What Happens When You Drink Alcohol and How Does a Hangover Occur?

Do you frequently wake up with a day-ruining hangover?

It's not uncommon if you're a person of a certain age (your twenties) to be living life to its "fullest", but as you age into your thirties, those hangovers start to make you question the value of a good night out.

So, what exactly happens to your body when you drink too much? And, what's going on when you get a crushing hangover?

In this article, we'll address both of these questions and try to provide some insight into how you can enjoy yourself and mitigate the effects of drinking.

If you want to know what happens when you drink alcohol, you've come to the right place. Let's get started.

What Happens When You Drink Alcohol?

Let's start by first stating that alcohol is a drug. It's a fun and legal drug, but it's a drug nonetheless. When you have a drink, it's absorbed rapidly into your bloodstream and dispersed throughout different parts of your body.

The Journey of Alcohol

A small amount of the alcohol is absorbed into the tiny blood vessels in your mouth and tongue. When you swallow, the rest of it heads down to your stomach.

About 20% of the alcohol enters your bloodstream upon arrival in the stomach, depending on how much you've eaten. An empty stomach will allow the alcohol to flow freely into the intestines. The rest (75-85%) of the alcohol is absorbed through the small intestine into your blood. Now, you're drunk!

Your Liver Is Your Friend

Once in the blood, the alcohol is able to move throughout the body, having adverse effects on ALL of you. When it arrives at the liver, your blood-filtering organ, it's broken down by 80-90% and turned into water, CO2, and calories.

Your liver
can only break down alcohol at a rate of one drink per hour, which is where the problem lies with most of us. Similarly, when the alcohol arrives at your kidneys, a liquid-balancing organ, it makes it work several times harder. This is the root of having to pee often when you're drinking.

Your Brain Is Going to Hate You

The alcohol will also travel through your blood into your brain. In 5-10 minutes, you begin feeling the effects of alcohol, aka "being drunk". Mood changes, impaired decision-making, coordination, and memory loss result.

Some of the alcohol will absorb into the blood vessels underneath the skin and into your lungs, where up to 8% of it exits via your breath.

So, that's where the alcohol goes when you have a drink. It's mostly broken down by your liver and the rest exits through your breath, your urine, and out of your pores.

How quickly you feel the effects of alcohol depends largely on how much you've eaten and your physical size. A person that weighs 130 pounds and hasn't eaten since breakfast is going to feel that happy hour drink a lot faster than the 200-pound person that just ate a cheeseburger.

Let's now discuss how your body reacts after prolonged drinking stints.

Hangovers: What's Going On In There?

So, you don't remember how many drinks you had last night but you feel like your head is going to cave in on itself and your stomach feels as though you were run over by a truck? You've got a hangover.

Hangovers are awful because they steal time from you. If you've ever had to spend an entire day in bed, you know what this means. The worst part of it is that you've got no one to blame but yourself. The 8 whiskey sodas weren't your friend after all.

There's a pretty basic cause and effect situation with consuming alcohol and the resulting hangover. In this section, we'll go over what you're experiencing in different parts of your body that cause those horrible sensations.

A Chemical Imbalance...

When you drink to excess, you're dehydrating your body. Your body is mostly made up of water which, when the alcohol hits your kidneys and makes them work harder, you're dispelling too much of.

What results is insatiable thirst, weakness, dry mouth, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Drink lots and lots of water to fight these symptoms off.

Stomach Pains

The alcohol irritates the stomach lining and intestines, causing inflammation. This coupled with the gastric acid and pancreatic secretions that alcohol causes, results in vomiting, nausea, and other abdominal pain.

Withdrawal Symptoms

As we've stated, alcohol is a drug, and a big part of a hangover is alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Studies have shown that hangovers have similar results to the effects of withdrawal symptoms in addicts.

Drinking a lot depresses the central nervous system. When you suddenly stop drinking at the end of the night, it goes into a state of hyperactivity. This is felt through rapid heartbeats and tremors.


Alcohol widens blood vessels, which often leads to severe headaches. The expansion and contraction of blood vessels will almost always lead to pain. Dehydration can also be at the root of a hangover headache.

Blood Sugar

Drinking excessively will slow glucose production in your body, causing the glucose reserves in your liver to deplete. Glucose is the main energy source for your brain, so glucose deficiency can result in fatigue, weakness, and irritability.

Sleep Deprivation

Lastly, when you're extremely tired during a bad hangover, that's because alcohol-induced sleep is low-quality and shorter than normal sleep. Your biological rhythms are completely thrown off and you're experiencing similar effects to jet lag.

Make It Stop!

If you need something to break down the many toxins littering your body during a hangover, look no further than Shot X. It contains curcumin, a turmeric extract that rapidly fights toxins. It also contains electrolytes and amino acids, which also help your body recover at a much faster pace.

The best hangover cure is a preventative measure called "abstinence", but where's the fun in that?

Check out our products page to order Shot X today, and for more articles on the health benefits of turmeric and how it can help you battle your hangover, visit our blog.

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