What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Beyond Hangovers: Understanding Alcohol’s Impact on Your Health
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
Drinking in moderation can have certain health benefits, but if you overdo it, you can experience some unpleasant effects, including dizziness. There are two main causes of dizziness after drinking: the immediate effects of alcohol on your brain, and the aftereffects the next day, which can cause dizziness from dehydration and low blood sugar. Getting rid of the dizziness depends on the cause of the problem.
Alcohol's Direct Effects
Many people know that alcohol affects the brain -- for example, if you drink to excess, sometimes you can't remember everything that happened during that time. The portion of your brain responsible for balance, the cerebellum, is also affected when you drink alcohol to excess. These effects can include problems in judging heights or distances -- for instance, you might fall off a curb -- as well as problems with coordination and feeling dizzy. The way to get rid of this kind of dizziness is to wait it out until your body finishes metabolizing the alcohol -- preferably someplace where you are safe from potential injury and don't need to move around a lot.
Alcohol temporarily suppresses the body's production of anti-diuretic hormone, or ADH, which causes the kidneys to make more urine than they usually would, sometimes even to the point that, by the next day, you've become dehydrated. You may then experience many associated symptoms, including dizziness, especially if you stand up quickly from a seated position. The key to getting rid of this type of dizziness is to keep yourself well-hydrated. Drinking water is a good way to replenish lost fluids, as is drinking clear broth, which has the added bonus of restoring some lost electrolytes.
Low Blood Sugar
Alcohol is a type of carbohydrate, and if you take in a lot of carbohydrate all at once, your body produces a lot of insulin to move it out of your bloodstream and into your cells 1. Oftentimes, your body overdoes it on the insulin, so much so that your blood sugar gets a bit low the next day, resulting in some of the familiar hangover symptoms of fatigue, shakiness, hunger and dizziness. To bring your blood sugar back into balance without starting the high-carb-high-insulin cycle all over again, eat a balanced meal that includes protein, fats and complex carbs -- but no sugar or alcohol. That should help the dizziness pass.
Prevention Is Key
Regardless of the specific cause of your alcohol-related dizziness, you can most likely prevent it in one way: by avoiding drinking alcohol to excess. Moderate drinking -- that is, about two drinks per day for men, and about one drink for women -- has been linked to a lower risk of developing heart disease. Drinking to the point that you're dizzy, however, is a sign that you've had too much to drink; long-term overindulging is linked to many health risks, from liver disease to accidental death to fetal alcohol syndrome. If you are concerned about the amount you're drinking or its effects on you or a loved one, ask a doctor for advice.
- nebari/iStock/Getty Images