Headache and Weakness Four Days After Drinking

Patient

Q: I was hospitalized four days ago for consuming too much alcohol. Four days later, I still have a constant headache and feel very weak, especially in my legs. I read that hangover symptoms last up to 72 hours, so I am concerned that the symptoms are still present.

Symptoms:  Weakness, headache
Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. There is no specific timeline as to who long the symptoms of excessive drinking will last but in general the symptoms of a 'hangover' could last anywhere from 3-7 days after ingestion of excessive amounts of alcohol. Alcohol is metabolized to a toxic substance called acetaldehyde within the body, which results in feelings of inebriation, stupor, nausea, and subsequent weakness headache and fatigue. Furthermore, alcohol can cause disruption in the electrolyte balance of the body exacerbating these symptoms. We recommend continue to monitor your symptoms for signs of improvement as well as rehydrate yourself with copious amounts of water and electrolyte fortified sports drinks. To assist in the treatment of your headache you can take some oral analgesic medication such as acetaminophen as needed not exceeding the daily recommended dosage and provided you do not have any allergies to this medication.

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