If you've ever woken up after a night of drinking feeling rough and delicate, you're not alone. Hangovers are a common experience, affecting a large percentage of people after a night of heavy alcohol consumption.

But, have you noticed that those hangovers seem to hit harder as you get older? It's not just your imagination; there are reasons why hangovers get worse with age. In this blog, we’ll help you understand why this is, along with the common symptoms of a hangover and how to reduce them.


What Is a Hangover?

A hangover is essentially your body's way of telling you it's not happy with the excessive alcohol consumption from the night before. It's a collection of symptoms that kick in once the alcohol starts leaving your system.

Unfortunately, these symptoms can last for 24 hours or more and the symptoms typically peak when your body's higher blood alcohol concentration level drops back to almost zero. The body's ability to cope with the effects of alcoholic drinks gets worse as you get older, which is why older people tend to take longer to recover from a hangover.


The Common Hangover Symptoms

From dehydration to depression, the symptoms of a hangover can leave you feeling quite negative. While hangover symptoms may vary from person to person, you can expect to experience some or all of the following:

  • Headaches from severe dehydration and blood vessel dilation.
  • Fatigue and weakness from disrupted sleep patterns.
  • Nausea and vomiting from alcohol irritation in the stomach lining.
  • Increased urine production results in dehydration, thirst and dizziness.
  • Heighten sensitivity to light and sound, which intensifies headaches.
  • Muscle aches from inflammation and dehydration.
  • Impair cognitive function, making concentration, memory, and mood regulation difficult.
  • Increased heart rate or palpitations.
  • Feelings of depression due to changes in brain chemistry and sleep disruption.
  • Decreased appetite or food aversion.


The Reasons Behind Hangovers

Drinking alcohol in excess is what leads to a hangover, as it exceeds your body's alcohol tolerance. Whether it’s sugary drinks or concentrated shots, alcoholic beverages can vary in ingredients, which impacts the severity of your hangover.

Whichever your beverage of choice is, the effects of alcohol on the body, which lead to a hangover, include the following:

  • Dehydration.
  • Hypoglycemia.
  • Gastrointestinal issues.
  • Inflammation.
  • Acetaldehyde exposure.
  • Poor quality of sleep.
  • Deficiency in electrolytes.


How To Reduce The Symptoms of a Hangover

While there's no magic cure to stop feeling hungover, there are steps you can take to alleviate symptoms and promote recovery. These include:


Eating Nutrient-Rich Foods

Even if you don't have much of an appetite, consuming a hearty breakfast and other nutritious foods can provide essential vitamins and minerals to support your body's recovery. Fueling your body allows it to function and focus on repair, unlike on an empty stomach, where the body will feel much weaker.


Staying Hydrated

Drink plenty of water or use oral rehydration solutions to rehydrate your body and combat dehydration. Prioritising hydration and nutrients is a great way to get your body back in a healthy state.


Electrolyte Boost

Electrolyte-rich drinks and snacks can also help replenish lost fluids and minerals. Foods such as bananas, kale, or spinach, are high in electrolytes and will play an effective role in recovering from your hangover.


Resting and Relaxation

Give your body time to recover by getting adequate rest. Get additional sleep if you can, avoid strenuous activities and allow yourself to take it easy until you start feeling better.


Taking Pain Relief

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin can help to soothe headaches and muscle aches associated with hangovers. Just be cautious not to exceed the recommended doses.


Avoiding Alcohol

While it might be tempting to reach for another alcoholic beverage, consuming more alcohol can prolong hangover symptoms and make them worse. It's best to give your body a break from alcohol until you've fully recovered.


Considering Prevention

Moderating your alcohol intake, staying hydrated while drinking, and pacing yourself can help reduce the severity of hangovers or even prevent them altogether. Why not also try personal detox challenges to reset and realign your drinking habits?


Why Do Hangovers Get Worse With Age?

Whether you believe that hangovers get worse with age or not, it's a fact. Research discovered by Statista found that in England, hospital admissions for alcohol-related reasons were most common among those aged 65 to 74 years old, but why?

As you age, your body's ability to process alcohol changes. Here are a few reasons why hangovers seem to get more intense as the years go by:


Slower Metabolism

Your body becomes less efficient at metabolising alcohol as you get older. For this reason, it takes longer for your liver to process it and clear it from your system.


Decreased Body Water

With age, your body's water content decreases, which means there's less water available to dilute the alcohol you consume. This leads to more intense hangover effects and emphasises the need to hydrate yourself when consuming alcohol.


Lower Tolerance

Many people find that they drink less frequently as they enter their thirties due to other responsibilities like work and family. As a result, their tolerance for alcohol decreases, which makes hangovers feel more severe.


Change in Perception

Hangovers can feel more intense as you age simply because you're not used to experiencing them as frequently. When they do happen, they can feel like a shock to the system.


Increased Responsibilities

Dealing with a hangover becomes more challenging as you age, especially if you have kids to look after or a demanding job to attend to. These added responsibilities can amplify the negative effects of a hangover, as you must still cater to your responsibilities while recovering.


Are There Any Long-Term Effects of Continuous Hangover?

If you are experiencing continuous hangovers, it indicates that you are constantly misusing alcohol. Over a long period, this can lead to severe damage to various organs, including the brain, heart, liver, and pancreas.

Long-term heavy drinking can lead to elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It also weakens immunity and bone strength. It can also cause liver disease, cancer, mental health issues and sexual health problems.

As time passes, alcohol misuse can also take a social toll by triggering family breakdowns, domestic violence, job loss, homelessness, and financial struggles.


Seeking Help For Alcohol Misuse

If you tend to binge drink and find yourself experiencing frequent hangovers due to excessive drinking, it may be time to seek help. Alcohol detox and addiction services can provide you with the support and resources you need to manage your alcohol consumption and work towards creating a better relationship with alcohol.


Drinking Responsibility As You Age

Let's be honest, hangovers suck! With the natural changes in your body's ability to process alcohol and other factors, hangovers will inevitably become more intense as you age compared to younger people around you.

Luckily, by understanding why hangovers get worse with age and taking steps to prevent and lessen the symptoms, you can enjoy alcoholic drinks responsibly and minimise the negative effects on your health and well-being.

At OYNB, we strongly believe that alcohol can coexist in your life without the need to completely eradicate it. The secret to staying fulfilled is to create a balanced lifestyle. You shouldn’t feel like you ‘need’ alcohol to be happy or to start your morning off right. If you’re currently unhappy with your relationship with alcohol, don't hesitate to reach out to us for help and support.

We understand that choosing to change your behaviour is a huge step and we are excited to be a part of your journey. To start an 8-week journey to gain complete control over your drinking patterns, check out our Complete Control program and book a call with us. We are here to help.

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