How to Avoid Hangovers: Practical Tips and Drinks

A hangover can turn a night of revelry into a morning of regret. Characterised by a cluster of unpleasant physiological and psychological effects, hangovers typically follow excessive alcohol consumption. Physiologically, symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, and dehydration—stemming from alcohol's diuretic effect and its impact on various bodily systems.

This combination occurs because alcohol disrupts the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, initially elevating dopamine levels (which contribute to alcohol's pleasurable effects) and then causing them to plummet, leading to subsequent discomfort. On the psychological side, many people self-report that alcohol has an impact on their overall memory, and these blanks in memory can cause significant anxiety and personal mental health challenges.

As the founder of CAROUSE, Steph Elswood's battle with the negative impacts of alcohol consumption led her to a significant life choice. Alcohol was not just a mere beverage; it was a pivotal element affecting her mental health. In 2019, she decided to turn her life around, stepping away from alcohol not because the nights weren't memorable but because the mornings were unforgiving.

Despite her decision, Steph Elswood was determined not to let her social life fade into obscurity. She found the non-alcoholic offerings on the market—mostly fizzy drinks, overly sweet mocktails, or plain water—woefully inadequate. Her resolve led her to innovate and create CAROUSE, a line of non-alcoholic spirits that didn't just mimic alcoholic drinks but offered a sophisticated, health-conscious alternative that could be enjoyed at any party or gathering without the fear of a hangover.

As we explore the causes and cures of hangovers, remember that the ultimate goal is to foster a lifestyle where enjoyment and health go hand in hand, allowing you to celebrate life's moments to their fullest without the dreaded hangover.

Understanding Hangovers

Understanding the biochemical processes, symptoms, and potential long-term risks associated with hangovers underscores the importance of moderation in alcohol consumption. For those looking to avoid these effects altogether, non-alcoholic alternatives such as CAROUSE offer a safe and enjoyable way to engage socially without the adverse effects of alcohol.

Scientific Explanation

The unpleasant reality of a hangover starts at a molecular level. Alcohol, primarily ethanol, is metabolised by the liver using the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, which converts it into acetaldehyde, a toxic compound that is even more harmful than alcohol itself. Acetaldehyde is subsequently broken down into acetate by another enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase. While acetate is less harmful, the presence of acetaldehyde can even briefly trigger a range of harmful effects. This metabolic process also produces reactive oxygen species, increasing oxidative stress and inflammation, which is foundational to many hangover symptoms.

Moreover, alcohol affects the secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), leading to increased urine production and the dehydration commonly associated with hangovers. Depleting electrolytes such as potassium and sodium exacerbates symptoms like headaches and fatigue. Alcohol also irritates the gastric lining, increases acid secretion, and delays stomach emptying, which contributes to the nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort often felt during a hangover.

Comprehensive Symptoms

Hangover symptoms can be diverse and vary significantly from person to person, but they generally fall into two categories: common and less common.

Common Symptoms:

  • Headache and Dizziness: Due to dehydration and the vascular effects of ethanol.
  • Fatigue: Alcohol disrupts sleep patterns and depletes energy reserves.
  • Nausea, Vomiting, and Stomach Pain: Triggered by increased stomach acidity and slowed digestion.
  • Muscle Aches and Weakness: Linked to electrolyte imbalances.
  • Thirst and Dry Mouth: Direct results of dehydration.
  • Poor Sleep Quality and Decreased REM Sleep: Despite its sedative effects, alcohol substantially disrupts sleep architecture.

Less Common Symptoms:

  • Increased Sensitivity to Light and Sound: Attributable to central nervous system sensitivity.
  • Mood Disturbances: Including feelings of depression and anxiety, partly due to the effects of alcohol on brain chemistry.
  • Increased Heart Rate: A response to the body's need to metabolise alcohol.
  • Tremors: A reflection of nervous system agitation as it adjusts to the absence of alcohol.
  • Sweating: Related to detoxification processes and autonomic nervous system reactions.

Long-term Health Risks

While occasional hangovers are considered a temporary inconvenience, frequent and heavy alcohol consumption can lead to more severe and chronic health issues. Research shows that persistent alcohol abuse can cause sustained inflammation, liver disease, and neurological damage. Over time, the repetitive cycle of intoxication and withdrawal, which characterises frequent hangovers, may contribute to the development of alcohol dependence.

Moreover, studies suggest a correlation between regular hangover occurrences and an increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Alcohol’s impact on the body can also weaken the immune system, making it more susceptible to infections.

From a mental health perspective, the anxiety, depression, and mood instability frequently experienced during hangovers can exacerbate underlying mental health disorders. In the long term, this can contribute to the development of conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders, complicating recovery from alcohol misuse.

Practical Prevention Tips

Effective hangover prevention is about preparation, wise choices during moderate/low consumption, and taking care of one's body afterwards. By following these practical tips or opting for non-alcoholic alternatives like those offered by CAROUSE, you can engage in social festivities without missing out and enjoy the following day with vigour and vitality.

Before Drinking Recovery Tips

The first line of defence against hangovers begins with what you consume before alcohol. A well-chosen meal can significantly buffer the body against the adverse effects of alcohol. Meals rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, providing a prolonged and steady metabolic process rather than a quick spike. For instance, consuming lean proteins like chicken or fish, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, and healthy fats from avocados or nuts can be particularly effective. Additionally, foods high in fibre, like legumes and vegetables, help maintain stable blood sugar levels, which are often disrupted by alcohol consumption.

Hydration is crucial in preventing hangovers. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes the production of urine, leading to the rapid loss of fluids and electrolytes. Drinking water throughout the day before going out is advisable to counteract this effect. Furthermore, consuming electrolyte-rich beverages can restore the balance of salts and minerals your body will inevitably lose once you begin drinking. As for supplements, B vitamins and magnesium can help reduce the severity of hangovers. These nutrients play roles in the liver's energy production and detoxification processes, which are heavily taxed by alcohol consumption.

After Drinking Recovery Tips

Post-drinking care is crucial in mitigating hangover effects. Ensuring a good night's sleep is paramount, as alcohol can severely disrupt sleep patterns. Creating a conducive sleeping environment and avoiding further disturbances can help enhance sleep quality. Rehydrating with water and consuming electrolytes can also aid in recovery. If symptoms persist, consider a gentle but nourishing breakfast the next morning—options like toast with honey, which provides simple carbohydrates to raise blood sugar levels, or a banana, rich in potassium, can be beneficial.

The Only Sure Way to Avoid a Hangover: Avoid Alcohol

While the strategies outlined in the previous sections can significantly mitigate the risk and severity of hangovers, it's important to acknowledge that the only foolproof method to avoid a hangover entirely is to abstain from alcohol altogether. This approach might seem straightforward, but its implications are profound both socially and for personal health.

Health Benefits of Avoiding Alcohol

Abstaining from alcohol can lead to numerous health benefits. For starters, it eliminates the risk of developing alcohol-related diseases such as liver cirrhosis, certain types of cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. It also spares the body from the acute effects of alcohol poisoning and chronic conditions arising from long-term alcohol use. Beyond these physical health benefits, avoiding alcohol can lead to better mental health outcomes. Alcohol is a known depressant and can exacerbate or contribute to issues such as anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.

Social and Psychological Benefits

Choosing not to drink alcohol doesn't mean you must sacrifice your social life. On the contrary, it can enhance social interactions by allowing clearer communication and more genuine connections. Without alcohol, evenings out can be remembered more clearly, and experiences can be enjoyed without the looming worry of a hangover or regrets about behaviour under the influence.

CAROUSE: A Celebratory Alternative

For those who enjoy the social aspect of drinking but want to avoid alcohol, CAROUSE offers an excellent alternative. With non-alcoholic spirits like UPLIFT and DRIFT, you can enjoy the ritual of drinking and the complex flavours of spirits without the alcohol content. These beverages provide a sophisticated choice for any social occasion, from casual get-togethers to formal celebrations. They also include beneficial ingredients that can enhance mood and overall well-being, aligning with a health-conscious lifestyle.

Inclusion in Social Settings

Increasingly, social settings are becoming more inclusive of non-drinkers. It's becoming more common for events and venues to offer creative and appealing non-alcoholic options, acknowledging that many people choose to abstain from alcohol for a variety of reasons. This shift in societal norms means choosing not to drink alcohol is less likely to stand out as unusual or require explanation.


CAROUSE's Non-Alcoholic Spirits: UPLIFT and DRIFT

CAROUSE stands out in a market increasingly leaning towards mindful consumption with its carefully crafted non-alcoholic spirits, UPLIFT and DRIFT. These products offer not just an alternative to alcoholic beverages but an enhancement to the social drinking experience, free from alcohol's negative effects. Here, we explore the intricacies of these beverages, the thoughtful sourcing of their ingredients, and innovative serving suggestions.

Deep Dive into UPLIFT

UPLIFT is designed to do exactly what its name suggests—elevate your mood and energise your gatherings. This vibrant blend combines citrus fruits and warming ginger, which are then accented with unique botanicals like guarana, maca, and gingko biloba. It adds a subtle kick of peppercorn and a hint of chilli.

  • Citrus Fruits: Known for their refreshing flavour and high vitamin C content, citrus fruits add a bright, tangy base to UPLIFT. These fruits are sourced from growers who prioritise sustainable farming practices, ensuring that each sip supports wellness and environmental health.
  • Ginger: This root adds a spicy zing and is celebrated for its anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits, making UPLIFT an excellent choice for a soothing yet stimulating drink.
  • Guarana and Maca: These South American plants are famed for their natural energising properties. Guarana provides a slow release of energy, while maca is known for enhancing stamina and endurance.
  • Gingko Biloba: Often used in herbal medicine, gingko biloba can enhance cognitive function, adding a layer of mental clarity to the drink’s physical energy boost.
  • Peppercorn and Chilli: These spices enhance the drink's flavour and stimulate metabolism, contributing to its invigorating qualities.

Serving Suggestions

UPLIFT is best served chilled as a 50ml shot over ice, which sharpens its crisp flavours, or mixed with soda water and a squeeze of fresh lemon to enhance its refreshing citrus profile. For social gatherings, consider a CAROUSE UPLIFT spritz—mix UPLIFT with sparkling water, add a dash of elderflower cordial, and garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon. This drink is perfect for brunches, afternoon garden parties, or any occasion where you seek a refreshing, uplifting beverage.

Deep Dive into DRIFT

DRIFT offers a journey into relaxation with its fusion of summer fruits and mixed berries, complemented by the coolness of cucumber and the calming effects of echinacea, ashwagandha, and basil.

  • Summer Fruits and Mixed Berries: These provide DRIFT's sweet and tart foundation, loaded with antioxidants that promote health and vitality. The berries are sourced from sustainable agriculture farms, enhancing the drink's eco-friendly appeal.
  • Cucumber: Adds a hydrating, fresh dimension to the drink, making it immensely refreshing.
  • Echinacea and Ashwagandha: These herbs are revered in herbal medicine for their immune-boosting and stress-reducing properties, respectively. Thus, DRIFT is a drink that not only relaxes but also fortifies.
  • Basil: Offers a herbal note that complements the berries and adds sophistication to the beverage’s profile.

Serving Suggestions

DRIFT shines when served as a chilled 50ml shot over ice or mixed with soda water and a slice of fresh lime, perfect for winding down. For a creative twist, blend DRIFT with iced green tea and garnish with frozen berries for a refreshing and healthful mocktail ideal for spa days or relaxing after a stressful week at work.

Beyond Hangovers: The Dangers Of Alcohol Consumption

While moderate alcohol consumption can lead to a common hangover, excessive drinking may result in more severe health issues that require medical attention. Understanding when symptoms transition from inconvenient to dangerous is crucial for ensuring safety and health. This section provides detailed guidance on recognising serious symptoms and shares advice from health professionals on how to manage severe hangovers and excessive alcohol consumption.

Recognising Serious Symptoms

Most hangovers, while uncomfortable, are not life-threatening. However, certain symptoms signify the need for immediate medical intervention:

  • Severe Dehydration: If symptoms such as extreme thirst, dizziness, confusion, or a rapid heart rate occur, they may indicate severe dehydration, which can require intravenous hydration to correct.
  • Persistent Vomiting: Continuous vomiting can lead to dehydration, significant electrolyte imbalances, and potential damage to the oesophagus. If vomiting cannot be controlled and persists for more than 24 hours, medical attention is necessary.
  • Unresponsiveness or Altered Mental State: Difficulty in waking up or any signs of stupor or disorientation are alarming and could indicate alcohol poisoning, a potentially fatal condition.
  • Seizures: Alcohol withdrawal in heavy drinkers can lead to seizures, which are medical emergencies.
  • Hypothermia: Alcohol consumption can lower your body's ability to regulate temperature, which might result in hypothermia. Signs include intense shivering, slurred speech, and slow breathing.
  • Suspected Alcohol Poisoning: This is characterised by extremely confused behaviour, hypothermia, incoherence, and irregular or slow breathing. In such cases, it's imperative to get emergency care promptly.

Advice from Health Professionals

Doctors and specialists emphasise that prevention is the best strategy when it comes to hangovers and alcohol-related issues. Here are several tips from health professionals:

  • Moderate Your Intake: Understanding your limits and adhering to them can prevent many of the symptoms associated with severe hangovers.
  • Stay Hydrated: Alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water to reduce dehydration and limit alcohol intake.
  • Eat Before and While Drinking: Having food in your stomach slows the absorption of alcohol, reducing its peak concentration in the blood.
  • Avoid Mixing Different Types of Alcohol: This can reduce the severity of hangover symptoms.
  • Listen to Your Body: Recognise the early signs of intoxication and stop drinking when you feel you are nearing your limits.

Health professionals also recommend that individuals with a history of alcohol misuse or symptoms of dependency seek counselling or medical advice. They stress the importance of addressing not just the physical but also the emotional and psychological aspects of alcohol use.

Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle with CAROUSE

At the heart of CAROUSE is a philosophy that merges wellness with vibrant social life, embodied by its founder, Steph Elswood. Her journey from recognising the negative impacts of alcohol on her health to developing CAROUSE's non-alcoholic spirits is a testament to her commitment to a balanced, fulfilling lifestyle. This section explores how Steph Elswood's philosophy has shaped the brand and community, promoting a healthier lifestyle without compromising social enjoyment.

Steph Elswood’s Philosophy on Wellness and Social Life

Steph Elswood's personal experiences with alcohol led her to a crucial realisation: social engagements do not need to involve alcohol to be enjoyable or memorable. This insight drove her to create CAROUSE, aiming to provide high-quality, non-alcoholic alternatives that allow everyone to partake in toasts and celebrations without the side effects of alcohol. Her approach is not about abstaining from alcohol for reasons of health alone but creating an inclusive environment where everyone can feel part of the celebration regardless of their drinking preferences. Steph Elswood believes integrating wellness into social life can enhance relationships and enriches experiences, making gatherings more about connection and less about consumption.

Embrace A Hangover-Free Social Life With CAROUSE

CAROUSE invites everyone to rethink their drinking habits and to embrace a lifestyle where health and social activities are perfectly aligned. Whether you are sober-curious or just looking for a healthier alternative, CAROUSE offers a sophisticated and inclusive way to celebrate life's moments.

We encourage you to join the CAROUSE community and experience the joy of inclusive, health-forward celebrations. Let's toast to health and happiness together—try CAROUSE and make your next social gathering a refreshing experience without compromise.