Others overdo it occasionally. But some people find they can’t control their drinking. How do you know when drinking is becoming a problem? And what can you do if it is? 

Alcohol problems come from drinking too much, too fast, or too often. People with alcohol dependence are addicted to alcohol, and they can’t control their drinking. When alcohol-dependent people try to stop drinking, they may feel anxious and irritable—so they may drink some more, and it becomes a vicious cycle.

‘Addiction has 3 major problems: You lose your ability to feel good, you get more stressed, and you have a hard time making proper decisions,’ says Dr. George Koob, director of NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. ‘That’s a recipe for disaster.’

Signs of an alcohol problem include drinking more, or more often, than you intended; or making unsuccessful attempts to cut back or quit.  Studies show that most people with an alcohol use disorder can benefit from some form of treatment.”

How to Get Help for Alcoholism

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Boomer Men's Rehab, Prescott AZArrowhead Lodge Recovery is a gender specific rehab for men, ages 30 and older; located in the beautiful mountains of Prescott, Arizona. We provide addiction and depression treatment for men who suffer from alcoholism; as well as treating co-occurring disorders.

We use a multi-disciplinary addiction treatment approach implemented by licensed professionals. The Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Staff includes a Physician-Addictionologist, Addiction Psychiatrist, Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Registered Nurse, several Licensed Therapists, and an addiction Nutritionist.

Mindfulness training, healthy exercise, nutritional counseling and educationcognitive behavioral therapy and psychoeducation are a part of our treatment program. We have chosen to keep our facility small and staff to client ratio large. Each client receives individual therapy and counseling; as well as group therapy and counseling.

Chronic Alcoholism Treatment Program

Arrowhead-Lodge-Recovery,Men's Rehab Group Therapy, Prescott AZThe experienced and accredited Arrowhead Lodge Recovery staff allows us to help men with chronic alcoholism for whom previous treatment attempts may have failed.

We assist our clients in finding their personal connection to the spiritual. Through years of experience, we believe in the power of spirituality in the addiction healing process. We assist our clients in discovering their unique path to living a more authentic and joyful life. See our article on Mindfulness Meditation – The 10th Step.

Journey to Wholeness and Healing

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Mens Rehab, Thumb Butte Trail

At our mountain retreat facility near Prescott, Arizona – men find and strengthen inner peace, and experience tranquility.

We equip our clients with the depth and stability to handle all the curves and disappointments – as well as joys – in their regular daily lives once they leave Arrowhead Lodge Recovery.

Start your journey to alcohol recovery by contacting Arrowhead Lodge Recovery.

Your confidentiality is assured when you contact us.

Speak personally and privately with Executive Director Dr. Kenneth Chance at (888) 654-2800.