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Major Headache/Hangover after 1 or 2 drinks?!

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Old 03-04-2012, 03:37 PM   #1
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Location: Brentwood, TN, United States
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Major Headache/Hangover after 1 or 2 drinks?!

My question I would like to get answers to is, why is that after I drink 1 or two drinks I wake up the next morning feeling like I drank 12?

Medical History:
Before you start to answer the question there are a few things you should know, that may play a role with this. I am not for sure if this plays a role with it, but I feel like its a 90% possiblity. When I was 18 (2006), I began drinking heavily(pretty much every day). My drink of choice was usually hard liquor, and it wasn't unusual for me to drink til I blacked out or felt really sick. When I first started drinking I didn't used to get hangovers, but the more my tolerance went up the more I drank and the more hangovers I got. They also got so bad to the point that they would last all day. Drinking water was pretty much impossible, it would make me feel extremely worse. The only thing that would help was drinking more alcohol and energy drinks.

I continued to drink like this until I was 22 (2010), because I woke up one morning after I hadn't drank the day before with a horrible hangover like feeling. So like usual I would get more alcohol and energy drinks to try and even out the horrible feeling. This happened for about a week(granted I had been drinking to try and get rid of the hangover feeling, I was not drinking enough to make me feel that bad the next day), after I figured it wasn't helping I quit drinking all together. The hungover feeling continued to happen along with horrible anxiety and migraines. My anxiety got so bad that I began having panic attacks and I was terrified to leave my house. There were many other symptoms, but these were the major one's that affected me the most. I started reaching out to doctors at this point and was prescribed Xanax, Wellbutrin and about 15 different herbal remedies from a holistic wellness doctor after having tons of bloodwork and tests done. I was told that I should pretty much just be on bed rest. I had to take a break from my life for about a year. Throughout that year I never found out a specific cause to why this was happening to me. I had seen pretty much every kind of doctor, had multiple CT scans and MRI's.

After about a year of feeling this way, I was so completely frustrated with my health and emotional state and the toll it was taking on my life, that one day just up and quit taking everything except for the Xanax and tension headache medication (Butalbital). I felt much better after a week! It was the strangest thing, but I am so thankful! I still felt bad, but I finally got the courage up to try and start going back to school and doing things on my own.

Anyways, I continue to take the Xanax, Butalbital and Vitamin D, but have still not recovered 100%. I can at least do most normal things adults are expected to do though. I drink very, very, very occasional, and never again will touch hard liquor. I prefer a glass or 2 of wine, or a couple of beers. When I first tried to drink again it was a little less than a year ago and I made sure to drink plenty of water with a drink or two and I seemed to wake up almost fine the next day. Now, I drink one or two drinks and I wake up feeling miserable. I asked my neurologist if she knew why this may be happening, she told me that people who get headaches and migraines on a regular basis may not be able to handle as much as alcohol as those without them. (Sorry this is ridiculously long!)

I am just wondering if there is anyone else out there that has this problem as well and can help? By no means do I ever want to go back to drinking anywhere close to what I used to, but I would like to be able to enjoy it like any other normal person.

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Old 03-05-2012, 08:53 AM   #2
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Re: Major Headache/Hangover after 1 or 2 drinks?!

Due to my medications I had to face the fact of not drinking anymore about 18 years ago. Really it is not that bad and you can be like everybody else but you may need a change of friends.

I realize that this is not what you want to hear but it is a fact of life for many migrainers.

Old 03-05-2012, 06:31 PM   #3
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Re: Major Headache/Hangover after 1 or 2 drinks?!

Although the most common one seems to be red wine, it seems that ANY alcohol can be a migraine trigger (or cause other headaches) for others. I've noticed that over the years, my headaches/migraines are caused by different things. I am much more sensitive to certain things these days and then better about others. I wonder if your body just does not react well to ANY amount of alcohol right now. I do know that wine or champagne tends to bother me a little more, so I try to stick to only certain kinds (I don't drink red but even white zinfandel does it for me, so none of that). I hope that this doesn't continue for you forever. I'm not sure if your past might have to do with some of it, but I would keep that as a possibility in your mind. The only other thing I could think of would be to try some of the common hangover remedies to see if they help you in any way. My brother makes ginger tea and swears by it, but I've never had it myself. I'm just not sure if these only help "typical" hangovers from having a lot to drink.

Like tingles, I have found many ways to adjust. A lot of it is trial and error. I've completely given up certain things (like chocolate) and actually found it to not be as hard as I thought. If drinking did it for me, I would definitely give it up for a while as well. I notice that you mentioned both wine and beer and no hard liquor. I've noticed that many times beer actually gives me headaches and like I mentioned earlier, some wines do and others I have to be careful with. I haven't heard of many people who will get a headache just after one beer like me, but I supposed it's very much a possibility.

So glad to hear that things are getting more normal for you!

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