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Tip 12:          Hangovers

Pleeeease tell me, are there any cures for hangovers.  I have heard so many different suggestions I don’t know what really works?

Megan P.,  Queens College, Sophomore

Are some drinks better than others when it comes to avoiding a hangover?

Sean R.,   Manhattan College, Freshman

Is there any way to prevent a hangover – other than not drinking?

Ammie K.,   Rhode Island College, Junior 

Do those over-the-counter commercial hangover cures work?

Brad K.,   Merrimack College, Sophomore

A hangover is defined as having the symptoms of headache, nausea, thirst, and sickness that result from drinking too much alcohol.  These words are clearly insufficient in describing what many students feel following a crazy night out.  Other cultures have more dramatic descriptions.  A hangover is known to the Germans as “wailing of cats" (Katzenjammer), the Italians "out of tune" (stonato), the French "woody mouth" (Gueule de bois), the Norwegians "workmen in my head" (jeg har tommermenn) and the Swedes - my favorite - "pain in the roots of my hair" (hont i haret).


Commercially produced hangover cures are available from your local pharmacist.  Or, on most Saturday mornings, you can hear plenty of bizarre cures shared between students in the dining halls of campuses around the country.  Of course, Brad and Megan, you and plenty of other people would like to know if anything really works.  Well, extensive research and numerous tests have been conducted to measure the effectiveness of these so-called hangover cures and nothing has been found to be very effective.  If you have a cure that works for you, it is probably effective because of the power of your belief in the curative value of that remedy.  


Some so-called cures are actually harmful.  As far as pain-relievers go, alcohol mixed with aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can damage your liver and/or stomach.  Although chugging water or Gatorade may help re-hydrate you, doing so too quickly can disrupt the water balance of the brain thus worsening the headache.   


Drinking more alcohol the next day to cure a hangover is suggested by some folks.  On the one hand drinking more alcohol can alleviate the rebound effects of heavy drinking such as anxiety, nervousness and tension but drinking more alcohol to relieve a hangover is an addictive behavior pattern.


Sean and Ammie, if you choose to drink more than one or two drinks in an evening, the following tips may help to minimize the extent of the probable hangover.   



  • Drink clear liquors such as vodka, gin, clear rum or white wine.

  • Avoid cheap wines.

  • Alternate alcoholic beverages with water or other non-alcoholic beverages to cut your consumption in half and keep yourself somewhat hydrated.

  • Drink in a low-risk manner.  (See Tip #13: Know the Code)​

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