Hangover Symptoms

A Guide to Common Hangover Symptoms

Hangover symptoms crop up when we’ve had a little too much to drink. In essence, it’s really the body’s way of saying that it has sustained a bit of damage and needs to recover. Although consuming a little alcohol every now and then isn’t necessarily harmful, consuming excessive amounts in a short period of time can wreak havoc on one’s body. In fact, the body views alcohol as a sort of toxin and instantly begins working to flush it out of the body. To do this, it collects water from all parts of the body. –Having too much alcohol in the blood can also lead to temporary liver and kidney issues.


This is the most common of all hangover symptoms, although one may not always notice its presence. The ethanol that is found in alcohol works as a diuretic on the human body. A diuretic is something that causes an increase in the production of urine. The more alcohol that one consumes, the more water they will lose as a result. This water is gathered from all parts of the body, even the brain, which is then flushed out of the body. If one fails to drink adequate amounts of water to replace what they have lost, dehydration will be inevitable.


This is one of the most widely-known hangover symptoms around—the dreaded hangover headache. A headache is a result of too much water being pulled from the brain. It is also a side effect caused by excessive liver strain. The liver is the main organ responsible for filtering toxic materials—in this case, alcohol—from the blood stream. If one drinks a large amount of alcohol, the liver has to work harder than usual to filter the blood. In the event that there is too much alcohol for the liver to process, alcohol blood poisoning can result, which can be fatal.


Nausea is another common symptom, although it may not always be present with a hangover. After a night of drinking, one might find that nausea seems to come and go at seemingly random instances. Whether one actually vomits depends on how much alcohol is still present within their system. Vomiting is the body’s natural response to getting rid of excessive amounts of alcohol, which is a much easier method of elimination than to force the liver and kidneys to process it all. The resulting nausea is likely to cause a loss of appetite, which is another symptom of a hangover.

Dizziness and General Irritability

Considering what one’s body is currently going through with a hangover, it is understandable that they would be uncharacteristically irritable. Hangovers can cause unexplainable aches all over the body as well as the ever-present headache, and these tend to result in dizziness and a generally crabby attitude. Luckily, these usually go away within a few hours.

Fatigue and Tiredness

After a night of drinking, one often feels compelled to spend hours in bed. This compulsion is really the body’s way of attempting to recover from the damage done by alcohol. When we sleep, our body is better able to cope from everyday wear and tear, so when the body has been put through more stress than usual, it needs more rest to recover. If at all possible, one should allow their body this time to recover as quickly as possible. If sleep is not an option, one is likely to battle the constant presence of fatigue for a good portion of the day. Fatigue is a general tiredness of the body which results in slower reaction time and a difficulty performing at one’s usual capabilities.

Luckily, the symptoms of a hangover usually go away within a few hours, but sometimes it can take a full day to completely recover from a hangover. If severe dehydration or alcohol poisoning is suspected, one should visit the emergency room right away.