General Health

WHAT ARE CONGENERS? The Science Behind The Hangover Sickness

Drinks are an important feature of social gatherings. People often refer to alcohol as the spice of the party, which gets the zeal to dance out of naturally conservative people. But when should you stop drinking? What happens when you have too many drinks? Hangover! Do you know what hangover truly is? In this article, we will discuss the science behind hangover, and for the love of rum what are congeners?


When you have too many drinks or rather a heavy bout of drinking, the sign, and symptoms, such as headache, thirst, and stomach upset, that you get are hangovers. In essence, a hangover is the collection of unpleasant signs and symptoms that develops after having too much alcohol. Hangover also has a way of filtering through your social behavior, affecting your work efficiency and increasing aggression.


In a bid to avoid a hangover, your alcohol level, cannot be exactly measured. It has been observed, however, that the severity of a hangover is related to how much alcohol was taken. In the same vein, hangovers are more likely to be evident in the morning after that party night, game night, night out, or just night.


However terrible the hangover is, hangovers often go away on their own. Hangovers can alter the strength of your body defense system, the immune system, making your body susceptible to health break down. Hangovers last for a few hours to 24 hours. Drinking responsibly is the safest way to avoid future hangovers.



Symptoms of Hangover

The severity of a hangover is highly dependent on the individual, their level of hydration before drinking, hydration during drinking, how tired they were before drinking, and how much sleep they got after drinking.


A hangover is the drastic significant decrease in blood alcohol level to minimal or zero, usually in effect the morning after downing alcohol heavily. Depending on what you drank and how much, the symptoms include:

  • Weakness and Fatigue
  • Headaches and muscle aches
  • Nausea, vomiting and stomach pain
  • Heartburn
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite and poor sleep
  • High sensitivity to light and sound
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Shakiness
  • Mood alteration, such as irritability, depression, and anxiety
  • Dizziness

Complications of hangover

Because the body reacts to internal and external stimuli in dynamic ways, it is possible that the sufferer experience more severe signs and symptoms. This may be stimulated by alcohol poisoning, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning may include but not limited to:

  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Slow breathing
  • Pale skin
  • Blue tinged skin
  • Passing out
  • Low body temperature
  • Memory loss
  • Lack of concentration
  • Dexterity



Alcohol consumption can affect your performance at work or school, risking your job or academics. The problems may include:

  • Conflict with colleagues
  • Falling asleep at work or school
  • Injuries at work
  • Absenteeism
  • Lack of concentration and trouble completing tasks.


When To See a Doctor

A frequent hangover is enough reason to talk to your doctor. The severity of the hangover and its frequency can affect the quality of life. In the same vein, too, in case of alcohol poisoning, an unconscious person is at the risk of dying, and medical attention should be sought immediately.  One may also lookup ways to cure a hangover

Factors Contributing to Hangover

Various factors are contributing to a hangover in different people. For some, a glass of wine is enough to trigger a morning after full of disturbing signs, while others can have stronger and heavier drinks and still escape a hangover.


Factors include:

  • Dehydration: Drinking alcohol will cause your body to produce more waste, urine. Urination then causes dehydration in the body, which can further cause dizziness, excessive thirst, and lightheadedness.
  • Expansion of the Blood Vessels: Blood vessels tend to expand when alcohol is downed, and this leads to headaches, which can sometimes trigger a fever, breaking down the immune system.
  • Hypoglycemia: As a result of dehydration, blood sugar level, glycemia may deplete. If the sugar level of a body depletes, the body begins to experience excessive shaking, mood swings, fatigue, brain malfunction, and seizures.
  • Stomach Irritation: Because of the harsh nature of alcohol, the stomach increases the production of stomach acid and causes increased gas in the stomach, delaying stomach emptying. This can lead to vomiting, stomach pain, and nausea.
  • Sleepiness: As expected, alcohol can induce shallow sleep, preventing deep sleep and causing a frequent awakening in the middle of the night. This is why most people wake tired and spent.

What are Congeners?

Congeners are one of the ingredients found in alcoholic beverages; they give the beverages their exquisite flavor and are a major contributor to hangovers. Vodkas and gin, clear alcoholic drinks, contain congeners in smaller quantities as compared to brandy and bourbon, darker beverages which contain congeners in larger quantities. Congeners are a key factor in hangovers, increasing the severity of the hangover irrespective of the color of the drink.

Generally, anyone can have a hangover. However, generic variation influences the way alcohol is metabolized in the body, hence, causing a difference in the severity of hangover and other complications of alcohol consumption.

A few other factors are influencing the effect of congeners in the body:

  • Using hard drugs like Nicotine while drinking: Smoking and drinking are not a very good combination. They tend to, in agreement, cause havoc in the sufferer’s body the morning after.
  • Alcohol is absorbed speedily when there is no food in the stomach. It causes a kind of misery the sufferer might not like. Imagine being nauseated without having anything in the stomach.
  • Drinking darker colored liquors are another major contributor. They contain a high volume of congeners and edges towards causing a crazy hangover.
  • Family history: Having a history of alcoholism in the family is enough reason why you should not drink at all. This history may suggest the reasons why you are sensitive to alcohol or why you have hangovers.


  • Know your limit and drink responsibly.
  • Know when to stop drinking.
  • Eat before you drink and while drinking.
  • Drink water at intervals while drinking.
  • Sip your drink slowly.
  • Choose your drink wisely.




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