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5 Truths You Should Know Before You Drink Again

5 Truths You Should Know Before You Drink Again

Here’s what you need to know about drinking and hangovers:

1.  What You Should Know About A Hangover

Alcohol dehydrates your body. Specifically, alcohol inhibits the functioning of antidiuretic hormones called vasopressin (ADH), which controls the the amount of water in your body as well as how much of it leaves you (via urination). When drinking alcohol, the water is eliminated more when urinating, taking with it compounds necessary for the body, leaving you without reserve and allowing your organs to suffer. This may result in a headache or other such symptoms.

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2. Women: Alcohol

Women are more likely to suffer from hangovers than men. This is largely because women are normally smaller in size than men. So if the same level of alcohol or drugs gets ingested by women, they will become dehydrated quicker compared to men. That is why women often have a higher blood alcohol level and get drunk easier.

3. Hangover and Tobacco

Some people, when having a hangover, end up using tobacco (most likely in the form of smoking) for relief. This alone can make everything worse and could prove to be a lethal combination because tobacco can produce a sort of high. While the effects may not be as substantial as using alcohol or drugs, curing a hangover by possibly extending a level of inhibition may not be the best choice.

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One of the best ways to get rid of a hangover is detoxing your system: The faster you get the alcohol or drugs out of your body the sooner you will start to feel better. Tobacco won’t do.

4. Hangovers Are Not For All

Many people may not know that approximately 23% of the world’s population are resistant to hangovers.[1] This is true as some people do not suffer hangover to the same extent as others. Scientists have located certain genes that may be responsible for this, with twin studies supporting this.

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Hangovers could also be linked to personality traits. Studies have shown that neurotic people may be more susceptible to hangovers than laid back people.[2]

So, who knows, you could have been one of the lucky ones who has those genes? (Nonetheless, please be cautious when consuming alcohol.)

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5. How do you prevent a hangover?

Here’s a couple ways to prevent a hangover:

  • Drink milk: supposedly some people insist on drinking milk before you start drinking, as milk coats the lining of your stomach, supposedly absorbing the alcohol. This hasn’t been scientifically proven.[3]  But, you never know, it could work?
  • Take multivitamins before drinking: Jason Burke, MD, an anesthesiologist told Cosmopolitan, “Antioxidants help mitigate the damage, so pop an extra multivitamin, or drink acai or pomegranate juice before you go out.”[4]
  • Get sleep before: alcohol plays a part on your immunity. Get your sleep to give your immune system a little bit of a break.[5]
  • While we’re still on the topic of immunity, make sure you wash your hands well when you do start drinking. Since the alcohol lowers your immune system, it’s important to take extra precautions in ensuring you don’t become sick[6] You could even carry some hand sanitizer or wipes for even better insurance.

Final Thoughts

Every person’s body is individual and unique. That said, alcohol will affect everyone differently—some having more of a hangover, others a little, and for those 23%, no hangover at all.

No matter how you react to alcohol, it’s important to drink wisely and responsibly. That if you go out to drink to bring responsible friends, and decide in advance who’s going to be the DD (designated driver).

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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