What Does A Hangover Do To Our Brains?

Guy passed out in bed after drinking alcohol excessively. The day after hangover and intoxication.


It sometimes begins with a loud crash, bang, boom coming from another part of the house. You sit up in bed all fucking confused, with your face scrunched up like “what the shit?”

But it is impossible to make out what the hell is actually happening out there because your vision has been mostly incapacitated and your eyes are only functioning just a step above that of an 88-year-old man with cataracts.

It isn’t long before you start to feel your heartbeat going all John Bonham in the center of your skull. And the old stomach, well, that sum bitch is hanging on by a thread.

On your way to the bathroom, it is difficult to tell whether you are going to heave up your guts or be reduced to a shadow figure by a violent case of the beer squirts.

You attempt to get a drink of water from the faucet, but you woke up with Parkinson’s or some shit, and your hands won’t stop shaking long enough to hold a glass.

From the other side of the door, someone screams out, “Yo, man, you was fucked up last night,” only you can’t remember where you went, what you did or how you got home.

All you know is you can’t wait to get your hands on the rotten cat that shit in your mouth. You, my friend, have a hangover and your brain is suffering in ways that have stripped you of any ability to be human.

You are now more beast than man, a sloppy, souse zombie that needs to be put out of his misery before the sickness spreads.

The most insane aspect of a hangover is scientists still don’t have any idea what causes them.

Yep, we can put a man on the moon, but we still cannot pinpoint what brings about headaches, nausea, and the sheer pathetic nature that comes from a night of hard-drinking.

Sure, there are a few theories about what causes our bodies to recoil in horror once we’ve finished with all of our drunken shenanigans.

But nobody seems able to put their finger on one specific culprit that leads to the feel-bads.

Over the years, the best answer scientists can come up with is that alcohol messes with our brains, making it difficult for us to do our jobs, manage our lives, or even get a cup of coffee without the risk of setting the house on fire.

These are the five most likely alcohol-induced miscreants making us feel so goddamn ugly in the morning.

Hangovers Excite the Brain

Although people are less than enthused about waking up with a hangover, medical experts say the brain is overly excited during this time.

You see, when a person drinks, the booze puts a leash on the excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain.

But after the alcohol wears off, it allows glutamate receptors to come alive with a vengeance.

So, while a person may feel like their brain is just a puddle of mush after losing several rounds with a bottle of Jack Daniels, it is actually in there working overtime to put them back together again.

But it is this push to bring them back to life that some scientists believe is responsible for making us sensitive to sound and light.

Hangovers Make The Brain Thirsty

We all know that hangovers dry us the fuck out.

But why?

Medical experts say that the consumption of alcohol hinders the production of an anti-diuretic hormone that makes us urinate more than usual.

It’s not just that knocking back bottle after bottle causes a person to hit the pisser more often, but the lack of this hormone actually forces the body to expel more liquids than what is going in.

You might be drinking 24 ounces of beer an hour, but the body is pissing out more like 26.

In the end, this leads to severe dehydration, which causes the mouth to go dry and a pounding head.

Hangovers Cause Dopamine Peaks

Strangely, medical experts are not exactly sure why some people experience nausea with their hangover.

But they say it could be a result of massive dopamine levels being produced in the brain when the booze starts to flow.

Dopamine is the chemical that provides users with a pleasurable experience during a drinking binge. It’s one of the reasons some people just can’t stop once they get started.

They never want to feel any worse than they do right now.

Some studies have shown that only a taste of alcohol can release dopamine.

So, it stands to reason that after 15 beers and a martini, the old noggin is swimming in the stuff.

This could be what brings about the pukes.

Hangovers Cause The Brain To Become Inflamed

Although the brain is overly excited during a hangover, that doesn’t mean it is at all amused at the brutal beating it has been through.

If you’ve ever noticed that you’re a bit moody during times when you are hungover, that’s because the brain is producing an abundance of immune system cells called microglia.

Without getting overly scientific here, these cells can bring on flu-like symptoms.

Other chemical reactions also happen in the gut when a person is hungover that causes these cells to become more prevalent in a person’s system.

This might be one of the reasons some people credit CBD for helping to ease hangovers. CBD has been shown to have anti-inflamatory properties.

Hangovers Throw Off The Biological Clock

Alcohol has a way of interrupting that part of the brain that controls when we sleep and wake up.

It can be hard to get proper rest when booze is still coursing through the veins.

But it also depends on when the alcohol was consumed that determines how beat down a person is going to feel the next day.

People who stay up drinking into the wee hours of the morning are obviously going to be more tired than those who start catching a buzz at noon and get a solid night’s sleep.

Regardless of how it is done, drinking muddles a person’s biological clock to some degree.

It is the reason that, even if you do end up getting some substantial sack time after a heavy bender, you might not feel like yourself for most of the day. The brain just gets thrown off a little.

Now that we know more about hangovers, we can take steps to try and prevent them from ever happening again, right?

Fuck no! We are imbeciles at heart, and until there is a magic pill that eliminates the possibility of the drunk and rowdy getting the feel bads, we are going to continue waking up in the mornings in absolute agony.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump wants to send astronauts to Mars.

Fuck that shit. Let’s see some budgetary dollars going to find a cure for the beer flu!


Mike Adams is a freelance writer for High Times, Cannabis Now, and Forbes. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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