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The US has a binge drinking problem: A doctor talks hangovers and effects of alcohol consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption is a significant problem across the country, according to experts. Around 1 in 5 U.S. adults between 20 and 49 die from alcohol-related drinking issues.
Hangovers have a list of uncomfortable symptoms
Posted at 7:27 PM, Jul 06, 2024

The dreaded hangover has a list of uncomfortable — and downright painful at times — symptoms, along with a host of assumed cures.

The typical symptoms include low blood sugar, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, stomach irritation, disturbances with sleep and an inflammatory response in the body.

Dr. Jill Grimes, a family physician and expert on the health of college-age students says many of the rumored remedies — like eating greasy foods — are not going to help fix some of the underlying issues that alcohol consumption causes.

Dr. Grimes says to focus on re-hydrating the body and replenishing electrolytes first. As for food, try to go easy on your stomach and body by just working your way up from simple carbohydrates and fruits like bananas, to broths later on and then possibly more solid foods if you're really hungry.

But, the problem with binge drinking in the United States is significant and we don't have enough data to really know the true toll it is taking on the population.

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The American Addiction Centers says around 1 in 5 U.S. adults between the age of 20 and 49 die from causes related to excessive drinking. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says excessive drinking is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks during a single occasion for men, or 4 or more drinks for women.

Per week, that would equal about 15 or more drinks for men and 8 or more drinks for women. The CDC says any alcohol consumed by those under 21 or by women who are pregnant is considered excessive, and many college-aged students who drink are under 21.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the issue of binge drinking in the United States. The National Institutes of Health found that during the pandemic people dealt with months and years of stressors including disrupted lifestyles, economic hardships, shortages of food and supplies, mental health problems, illnesses and grief along with isolation.

Drinking became a popular way to deal with the stress.

Researchers said they've certainly seen higher levels of disease and death linked to alcohol use, calling it "pretty dramatic" in one NIH report.