Ways to Reduce Hangovers: Old, New, and Surprising

Last Updated on July 31, 2019

It’s that time of year again. Multiple holidays—Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve—conspire to keep alcohol on everyone’s mind. And when that happens, sometimes hangovers follow.

Hangover remedies can be decades old. Who hasn’t considered the “hair of the dog” the next morning? But the problem with this method is that drinking more—of whatever caused the hangover in the first place—gives you only temporary relief.

In an article in Self magazine, New York internist Keri Peterson, MD, adds, “The infamous ‘hair of the dog that bit you’ cocktail doesn’t cure a hangover—it merely postpones it until later in the day.” That’s because hangovers set in when blood-alcohol levels start to fall, she explains. “The worst symptoms begin when the levels drop to zero.”

Peterson recommends drinking lots of water, starting with water while you’re drinking—a glass of water for each portion of wine, beer, or spirits—and then in the morning, as dehydration is a big cause of hangover symptoms. Sports drinks are fine, too. She also warns not to take acetominophen (e.g., Tylenol) for a headache, because of the danger of liver damage. Ibuprofen (e.g., Advil or Motrin) are safer bets.

And if you can stand to move around some—even a little—she says, “Even gentle exercise floods cells with oxygen and releases mood-boosting endorphins.”

In the 21st century, another option is so-called “nutraceuticals.” These refer to foods to which other ingredients have been added, to produce healthful results. These can include dietary supplements, so-called “functional foods,” “medical foods,” and other foods, all usually enhanced with vitamins, antioxidants, or other ingredients said to have health benefits.

But most of these have not been fully evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. While many of these products are not harmful, they also may not give the results that they claim. That said, in the “mind over matter” vein, if eating these foods makes you feel better—in moderation—then by all means, do so.

As you can imagine, the best way to eliminate hangovers is not to drink to excess in the first place. That’s where Ria Health can help. Ria begins with an app that you download on your smartphone, combined with a wireless breathalyzer, which keeps track of blood acohol levels. Then comes safe, FDA-approved medication—not Antabuse, which causes extreme discomfort, but naltrexone, which causes the desire for alcohol to wane.

Finally, Ria is at the forefront of telemedicine. Who likes spending valuable holiday time waiting around in a doctor’s office? Ria puts its members in touch with medical staff via telephone, Skype, Google Hangouts, or other options. You can do the Ria program in the privacy of your own home, avoiding lines, groups, and travel expenses.

And it doesn’t take long. Most Ria members see—and feel—changes in weeks, not months. Ria’s affordable method can give you the confidence to face the December holidays, and to drink moderately, if you choose.

So back to that hangover and “the morning after.” While another Bloody Mary might be tempting, or chugging a colorfully packaged vitamin supplement, the best solution is simply: drink less. You’ll enjoy life more.

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