Everything Science Knows About Hangovers—And How to Cure Them

Category: Drinks,Knowledge

viaWIRED.com.
Good morning, sunshine! You are so screwed.

The light coming in through the window is so … there. You’d kill for a glass of water but die if it came with food. Your guts are in full rebellion; whatever happens next is going to happen in the bathroom. You have at least a couple of the following symptoms: headache, malaise, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, the shakes. You might also be dehydrated and feel generally slow—a little stupider, a little less coordinated.

You, my friend, have a hangover. And you can take heart in the fact that you’re not alone. Some 77 percent of all drinkers report suffering from them. (The scientific term for the other 23 percent is “jerks.”) But here’s the amazing part: The underlying cause of your suffering remains a mystery. “What causes a hangover? Nobody really knows,” says epidemiologist Jonathan Howland. “And what can you do about it? Nobody knows.”

Alcohol has long been the only recreational drug for which scientists could not articulate a mechanism of action—which is to say, no one knew how it got you drunk, and no one knew how it got you hungover. And that’s weird. Because hangovers are a problem of vast proportions. By one estimate, hangovers cost $160 billion in lost revenue every year in the US alone. Yet for decades, even as scientists have written hundreds of thousands of articles about alcohol, only a tiny fraction of that attention—just a few hundred papers—have focused on the hangover. In fact, it wasn’t until the past decade or so that researchers even agreed to define hangover with a common group of symptoms.
…continue reading at WIRED.com

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