Sober living

The effects of dehydration, moderate alcohol consumption, and rehydration on cognitive functions

Here are some of the most common reasons why you may feel excessively tired when you’re trying to get sober. These can include hallucinations, severe agitation, seizures (often peaking around 24 hours), and symptoms of delirium tremens (DTs) which can occur in the most severe cases. This can include severe hallucinations and delusions, extreme confusion, and fever.

Dehydration happens when you lose too much water and body salts (electrolytes), such as sodium and potassium. A small amount of caffeine may not be an issue for most people, though increasing caffeinated beverages may contribute to overall caffeine intake. The body may tolerate a moderate intake of beer without experiencing dehydration. While drinking extra liquids may generally lead to more frequent urination, a diuretic liquid such as alcohol will encourage the body to expel even more liquid.

How does dehydration develop?

Read more about the short and long-term effects of alcohol. Dehydration or lack of fluids can cause constipation to occur. Without enough fluid, stools can become hard and lumpy, which makes them more difficult to pass. Consuming alcohol can lead some people to develop digestive issues, including constipation. Heavy alcohol use also affects circadian rhythms, disturbing sleep so that you’re not getting a satisfying night’s rest.

  • Consuming alcohol leads to dehydration and can affect several systems and functions in the body.
  • A diuretic is a substance that causes the body to produce more urine.
  • We don’t realize that there is often an earnest desire for joy or relief behind each pour.
  • Hypertonic dehydration is when you lose more water than sodium, as might happen with age-related thirst impairment.
  • Dehydration is also a big part of why you get a hangover after drinking too much.

When you’re addicted to a substance, your body has come to rely on that substance being present for normal function. For example, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means it slows your heart rate, respiratory rate, and brain activity, and it can also lower your blood pressure. This is why some people who drink alcohol experience feelings of calmness, relaxation, or sleepiness. In addition, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can also cause vomiting, which depletes the body of fluids and can cause further dehydration. The effects of alcohol vary from person to person, but in general, the less a person weighs the less alcohol it takes to cause dehydration or vomiting. Chronic dehydration is when you don’t get enough fluids to meet your needs over a long period.


Hydration is the process of ensuring the body has enough water. Drinks that may result in dehydration can include alcoholic, caffeinated, and sugary beverages. Although many remedies for alleviating hangovers are mentioned on the web and in social media, none have been scientifically proven to be effective. There is no magic potion for beating hangovers—and only time can help. A person must wait for the body to finish clearing the toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism, to rehydrate, to heal irritated tissue, and to restore immune and brain activity to normal.

  • Heavy, long-term alcohol use takes a toll on the liver, and liver damage is one of the most common long-term effects of alcoholism.
  • A blood test can also check your body’s level of creatinine.
  • Hangovers happen the next day after you drink a high amount of alcohol.
  • Worse yet, daytime sleepiness from a combination of alcohol consumption and sleep apnea reportedly raises the chances of being involved in a fatigue-related car accident.
  • One of the most common factors is drinking alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • In other words, try to drink as much water as possible because the normal retention rate is not going to be what the body’s used to.

Experts believe that too much sugar may make dehydration and other symptoms worse. This is likely because of the interaction of sugar does alcohol dehydrate you and water within the cells. Higher sugar intake causes the cells in the body to transfer more water and increase urination.

Alcohol and your body: What happens

It also discusses how to avoid the downsides of working out after drinking alcohol. Hypertonic dehydration is when you lose more water than sodium, as might happen with age-related thirst impairment. Hypotonic dehydration is when you lose more sodium than water, which can happen as a result of major burns or using diuretics. Isotonic dehydration is when you lose the same amount of water and sodium, as can occur when you have diarrhea. When a person has very high blood sugar, their body may borrow water from other areas to balance out the volume in the cells. Higher blood sugar may also cause the body to urinate more to get rid of this excess sugar, which can influence dehydration.

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