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The Scientific Reason Hangovers Are So Bad

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Scientists say hangover symptoms are a result of chemical imbalances because of drinking. The common symptoms are the ones we have all had after a wild night of drinking. They are headaches, nausea and anxiety.


Apparently, alcohol suppresses a hormone called vasopressin. This hormone prevents you from peeing too much and keeps you hydrated. With it being not as active, you are susceptible to dehydration, and that causes a headache.


Another chemical, proinflammatory Cytokines, causes flu-like symptoms. All these changes are responsible for the anxiety felt. The headaches from hangovers are due to chemical changes in the body. These changes start to happen as soon as you take your first gulp of alcohol.


What happens when you drink?

As you down the first cocktail or shot, the alcohol moves through your GI tract to your liver. Enzymes will then break it down. But as you take the next sip or second and third shots, the liver can’t keep up. The alcohol then overflows to your bloodstream and other organs like the brain. In your brain, it suppresses a hormone called vasopressin. This hormone, being inactive, will then make you urinate more frequently and then dehydrate you in the process.


The dehydration will explain why you have such a banging headache in the morning after. This is not all. The body also produces other small proteins that stimulate inflammations in large quantity in the blood. They cause symptoms like nausea, jitters and headaches.

Scientists carried out a research by injecting proinflammatory cytokines into sober people who have not had any alcohol. They felt very hungover. However, scientists cannot explain why drinking will trigger these responses. But they explain that it is more severe when you drink high alcohol content drinks. Alcoholic drinks with high percentages of alcohol will cause more severe hangovers.


The anxiety in the morning, according to scientists, is not associated with any guilt from bad decisions. It is biological. The anxiety starts when you are done drinking. While drinking, the brain is under the activity of receptors called GABA. It is responsible for the calm you feel while drinking. It also blocks a stimulant called glutamate while still active. This stimulant is linked with anxiety.

Meanwhile, when you stop drinking, the activities of the receptors flip and floods your system with stimulating glutamate. This will make you feel abnormally anxious by morning. It can also disrupt sleep, causing you to wake up feeling tired.


Unlike popular belief, the best way to get over a nasty hangover is to hydrate. Take lots of water and anti-inflammatory medicine. It will vanish in 24 hours.

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