Dehydration From Alcohol: 5 Tips to Prevent and Treat It

In this, we describe how alcohol dehydrates the body and provide tips on how to counteract dehydration due to alcohol consumption. We also outline some additional causes of dehydration. Having a few drinks can be fun, but feeling dehydrated or hungover is not. It’s up to you to decide if the pleasures of alcohol are worth the potential next-day effects. Darker colored drinks often contain a high volume of congeners and may be more likely to produce a hangover.

Does drinking alcohol dehydrate the body?

One of the main causes of a hangover is dehydration, and drinking alcohol dehydrates you faster thanks to its diuretic effects. When your body senses that you're getting dehydrated in general, it produces a hormone called Vasopressin which reduces the need to urinate.

If you don’t drink enough water with alcohol, you can become dehydrated quickly. Decide ahead of time how many drinks you’ll have — and stick to it. Having close relatives with a history of alcoholism may suggest an inherited problem with the way your body processes alcohol. Having no food in your stomach speeds the body’s absorption of alcohol. Rice University, highly caffeinated beverages mixed with endurance exercise can lead to dehydration and cramping. Alcohol can lead to a body-water deficit, and knowing how it affects your hydration status is essential for controlling how much and how often you have it.

The effects of dehydration, moderate alcohol consumption, and rehydration on cognitive functions

Whether you’re mixing margaritas by the pool or throwing down shots with your fraternity brothers , protect yourself from alcohol’s side effects by drinking plenty of water. Drinking plenty of water while you’re drinking alcohol not only protects you against sunburn but also helps you avoid waking up to a terrible hangover. Electrolytes, but also exaggerates the symptoms of a hangover. Hydration is always important, but especially when you’re drinking alcohol. Alcohol causes dehydration because it is a diuretic, meaning it increases the excretion of water from the body. Part of what makes alcohol a diuretic is that it inhibits vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone that regulates the kidneys’ ability to absorb and retain water.

Vince Ayaga Content Contributor Vincent Ayaga is a medical researcher and experienced content writer with a bachelor’s degree in Medical Microbiology. His areas of special interest include disease investigation, prevention, and control strategies. His mission is to educate society on the effects of alcohol abuse and dependence and available evidence-based solutions in addiction therapy. He believes that addiction education based on current research has a greater impact among the affected and knowledge seekers. When drinking alcohol, especially in hot weather, avoiding dehydration is very important. That margarita may seem refreshing, but the added sugar creates an acidic environment.

A few words of caution for those who drink alcohol

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it increases urine production. It inhibits the activation of an antidiuretic hormone , also known as vasopressin. ADH is responsible for regulating the body’s fluid levels, and when it is inhibited, the body will produce more urine to flush out the excess fluid. This can lead to dehydration of alcohol, as the body loses its ability to maintain fluid balance due to the diuretic effects of alcohol and loses more fluids than it takes in.


If you’re dehydrated, you’ll probably feel thirsty. It’s probable that a cocktail such as a vodka and soda is less dehydrating than a straight shot of vodka. When you don’t adequately replace this excess loss of fluids, you become dehydrated. For proper hydration, we need both replenishment of fluids plus important electrolytes and vitamins.

Surprising research on alcohol and dehydration

For example, does alcohol dehydrate you contains more water than wine or liquor. So while more research is needed to know for certain, beer may not dehydrate you as much as other alcoholic beverages without as high of a water content. Dehydration can affect every area of your body, so it’s only natural to wonder how widespread the effects of alcohol-induced dehydration can spread. With interrupted production of vasopressin due to the consumption of alcohol, you start to lose more water through urination, which can cause those symptoms of dehydration. “You can’t entirely prevent it, but if you go into drinking well-hydrated, you are less likely to feel the negative effects of dehydration,” she says. Electrolytes are minerals that can conduct electricity and use that ability to help the body relay messages.

Chips and popcorn are mainstays at BBQs, but as tempting as they might be, salty foods are best eaten in moderation. Too much sodium will increase fluid loss as your body tries to flush it out, and that refreshing adult beverage will make it worse. After eating something salty, chase it with a drink of ice tea, lemonade, or even plain water, rather than alcohol.