Hangover Shakes: Why They Happen and When to Worry

Unveiling the causes and treatments for hangover shakes. Conquer the morning after with hydration and expert advice.

Hangover Shakes: Causes and Treatments

Experiencing hangover shakes can be a distressing aftermath of a night of heavy drinking. These shaking or trembling sensations are often accompanied by other unpleasant symptoms. Understanding the causes and treatments of hangover shakes is essential for alleviating discomfort and promoting recovery.

Understanding Hangover Shakes

Hangover shakes, also known as alcohol tremors or alcohol shakes, refer to the involuntary trembling or shivering of the body that can occur after excessive alcohol consumption. These shakes typically manifest as shaky hands, quivering limbs, or a general feeling of tremors throughout the body. The severity and duration of hangover shakes can vary from person to person.

Common Symptoms of Hangover Shakes

In addition to the physical trembling, hangover shakes may be accompanied by other symptoms that are characteristic of a hangover. These can include:

  • Headache: A pounding or throbbing sensation in the head is a common hangover symptom.
  • Nausea: Feelings of queasiness or an upset stomach may be present, contributing to discomfort.
  • Fatigue: Hangovers often leave individuals feeling drained and lacking energy.
  • Sensitivity to light and sound: Increased sensitivity to light and sound can be experienced during a hangover.
  • Thirst: Dehydration is a common consequence of excessive alcohol consumption, leading to feelings of thirst.

By identifying and understanding the symptoms associated with hangover shakes, individuals can better comprehend the overall experience and seek appropriate treatment strategies.

In the following sections, we will explore the causes of hangover shakes and provide insights into effective treatment approaches to alleviate the discomfort.

Causes of Hangover Shakes

Hangover shakes, also known as tremors, are a common symptom experienced by individuals who have indulged in excessive alcohol consumption. These shakes can be distressing and uncomfortable. While the exact cause of hangover shakes is not fully understood, several factors are believed to contribute to their occurrence. The primary causes of hangover shakes include alcohol-induced dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and alcohol withdrawal.

Alcohol-Induced Dehydration

Dehydration is a significant factor contributing to the development of hangover shakes. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases urine production and leads to excessive fluid loss. This fluid loss can result in dehydration, causing the body to lose essential electrolytes and minerals. Dehydration affects the normal functioning of the muscles and nerves, potentially leading to shaky movements.

To combat alcohol-induced dehydration and reduce the likelihood of experiencing hangover shakes, it is crucial to maintain proper hydration. Drinking water or non-alcoholic beverages between alcoholic drinks can help replenish lost fluids.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium, play a vital role in regulating muscle and nerve function. Excessive alcohol consumption can disrupt the balance of electrolytes in the body, leading to an electrolyte imbalance. This disturbance in electrolyte levels can contribute to the development of hangover shakes.

Consuming electrolyte-rich foods and beverages, such as sports drinks or coconut water, can help restore electrolyte balance and alleviate hangover symptoms. It is important to note that excessive electrolyte intake should be avoided, as it can have adverse effects on the body. Maintaining a balanced diet that includes foods rich in electrolytes can also support overall health and well-being.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Hangover shakes can also be a result of alcohol withdrawal. When the body becomes dependent on alcohol, sudden cessation or a significant reduction in alcohol consumption can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including tremors. These shakes are typically more severe and can be a sign of alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder.

If you experience severe shakes or other withdrawal symptoms when attempting to reduce or stop alcohol consumption, it is important to seek medical attention. Consulting a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or addiction specialist, can provide guidance and support in managing alcohol withdrawal safely.

Understanding the causes of hangover shakes is essential in managing and preventing this uncomfortable symptom. By addressing alcohol-induced dehydration, maintaining electrolyte balance, and seeking appropriate help for alcohol withdrawal, individuals can take steps to minimize the likelihood and severity of hangover shakes. Remember to always drink responsibly and be mindful of your alcohol consumption to promote overall well-being.

Treating Hangover Shakes

Hangover shakes can be an uncomfortable and alarming symptom experienced after a night of heavy drinking. While they can vary in severity and duration, there are several effective ways to alleviate and treat these shakes. Here are some strategies to consider:

Rehydration and Fluid Intake

One of the primary causes of hangover shakes is alcohol-induced dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production and leads to fluid loss. Replenishing lost fluids by drinking water or electrolyte-rich beverages can help alleviate the shakes.

Hydration strategies such as drinking water before, during, and after alcohol consumption can help prevent dehydration and reduce the severity of hangover symptoms. It's important to note that beverages with electrolytes, such as sports drinks or coconut water, can be especially beneficial in restoring the body's electrolyte balance.

Rest and Sleep

Resting and getting sufficient sleep can significantly aid in the recovery process. When experiencing hangover shakes, it's essential to give your body the time it needs to recuperate. Fatigue and lack of sleep can exacerbate the shakes, so try to prioritize rest and allow your body to recover naturally. If possible, take short naps or engage in relaxing activities to promote better sleep.

Nutritional Support and Balanced Diet

Providing your body with nutritional support through a balanced diet can play a significant role in treating hangover shakes. Consuming nutrient-rich foods can help replenish depleted vitamins and minerals, promoting overall well-being.

Focus on incorporating foods that are high in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, to help combat oxidative stress caused by alcohol consumption. Additionally, consuming foods rich in B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium can aid in replenishing nutrients that may have been depleted during alcohol metabolism.

Consider incorporating the following nutrient-rich foods into your post-drinking meals:

  • Leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale)
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Lean proteins (chicken, fish, tofu)

A balanced diet can help support your body's recovery process and minimize the severity of hangover symptoms.

By focusing on rehydration, rest, and proper nutrition, you can effectively treat hangover shakes and facilitate your body's recovery. It's important to remember that moderation and responsible drinking are the best ways to prevent hangover symptoms altogether. However, if you find yourself experiencing severe or persistent shakes, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying health conditions.

Preventing Hangover Shakes

When it comes to preventing hangover shakes, taking proactive measures before and during alcohol consumption can make a significant difference. By adopting moderation, practicing responsible drinking, and implementing hydration strategies, you can minimize the chances of experiencing debilitating hangover shakes.

Moderation and Responsible Drinking

The key to preventing hangover shakes starts with moderation and responsible drinking. Pace yourself and avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as this can lead to more severe hangover symptoms, including shakes. Set a limit for the number of drinks you'll have and stick to it. Remember, everyone's tolerance to alcohol varies, so it's important to know your limits.

Hydration Strategies

Staying hydrated is crucial in reducing the likelihood of hangover shakes. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases urine production and can lead to dehydration. To stay hydrated and minimize the severity of shakes, drink water between alcoholic beverages. This helps to maintain a healthy fluid balance and replenish the body's water stores. For every alcoholic drink consumed, aim to drink an equal amount of water.

It's also beneficial to consume electrolyte-rich fluids such as sports drinks or coconut water. Electrolytes help replenish the essential minerals lost due to alcohol's diuretic effect. By replenishing electrolytes, you can help maintain proper muscle and nerve function, reducing the chances of experiencing severe shakes.

Eating Before and During Alcohol Consumption

Another effective strategy for preventing hangover shakes is to eat before and during alcohol consumption. Consuming a balanced meal before drinking can help slow down alcohol absorption, reducing its impact on your body. Opt for a meal that includes carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein to provide sustained energy and help minimize alcohol's effects.

Additionally, snacking on nutritious foods while drinking can help counteract the effects of alcohol on the body. Choose snacks that are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts. These foods provide essential nutrients that support the body's natural detoxification processes and help minimize the severity of hangover symptoms, including shakes.

By practicing moderation, staying hydrated, and nourishing your body with healthy foods, you can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of hangover shakes. Remember, everyone's body reacts differently to alcohol, so it's essential to pay attention to your own limits and take steps to prioritize your well-being.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While hangover shakes are usually temporary and subside on their own, there are certain situations where seeking medical attention is necessary. It's important to be aware of the signs of severe shakes, underlying health conditions, and the importance of consulting a healthcare professional when dealing with persistent or concerning symptoms.

Signs of Severe Shakes

In some cases, hangover shakes may become severe and interfere with daily functioning. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention:

  • Intense and uncontrollable shaking: When the shakes become so severe that they impair your ability to hold objects or perform regular tasks, it's important to consult a healthcare professional.
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing: If the shakes are accompanied by difficulty speaking or swallowing, it could indicate a more serious underlying issue.
  • Loss of consciousness or seizures: If you lose consciousness or experience seizures along with the shakes, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention.

These signs may indicate more than just a hangover and could be a result of other underlying health conditions.

Underlying Health Conditions

While hangover shakes are primarily caused by alcohol consumption, it's important to recognize that persistent or recurring shakes may be a sign of an underlying health condition. Some conditions that can cause or contribute to shakes include:

  • Alcohol withdrawal: If you experience shakes when attempting to quit or reduce alcohol consumption, it may be a sign of alcohol withdrawal. This condition requires medical attention to manage withdrawal symptoms safely.
  • Anxiety disorders: Anxiety can exacerbate hangover symptoms, including shakes. If you suspect that anxiety plays a significant role in your hangover shakes, it may be beneficial to seek guidance from a healthcare professional who specializes in mental health.
  • Neurological disorders: In rare cases, persistent or recurring shakes may be a symptom of an underlying neurological condition. If you have concerns about your symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional to rule out any serious conditions.

The Importance of Consulting a Healthcare Professional

If you experience persistent or severe hangover shakes, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional. They will be able to evaluate your symptoms, provide a proper diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatment options. A healthcare professional can also help rule out any underlying health conditions that may be contributing to the shakes.

Remember, it's always better to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention when in doubt. Prioritizing your health and well-being is essential, and a healthcare professional can provide the guidance and support needed to address your concerns effectively.


Hangover shakes can be a real pain in the neck, but fortunately, there are several effective treatments to alleviate them. One of the most popular remedies is to drink plenty of water and electrolyte-rich fluids. Another great strategy is to get some rest and sleep. And don't forget to nourish your body with healthy foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. By following these tips, you can minimize the severity of hangover shakes and promote overall well-being.


Lacey has worked for over a decade as a writer, in conjunction with having worked around the world in poor social and economic living conditions to provide sustainability programs through numerous non-profits. Her efforts focus on making a difference in people's lives one small step at a time.