5 Crazy Hangover “Cures” and Why the Don’t Work

Drinking alcohol excessively leads to a plethora of consequences including head pounding, stomach churning hangovers. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you overdid it the night before. Some people who wake up with a splitting headache heed the lesson our bodies are teaching us. Yet, others look for ways to skip hangover school through some unconventional means.

Every culture that drinks has its own set of hangover remedies that are passed down from generation to generation, each one sure to “cure” what ails you. Unfortunately, like a lot of myths surrounding alcohol use, they may not hold much legitimacy. That’s right, your grandfather’s secret hangover-fix cocktail is probably just a gross drink.

Of course, you can treat the symptoms of a hangover with aspirin and seltzer water, but there is no real way to drink like there’s no tomorrow and not pay the consequences when tomorrow actually comes. But hangovers are more than head and tummy aches. They also come with cognitive and psychological symptoms, in addition to nausea, sweating, and headache. Hangovers can cause depression, anxiety, mental fog, drowsiness, and irritability.

One of the reasons there is no real hangover cure is that we barely understand what causes hangover biologically. There are some theories that exist including ones that have to do with hormonal changes, dehydration, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and many more. However, one thing is certain, the only way to avoid a hangover is to moderate drinking, and the only sure way to cure it is to wait for your body to return to normal.

Still, when your guts feel like a churning tempest on the open seas, you might get a little desperate to alleviate your distress. You may be willing to try some strange, unorthodox hangover cures to exercise the Ghost of Friday Night’s Past. Here are some of the weirdest ones:

5. Hair of the Dog

No, not literally. “Hair of the Dog” is the colloquial name for curing a hangover with more alcohol the morning after. The phrase comes from the old idea that you could cure rabies by placing hair from the rabid dog that bit you onto the wound. Drinking more alcohol to lessen the effects of a hangover is a common remedy, and it’s based on a theory that sounds relatively convincing.
One of the theorized causes of a hangover is that you are actually experiencing alcohol withdrawal. If that’s the case, it makes sense that weaning off of alcohol slowly would ease the withdrawal symptoms.

Why it Doesn’t Work

Withdrawal and hangover have a very different set of symptoms. Anyone who’s had a hangover knows that alcohol cravings (common in withdrawal) are the furthest thing from the mind of someone experiencing hangover nausea. In reality, alcohol may provide temporary relief but it will ultimately prolong your symptoms.

4. Prairie Oyster

A common American folk remedy for a hangover is called the Prairie Oyster. It is a contemptible cocktail consisting of a raw egg, tomato juice, hot sauce, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. The egg is cracked into a glass or cup to keep the yolk intact. When the cocktail is consumed, the goal is to down the whole thing without breaking the yolk. The resulting texture is very reminiscent of an actual oyster.

This remedy is not without a little popular science to back it up. Fatty and salty food help replenish electrolytes that are lost because of alcohol’s interference with the antidiuretic hormone that regulates how much water you lose in sweat. Also, the toxic byproducts your body creates while processing alcohol is thought to cause many of the symptoms associated with a hangover. Supposedly, introducing other toxics like capsaicin (a chemical that makes spicy foods spicy) causes your body to slow down alcohol processing and toxic chemical production to deal with the new threat.

Why it Doesn’t Work

There is some merit to the salt and fatty food theory. Replenishing your water after you’ve become dehydrated can alleviate symptoms caused by dehydration like a headache. However, a breakfast of eggs (cooked) and bacon would probably do that job better than a small shot of a nausea-worsening concoction. The idea of adding toxins is the same as adding more alcohol. It may temporarily alleviate symptoms but will end up prolonging the process in the long run.

3. Buffalo Milk

Another mixed cocktail thought to be a hangover cure is called “Buffalo Milk.” It’s popularly used in Nambia, and even though buffalo milk is sometimes used for cheeses and dairy products around the world, this mixture does not contain any actual milk from a buffalo. Instead, it’s made up of clotted cream, dark rum, spiced rum, cream liqueur, and whole cream. This drink takes the theory of the Hair of the Dog to the limit, in a heaping helping. Both the booze and the fatty cream distracts the processes that may cause some symptoms.

Why it Doesn’t Work

Again, the alcohol and fat may relieve symptoms for a while, until they come back with a vengeance. Plus, all that dairy can’t be good for an upset stomach.

2. Voodoo

In Haiti, some believe that hangovers are caused by malevolent spirits (no pun intended), and witch doctors prescribe a ritual to cast it out. Hangover sufferers make a voodoo doll out of the bottle of alcohol that was used to create the problem in the first place. Then 13 black pins are stuck into the bottle’s cork to expel the spirit. If you got drunk from a bottle with a screw top? Well, then you’re…well, screwed.

Why It Doesn’t Work

Malicious ghosts are very low on the list of accepted theoretical causes for a hangover.

1. Green Ant Tea

Like Haitians, indigenous Australians have taken the traditional “load up on more booze and fatty foods” and thrown it out the window for one hangover cure. They use a green ant tea made from green tree ants. This bushman’s trick involves grinding up dried ants and soaking them in hot water. The green tree ant is also used to treat headaches and colds unrelated to a hangover. Protein is another supposed key element in recovering from a hangover. Amino acids, which help to detoxify your liver, are produced when digesting protein, and the little arboreal denizens are full of it.

Why it Doesn’t Work

Eating and digesting protein may have marginal effects when it comes to helping your body process out the excess alcohol. But you are still going to feel symptoms for hours.

The Real Solution

The real solution to an uncomfortable hangover isn’t as exciting as voodoo or creamy booze. It’s plain old moderation or abstinence. You should eat a good breakfast and drink plenty of water to give your body the fuel it needs to purge itself of toxins. But the best thing you can do the morning after is to resolve to moderate in the future. Besides, too much excessive drinking can lead to worse effects than a headache. Long-term effects include liver and heart disease. If you are under 25, it can reduce cognitive ability.

Excessive drinking can also lead to alcoholism, a chronic disease affecting the brain and causing chemical dependence. If you believe that you’ve become dependent on alcohol it’s important to seek medical detox, as alcohol withdrawal can be fatal. Call Arete Recovery now at 855-781-9939 to learn more about treatment options.

Alcoholism in the Workplace

Bloodshot eyes.

Slurred words.

The smell of booze on one’s breath.

The signs of alcohol use are hard to ignore, and once they are noticed in the workplace, they can become a problem for everyone—not just for the person who is under the influence. Other workers, as well as their employer, are also affected.

Alcohol in the workplace can cause just as many problems at the office as much as it does outside the company’s doors, especially because many people who drink also are employed. According to reports, in 2015, there were 138.3 million Americans aged 12 or older who reported current use of alcohol, including 66.7 million who reported binge alcohol use in the past month and 17.3 million who reported heavy alcohol use in the past month.

Many of these people had jobs, and it’s safe to say that it’s possible the effects of their heavy drinking followed them to work.

An inability to handle job-related stress or manage mental, emotional and physical health issues lead some people to drink before or after work. What employees do in their leisure time is their business, but it becomes an issue when what they do off the clock starts to interfere and affect what they do on the clock.

Those who drink heavily off-site may stumble into work the next day with a hangover from the night before, putting themselves at risk of falling or causing other problems. This now becomes a problem for the employer. With a high concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream, the person may not physically feel well, which can lead to health issues and risks, on-the-job injuries being among them.

Alcohol and drug use is common in workplaces across the U.S., and according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, drug and alcohol overdoses at work killed 32 percent more Americans in 2016 than they did in 2015.

The world’s most widely accessible and widely abused drug can invade almost any space. Workplaces are not immune or safe from alcohol users. Signs that someone in the workplace is struggling with alcoholism include:

  • Attendance issues. Unexplained and unauthorized absences from the job or excessively calling out could be a sign that an employee is struggling with alcohol use disorder or some other substance abuse disorder. The person also could have issues showing up to work on time or exhibit a pattern of absence, such as being out on Mondays and Fridays.
  • Behavioral changes. A person who has alcohol use disorder may exhibit irritability, depression, or nervousness. They may have high-energy, particularly after a small break or lunch break, or they may appear withdrawn and detached.
  • Changes in appearance. Noticeable changes in a person’s appearance could be a sign that alcohol use has gotten out of control. A person could appear unkempt or appear skinnier or heavier than usual.
  • On-the-job conflicts. A person who gets into physical confrontations or is argumentative, combative, or uncooperative with coworkers may have an alcohol use disorder.

Workers who have alcohol use disorder may also miss deadlines or turn in sloppy or incomplete work. They also may offer excuses for the quality of their assignments or work performances.

Your Co-Worker Has Had Too Much Alcohol to Drink: What to Do Now?

A person with an alcohol use disorder may struggle with being in a workplace culture where alcohol is available, especially in situations such as the company holiday party, a business trip, or a work event where drinking is acceptable.

This is yet another scenario when someone’s irresponsible alcohol use can put their work colleagues and employer in a difficult position.

So, what should you do, if you do anything at all? Well, the answer is different depending on what role you or someone you know has in this situation.

If you’re the coworker:

First, be assured that it is OK to be concerned about your coworker. Alcoholism causes serious health issues and consequences. Also, the possibility of the inebriated person operating a vehicle on the roads or machinery is no longer just about that person; everyone’s safety is at risk. Taking note of their appearance and behavior could be what’s needed to help them address a possible substance abuse problem. You may be wondering if you should say something to your coworker or talk with your boss about the problem.

It is up to you on how to handle it, but consider that alcoholism is a financial issue, too. If the person loses their job, the financial setback can send them further down the path of addiction. While it is not your responsibility to take on their troubles, it is important to remain aware of what’s at stake and consider how to best help that person.

If you choose to address your coworker’s drinking, reach out at a time when the person is sober. Hazelden’s counselors offer tips on how to approach this sensitive subject. They recommend writing down what you want to say and practice your answers based on how your work colleague could respond. This will make the talk easier to have.

Other tips Hazelden counselors share are:

  • Express your concern in an honest and caring way. Be sure to use “I” phrases such as “I’m worried.” This way, your colleague can’t argue with your feelings.
  • Talk to your co-worker about the effect of alcohol or drugs on whatever they care about most: career, family, etc. Even if your co-worker doesn’t care for themselves, they may get help for the sake of their family.
  • Don’t blame or criticize your colleague for their behavior. Addiction is a medically proven disease and often causes individuals to act in ways that are not normal for them.

If you’re the person who’s drinking:

You are responsible for your actions and should expect others to hold you accountable for them. If you think you have an alcohol use disorder, or AUD, seek help immediately at a professional treatment center that can help you achieve sobriety. Talk to a trusted family member, friend, or coworker for support.

You have the right to expect confidentiality as you seek counseling for AUD. Employees who have a drinking problem may want to consider looking into services offered by an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs provide short-term counseling and assessment for people with substance abuse issues.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management’s website, “Employees may voluntarily seek EAP assistance, or they may be referred to the EAP through constructive confrontation. Job security will not be jeopardized as a consequence of seeking or using EAP services, except where mandated by law. However, employees who use an EAP are expected to adhere to the job performance requirements of the organization.”

You can also seek help on your own. Entering an alcohol treatment center before disciplinary action is taken is best.

If you’re the employer:

You have an obligation to keep everyone safe in the office and at company events and activities. That includes employees, clients, customers, and visitors to the workplace. That also includes anyone involved with work-related events and activities that are held away from the office.

Alcohol-related accidents in the workplace do happen and they are a liability. Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the brain and how the body responds. It also lowers inhibitions, which means those under the influence feel like they can take risks.

According to data from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, studies and reports have found that workplace costs stemming from alcohol use range from $33 billion to $68 billion per year.

There are steps employers can take to ensure the dangers of job-related alcohol don’t affect their office.

First, they should make employers aware of company policies about alcohol and drug use. A written document that is accessible online and offline is ideal. Workers can refer to it anytime when available in digital and paper formats. Employers might also want to address drinking during work events, such as the office picnic or the company holiday party, and include guidance about that in the company’s code of conduct.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the role of a supervisor is to monitor the daily work and conduct of employees on the job.

When it comes to alcoholism in the workplace, it says, “Your role is not to diagnose the alcohol problem but to exercise responsibility in dealing with the performance or conduct problem, hold the employee accountable, refer the employee to the EAP, and take any appropriate disciplinary action. Your role in dealing with alcoholism in the workplace is crucial.”

An employer can pursue several options to address an employee’s substance abuse. They can document the person’s work performance and note any changes. If unsatisfactory work performance continues to be an issue, employers can choose to address it informally or go on record and document it.

Referring the employee to an Employee Assistance Program or a healthcare professional who is trained to handle substance abuse disorders is also an option.

When it comes to an EAP referral, it is typically a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee,” says the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Employers generally focus on an employee’s job performance when issuing an EAP.

“Employers often provide information on EAP services to employees when there are performance issues or when the employee has disclosed to the employer that they are having difficulty dealing with personal issues,” writes SHRM.

Are You Struggling with Alcohol Abuse?

If you or someone you love is having trouble controlling their drinking or is abusing alcohol, call Arete Detox at 844-318-7500 today or contact us online to learn about recovery options from one of our specialists who can guide you to a new life of health, sobriety, and happiness.

Alcoholism and Depression: Understanding Comorbidity

Unless you struggle with an alcohol use disorder yourself, it can be almost impossible to understand the plight that addiction to alcohol actually is.

The same goes for people who struggle with depression or any other mental health condition.

It can be easy to speculate from an outsider’s perspective, but unless you are in the throes of these conditions, truly relating to the struggles they experience is infeasible. This is what can make treating alcoholism and depression extremely difficult. While these are two conditions on their own that are formidable in nature, combined, they can prove extremely hard to address.

What Is Comorbidity?

Comorbidity is the presence of one or more additional disease or disorders co-occurring with a primary disease or disorder. Essentially, it’s the combination of multiple disorders in tandem. This can spell disaster for an individual struggling with alcoholism and depression. Thanks to the combination of mental health disorders and an addiction disorder, both disorders must be treated for the patient to find relief. You cannot simply focus on one while ignoring the other. Some of the commonly seen mental health disorders that co-occur with addiction disorders are:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality Disorders

While many people may not be too familiar with the term “comorbidity”, many have heard of a “dual diagnosis” in relation to alcoholism and depression. Dual diagnosis is a popular term among addiction treatment. Many programs tout a superior approach to dual diagnosis treatment since it requires a specialized treatment approach as opposed to traditional drug or alcohol addiction treatment. In order to actually successfully treat alcoholism and depression, a full understanding of dual diagnosis is necessary.

What Does Dual Diagnosis Look Like?

Currently, in the United States alone, there are close to 21 million Americans suffering with substance addictions. Greater than the number of people who have cancer in all its forms combined, that works out to roughly 1 in every 10 people. Out of those 21 million, 7.9 million people are struggling with a dual diagnosis. This is clearly a massive issue among the substance abuse community. Having a comorbid disorder affects more than one-third of all addicts and alcoholics in the United States.

While, of course, alcoholism can cause subsequent depression as a result of the difficulties and negative outcomes that come hand in hand with alcoholism, alcoholism and depression as co-occurring disorders is a completely different situation. Alcoholism is naturally a depressant, a drug class that refers to substances that lower neurotransmission levels, which depresses or reduces arousal or stimulation in a variety of areas of the brain.

But if it is a true dual diagnosis, the signs and symptoms may look something like this:

  • Inability to maintain employment
  • Inability to maintain functional relationships
  • Legal problems
  • Financial issues
  • Extreme mood swings or inability to control their emotions

It is also worth noting that many times long before the addiction manifests, the depression or mood disorder will become apparent. Children and teens who have had struggles with depression are far more likely to struggle with drug and alcohol addiction later in life than those who have not. Also, women are twice as likely to start drinking heavily if they have a history of depression and are more likely to drink more than men when they’re depressed.

Treatment for Alcohol and Depression

If a comorbid alcohol and depression disorder exists, then treatment should be started sooner than later. Studies have shown the direct correlation between dual diagnosis and suicidal tendencies. Those who suffer from alcoholism and depression are more likely to think about suicide, and typically, alcohol use reduces the effectiveness of antidepressant medications.

Due to the dire nature of a dual diagnosis, professional intervention is necessary.

Proper treatment for alcohol and depression, or any other comorbid disorder, will include equal attention to both individual disorders as opposed to focusing solely on one or the other. Typically, care for a dual diagnosis will include:

  • Care by professionals trained in both addiction treatment and mental health disorders
  • Implementation of psychotherapeutic medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications
  • A supportive therapeutic approach that garners the patient’s self-esteem and confidence
  • A treatment plan that incorporates loved ones such as family, partners, and children into the therapy sessions

Treatment for alcohol and depression and other dual diagnoses that was sequential, or separate, led to a higher relapse rate for many patients. Reports have indicated that patients who received proper comorbid care saw higher success rates during the treatment process as well as in maintaining long-term recovery.

Struggling with A Dual Diagnosis?

Since the statistics regarding the number of addicts and alcoholics struggling with dual diagnosis are so high, it’s more than likely you or your loved one may be dealing with something more complicated than simply an addiction disorder. A comorbid disorder requires specialized attention and care coupled with an understanding atmosphere in order for the individual to find relief. That’s where Arete Recovery comes in.

At Arete Recovery, you’ll find yourself in the company of other people just like you struggling with a co-occurring disorder. Our staff is made up of highly trained professionals who are experts in successfully treating dual diagnosis cases. When you call, you’ll be connected to our knowledgeable addiction specialists who can get you the help you or a loved one may need. Upon arrival at the facility, you’ll undergo a preliminary assessment that will help our staff formulate an individualized treatment plan for you and your specific needs! No one needs to struggle with a comorbid disorder alone, call 844-318-7500 or contact us online anytime and start your journey to recovery now!

Can Alcoholism Cause Blindness?

The prohibition era had a deep impact on American society when it came to public perception of alcohol and alcohol addiction. Starting as a grassroots movement begun by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the push for prohibition saw the creation of thousands of flyers, slogans, and statistics. Many people supported an end to legal liquor because they saw it as the cause of poor public health, domestic violence, and political corruption around the turn of the century.

However, the campaigning led to the inception of some far-fetched folk wisdom. Alcohol was equated to being anti-family, against the troops and veterans, and pro-corruption. People even proclaimed statistics that children of beer drinkers were more likely to die in the first five years of life.

Alcohol was also assigned a host of adverse effects, some legitimate and some not. One 1904 report implicated “wood alcohol” as the cause for “a list of” deaths and blindness. However, is the familiar adage, “don’t drink too much or you’ll go blind,” a product of propaganda or does it hold water? There are some cases of blindness after drinking alcohol, even today. But what kind of alcohol can put your lights out and how much does it take?

Prohibition and Bootlegging

Today, despite legal restriction, opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose are at an all-time high. Likewise, the Prohibition between 1920 and 1933 didn’t stop people from drinking alcohol. Instead, wealthy individuals stocked up on spirits while it was still legal and some kept large enough supplies to get them through the 13 years with all the sauce they could want. Even the presidents at the time, Woodrow Wilson and Warren G. Harding, kept large stashes in the White House.

Tensions mounted between working class people and their bosses.

Illegal alcohol trafficking and selling grew as a black market industry and bootlegging became more common. Working class people would find back alley routes to booze. In fact, the government had over 7,000 cases of violations in the first six months of 1920. Bootleg alcohol was made in clandestine backroom breweries and makeshift home stills. Unfortunately, the crooked hooch wasn’t always distilled in the safest ways, which led to some extra adverse effects, including blindness.

The Rise of Moonshine

While alcohol on its own doesn’t cause blindness, some forms of moonshine can cause temporary or permanent blindness. Moonshine is a broad term that refers to high-proof distilled spirits that are produced illegally. It remained illegal to sell moonshine up until 2010 when it was redefined as clear, unaged, corn mash whiskey. However, during the Prohibition, moonshine grew in popularity, particularly in the hills of Appalachia. Immigrants from Ireland and Scotland settled in the Appalachian mountains and brought over a whiskey distilling practice that produced strong whiskey that they didn’t age.

Lower class Americans that were hurting for the hard stuff in the 1920s embraced the process that didn’t require a year or more of aging, so the moonshining spread. In fact, it came to bolster the economy of the region where it was difficult to trade crops because of a subpar network of mountain roads. Blackmarket whiskey was a lot more valuable in small, easy to transport packages than corn or other crops.

With moonshine whiskey growing as a cash crop and an entire country of working-class people looking for liquor, intrepid moonshiners started building stills and producing corn mash contraband as fast as they could.

The distillation process is relatively simple, and there isn’t much deviation from the recipe. Corn mash is boiled in a metal chamber, and the fumes make their way through a pipe into another chamber full of cold water. The heated vapors are quickly cooled which causes condensation that’s collected in a container, and that’s moonshine.

So if the process is simple and creates alcohol that does not inherently carry blindness as a risk, where does the side effect come from? The risk of blindness comes from unintended additives resulting from poorly constructed stills. During Prohibition, some would build stills out of repurposed parts. Repurposed automotive radiators were popular to use as condensers (the part of the pipe used for cooling and condensation). They were already designed to take the heat and cool down engines, why not fermentation fumes?

However, old radiators were often contaminated with antifreeze or even lead. At the end of the process, the collected alcohol would be contaminated with dangerous chemicals that, when ingested, can cause blindness.

Making Methanol Moonshine

In some cases, ethanol (drinking alcohol) isn’t the only chemical produced in the distillation process. During distillation, certain substances are extracted from the fermented mash through the boiling process. Different substances have different boiling points and ethanol’s is comparatively low, so it is extracted early and the rest is left behind. This produces higher proof alcohol than simple fermentation as with beer or wine. However, fermentation also produces another chemical in the alcohol family called methanol, which is toxic. However, normal fermentation doesn’t produce it in high amounts.

Methanol has a higher boiling point than ethanol, so it takes longer for it to turn into gas and make its way through the still. However, caustic moonshiners, looking to make their product a little more potent, might throw out the first drops of ethanol and wait for methanol to come tumbling out of the tube. Distilled and collected concentrated methanol can be present in moonshine in significant amounts that can cause damage to the optic nerve, leading to… you guessed it, blindness.

What is Perceptual Blindness?

General alcohol abuse can cause a type of blindness, albeit, not the kind that actually ruins your vision but, rather, your perception. Inattentional blindness, or perceptual blindness, is a psychological symptom that causes a lapse in attention. In other words, inattentional blindness is the failure to notice something that’s clear and in your field of vision. This happens commonly and you may have experienced it at some level once or twice in your life.

For instance, you may be looking for nutmeg in the spice section of your supermarket but unable to find it despite the fact that it’s in front of you the whole time. The overwhelming amount of stimuli in all the different types of spices may have caused an episode of perceptual blindness.

Studies show that alcohol has the effect of worsening your likelihood of experiencing inattentional blindness. This is one of the effects of alcohol that makes driving under the influence so dangerous. If you don’t notice a car in the lane next to you while you merge, alcohol-induced “blindness” will have caused an accident.

Help for Alcohol Abuse

If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol abuse, treatment is available that can lead to lasting recovery. Don’t be blind to the disease of alcoholism in your own life. Call Arete Detox today at 844-318-7500 or contact us online to learn more.