alt=a woman with hangover-like symptoms places a pillow over her ear

The Perpetual Hangover

Last updated: August 2022

I am not a big drinker; I never have been. I drink socially on occasion, but I never felt the appeal to drink in excess. I just don’t enjoy the dizziness, body aches, brain fog, or pure agony the next day.

That said, I have had more than my fair share of alcohol and woken up the next morning with a pounding headache and the desire to sleep it off for the rest of my life. My trick for getting rid of the hangover is waking up, drinking a cup of warm water with an entire lemon squeezed in, chasing it down with two glasses of water, and sleeping for a couple of hours. I wake up feeling refreshed and like I never went out the night before.

A hangover without alcohol

I haven’t had a hangover in over 5 years, and I haven’t had a drink since the pandemic started, but I was rudely reminded of how it feels when I woke up the other day with a sinus headache, body pains, and the desire to sleep for the rest of the day. I dragged myself out of bed, ate a poached egg, downed my medications, and chased them down with a glass of water. I crawled back into bed and slept for another 4 hours. It was my summer break, so I didn’t have to be awake.

I got the overwhelming feeling of deja-vu.

I may not have had alcohol the night before, but the headache and energy levels were very similar.

Dehydration, fatigue, body aches, light sensitivity…

If this is how I felt once in a while, I wouldn’t mind. Unfortunately, RA is the perpetual hangover. Most mornings, I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck and the only thing I can do is take my meds and hope they kick in quickly. I always feel like I’ve drunk a little too much the night before: from the body heaviness to the sensitivity to light, the difficulty of getting my body out of bed, and the pounding in my joints. Then, of course, there is the dehydration and the dry eyes, the lag from the brain to body, and the feeling of just wanting it all to go away with the promise of never drinking again.

I take care of my body, but my body doesn’t always take care of me

I may make the promise to my liver and digestive track to never drink again, but unfortunately, my body does not afford me the same respect. It does not make the promise that my RA will be controlled and that I will feel well each morning I wake up. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

The cure-less, perpetual RA hangover

Who knows? Maybe I’m being a little unfair on RA? I don’t just get that hangover feeling from symptoms. I also get it from medications. Methotrexate (MTX), I see you. The morning after I take my MTX injection, I get that same brain fog and lethargy. Prednisone, you too. You make me feel slow like I am carrying an extra 30 pounds on my body. It’s not all RA’s fault…Actually, yes, it is because I wouldn’t be on these medications if it weren’t for this horrid autoimmune disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes a perpetual hangover; no amount of lemon juice, water, tomato, or hot sauce can cure it.

And now I’m curious. What is your go-to hangover cure, and what are the most ridiculous “cures” you’ve heard for RA? Let me know in the comments!

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