It’s not uncommon to wake up with a hangover after a night of drinking. But if you wake up with a pounding headache, nausea, and feelings of dehydration — despite never having a drop of alcohol the night before — another medical issue may be to blame. Yep, it's possible to feel hungover without drinking, largely because hangover symptoms are common in a lot of other conditions.
What happens to your body when you're hungover is a bit complicated. You could experience anything from nausea, because of how alcohol triggers your empty stomach lining, to headaches caused by dehydration, to anxiety from a chemical compound your body produces called acetaldehyde. But without alcohol in the mix, sometimes these symptoms still happen. Think about the headache and brain fog you get the day after you haven't really slept, or that upset-tummy feeling from eating a questionable piece of cheese.
“Common hangover symptoms include general symptoms such as fatigue, thirst, and aches; and more specific symptoms such as headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and irritability,” physician Dr. Beth Ricanati, M.D. tells Bustle. If you feel like this despite abstaining from alcohol, it’ll be worth it to do some investigating to figure out why you feel bad.
“There are some common conditions that can mimic a hangover feeling, but are actually worth consulting your physician about as they may need more medical attention,” Ricanati says. Others should go away with time — just like a hangover. Read on below for the 13 most common reasons why you feel hungover if you didn’t drink.
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