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What’s the Science Behind Your Hangover? [Infographic]

No one likes being hung over. The headaches, exhaustion, nausea and body aches associated with hangovers are enough to make anyone want to hide in bed all day. In The Ranch PA’s latest infographic, we explore the science behind your hangover, and what those terrible hangover symptoms are trying to tell you.

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Hangover Science

When it comes to drinking, there are some basic, science-backed rules that you can follow to determine your chances of being hung over the next day. For example, drinking dark liquors increases your chances of being hung over. Why? Because dark liquors contain more congeners than lighter liquors. Congeners are byproducts of the fermentation process. When your body metabolizes these congeners, they become formaldehyde, which is highly toxic. Lighter-looking liquors on the other hand (vodka, gin and white wine), have fewer congeners than dark liquors. Drinking light liquors is likely to result in a milder hangover, as compared to drinking the same amount of alcohol in dark liquors. Of course, this by no means suggests that you can binge drink light liquors and not be hung over. Binge drinking alcohol of any kind (for women, four drinks in two hours or, for men, five drinks in two hours) is likely to result in a hangover because you’re consuming more alcohol than your body can metabolize efficiently.

Beer before Liquor…

Have you heard the saying, “Beer before liquor, never been sicker?” Turns out, there’s some science backing up this old phrase. Because beer is somewhat carbonated, it speeds up the rate of alcohol absorption. Therefore, when you consume liquor after drinking beer, your body absorbs the liquor’s alcohol more quickly, giving you less time to process it and increasing your chances of getting sick. Add to that the fact that mixing beer with liquor means you’re also mixing the different kinds of congeners found in beer and liquor, and you’ve got a recipe for a rough day ahead.

What a Hangover Really Costs

Hangovers cost you more than embarrassment and a bad morning. In 2006, hangovers cost the U.S. economy approximately $160 billion. That means for the 117 billion alcoholic drinks consumed every year, each one costs about $1.37 in lost productivity. Furthermore, common over-the-counter medications people take to help their hangovers will reach record sales by 2018. Alka-Seltzer, adult pain relievers and dietary supplements are expected to reach sales of $785 million, $4 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively. If you really want to avoid a hangover, the best thing to do is simply not drink. However, if you do drink, do so responsibly. If you think you or someone you know has a drinking problem, contact The Ranch PA Rehab today.

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