Archive for Friday, December 30, 2011

Anatomy of a hangover: Is there anything you can do?

December 30, 2011


Dry mouth, pounding headache, queasy stomach, body aches — all standard fare the morning after a heavy-drinking New Year’s Eve celebration.

Ask any doctor or health care professional the best way to avoid those hangover symptoms and you’re likely to get a sarcastic answer along the lines of: Don’t drink too much in the first place.

The Journal-World sat down with John Drees, a nurse and community education specialist at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and he offered the same general guideline. We dug a little deeper, and though Drees gave little ground on that approach, he did offer a few insights into the hangover:

• What causes hangovers?

Simply put, it’s the body reacting to a substance it’s not so crazy about.

“Basically, alcohol is a toxin,” Drees said.

The side effects of alcohol initially produce the lowered inhibitions and good-time feelings, but will later develop into the painful ones we associate with hangovers. Why some people get hangovers and others — up to 1 in 4 drinkers — don’t is still not clear, Drees said. There are just too many variables, such as genetics, alcohol content, how rapidly it’s consumed, and whether it’s consumed on an empty stomach.

“It’s so patient-specific,” he said.

• Can you prepare to not have a hangover, other than not drinking alcohol?

Not really, Drees said, despite some of the claims made in convenience store concoctions.

“If you over consume, you’ll pay a price for it later,” he said.

If you catch yourself over consuming, the best thing to do is drink water and avoid mixing in other substances, such as tobacco or other drugs.

• What’s the best way to cure a hangover? Gatorade? Tabasco sauce? Honey?

Those cures are the stuff of urban legend, lacking scientific proof, Drees said, advising that general healthy habits should dominate any post-hangover plan: plenty of fluids, rest and healthy food.

• Is there a point when someone should get medical treatment for a hangover?

Drees said LMH sees about four alcohol-related cases per day. Most of those are for alcohol poisoning or for injuries sustained while intoxicated, such as a sprained ankle. But it’s not completely out of the question for someone to require treatment for dehydration or other issues associated with the hangover. Drees’ best advice is to seek help if you feel there’s something abnormal or excessive about your hangover symptoms.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

"What’s the best way to cure a hangover?"

You can't cure it, but you can postpone it-- bottoms up.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

I think you're talking about prevention, not a cure.

And prevention is definitely not the American way.

geekin_topekan 6 years, 3 months ago

"plenty of fluids, rest and healthy food." +++ If God meant for us to suffer hangovers, he wouldn't have invented the Bloody Mary.

budwhysir 6 years, 3 months ago

I once had a hangover caused by being hungover from a hangover..

Matthew Herbert 6 years, 3 months ago

My go to is smoothies- rehydrates while simultaneously injecting the body with vitamins.

labmonkey 6 years, 3 months ago

As long as you do not have a queasy stomach, the best cure is Tropicana no-pulp Vitamin D fortified orange juice. I don't know what it is about OJ that hydrates you so quickly, but that cured more hangovers for me when I was in college.

peoplewatcher 6 years, 3 months ago

ALKA SELTZER alley my friends! after a long night of insane KU frat boy-like drinking. 2 of those bad boys and you wake up a new person in the morning.

Kontum1972 6 years, 3 months ago

yeah mb so...but alka seltzer does not cure a liver eaten up by booze.

Jeff Zamrzla 6 years, 3 months ago

there are only two ways to cure a hangover: A) never drink B) Never sober up

I've tried both in my life and I much prefer A over B.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 3 months ago

Alcohol has never solved any problems....but neither has milk.

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