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[P]
Science and the Five-Star Hangover

By Oscar Milde in Culture
Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 10:48:42 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

"Man, being reasonable, must get drunk," noted Lord Byron. It has been thus since some ancient human first left a pile of crushed grapes to fester for a while, took a swig, and eventually ended up with the caveman version of a lampshade on his head -- followed by the first hangover in human history. Despite this long legacy of intoxication, the process of getting a few sheets to the wind and waking up with a sore head has received little scientific scrutiny, perhaps because it happens mainly on Sunday mornings, when physicians are doing other things. Still, there are bits and pieces that can be pulled together, notes John Emsley, a chemist now at Cambridge, in "Through a Chemist's Eyes: A Dispassionate Look at Alcohol."


Sadly, the reports are somewhat grim: there is no surefire preventative for getting bombed, nor a cure for its second act, a killer hangover (other than not drinking, which is beside the point). Still, a little science on your side can help you as you belly up to the bar or, the next morning, awaken with a screaming headache, a profound sense of nausea, and a tongue the consistency of wool. There are a few tricks to ease the experience, and at the very least, you'll have the license number of the truck that hit you.

Your body is no stranger to alcohol: tiny amounts of it are produced by bacteria and yeasts in your body all the time. To deal with this, as well as the double shot of whiskey you pour down your gullet, an enzyme in the stomach and liver converts the alcohol to acetaldehyde. It has a certain symmetry to it: alcohol makes you drunk, and acetaldehyde gives you the hangover. Your body can burn off about half an ounce of alcohol (the amount in a single drink, approximately) in an hour, though women, the Japanese, and Native Americans tend to have less of the enzyme (which is why they tend to get drunk faster).

What you drink has little bearing (unless you're drinking a particularly extreme beverage, such as absinthe) on how fast or how much you get intoxicated. Simple math demonstrates that a 12-ounce beer (5% alcohol) contains about half an ounce of alcohol. The same is true of a five-ounce glass of wine (12% alcohol) and shot (1.5 ounces) of 80-proof whiskey. In short, three beers in an hour is the same as three martinis in the same time: they put the same amount of alcohol in your system, and you get just as sloshed.

However, whiskey neat or a very dry martini may give you a slight advantage over beer or wine, because they go to your head slower. About 20% to 30% of the alcohol you drink is absorbed through the stomach; the rest is absorbed through the small intestine, and there the rate of absorption is much faster. But to get to the intestine, the drink has to pass through a valve in the stomach which shuts when it encounters more than 30% alcohol. So drinking small amount of high-octane spirits may cause the drink to remain in the stomach longer, which delays inebriation, though it does not eliminate it. Of course, this valve exists because alcohol is a poison: drinking a bottle in one night can kill -- and has killed -- people. The valve is also responsible for "praying at the porcelain altar"; the body will, at some point, reject the poison.

One way to slow down the effects of alcohol is to eat a meal or drink a glass of milk before setting out to the local pub (I once knew a cellist who would drink a 3:1 mixture of milk and scotch. Judging by his tendency to play drunken cello, I'm not sure if the milk was any help) because food absorbs the alcohol, slowing its entry into the bloodstream. Another is to eat fruit or honey: both contain fructose which may speed up the body's ability to metabolize alcohol. There is no evidence that vitamins help retard the effects of alcohol.

One thing that definitely doesn't work is aspirin. A study of nearly a decade ago showed that men who took two aspirin before calling their local barkeep for a shot of whiskey absorbed from 40% to 100% more alcohol into their blood -- enough of an increase for a single drink to put them over the legal driving limit with a single drink. Apparently, aspirin inhibits the metabolization of alcohol.

Once in your bloodstream, alcohol begins to work its wonders. It replaces water molecules in nerve cells in your brain, slowing down their signaling, and thus your reactions and thoughts. It changes the density of tissue in your middle ear, resulting in the loss of balance and the drunken stagger. It breaks down various molecular energy stores, making you hungry. It shuts down production of a hormone which causes water reabsorption. This results in the trips to the toilet; drinking two glasses of wine will cause you to lose twice that amount of liquid at the other end.

The acetaldehyde which is created through the metabolization of alcohol has effects of its own. It dilates blood vessels in your skin, giving that warm and flushed feeling (it also causes you to lose heat faster. The brandy from the St. Bernard would only hasten a stranded skier's demise).

All these reactions send you on your way to a morning of abject gloom. As Boswell described it in 1763, "a bottle of thick English port is a very heavy and very inflammatory dose... and this morning it was boiling in my veins." Dilated blood vessels in your brain cause the famous pounding headaches. Your body's nightlong binge of throwing water overboard has left you dehydrated and your tongue dry. Alcohol disrupts REM during sleep, resulting in a tired feeling upon waking. However, as it fades away, the body produces adrenaline, making deep sleep even less of a possibility. A hangover even impairs driving. Several studies have shown that even though there is effectively no alcohol in the bloodstream, reactions are slowed well into the next day.

The intensity and particulars of a hangover depend on the individual. One thing that can make hangovers worse for some is their reaction to "congeners," the 800 or so chemicals that might come along for the ride in a bottle of booze; they can arise from aging the liquor in a wooden keg, or some other part of the fermentation or distillation processes. The congeners are not just responsible for making your hangover worse; as alcohol is essentially tasteless, they are essential to making a good whiskey good. Vodka, the closest liquor to being 2 parts alcohol to 3 parts water, has the fewest congeners, followed by gin, which uses a herbs and spices to generate its unique flavor. Blended scotch has four times as many of these chemicals as gin; brandy, rum, and single malts have about six times and bourbon has about eight times as many. Using color alone to judge the congener content is misleading; many whiskeys and rums add caramel color.

A congener that causes an intense hangover in one person may have little effect in another. This may be why mixed drinks have a tendency to make a hangover worse: they increase the odds that you'll encounter one that disagrees with you. However, in general, the act of mixing has no effect on the next morning.

In the end, it is quantity, not quality, that makes a hangover. Congeners may amplify the effect, but ultimately, it is alcohol and the acetaldehyde it creates that are the real culprits. Five drinks in an evening is enough for some folks to wake up with a sore head. Over half of all drinkers will feel the malaise after ten drinks.

Despite centuries of claims to the contrary, there's no cure for the whiskey blues. Various concoctions, including ones made with raw eggs, Tabasco sauce, bitters, etc. do little more than take your mind off the pain. Ditto for exercise, saunas, and steam baths. The French prescribe café et du sel, strong coffee with salt, for la guele du bois (interestingly, enough, this has come to be known as Navy-style coffee in the US). The Germans eat bananas with red meat at breakfast. The Chinese drink a tea brewed from spinach. The Swiss suck on a can of oxygen, while Russians, perhaps characteristically, recommend more vodka.

"I pray thee let me and my fellow have a haire of the dog that bit us last night," wrote John Heywood in 1546. This centuries-old remedy may work for some, but only because they are also suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms, in which case the hangover is the least of their problems.

There are some things you can do help ease the pain: before going to bed, take an aspirin (if it doesn't make you sick). Drink lots of water. If you wake up in the middle of the night, drink more water. When you get up, drink more water. Eat something as soon as you can after waking up. But in the end, only time and a good liver can make it go away. Of course, the best cure is prevention. If you're planning a long night, alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. If you're averaging more than one drink per hour, you'll feel it the next day.

Ultimately, a world-class hangover is simply Nature's way of keeping life in the balance, and it's probably best not to cheat fate but to take your lumps stoically. You'll have plenty of time o review the actions that brought you to that dissolute state (if you remember them) and prepare any apologies, all while contemplating righteous pledges and promises never to do it again.

But as you lie there, cursing your fate, remember that there is no such thing as a bad drink, only a bad drinker. In fact, studies too numerous to mention suggest that one or two drinks per day may be beneficial to your health (anything greater is firmly in the minus column). And, in news that will warm the heart on a snowy winter's day: moderate drinkers suffer half as many colds as non-drinkers.

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Related Links
o John Emsley
o Through a Chemist's Eyes: A Dispassionate Look at Alcohol
o Also by Oscar Milde


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Science and the Five-Star Hangover | 127 comments (116 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
You Failed To Mention The Most Important Thing! (4.95 / 20) (#10)
by thelizman on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 02:54:49 AM EST

Alcohol, conshumed in moderate to heafy amountsh invariably effects jushment. The net reshult ish that you wake up naked beshide a terribly larshe schmelly fat pershun, with no idea where you are.

No if youll eshcuse me, I haf company...
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
And what? (1.00 / 2) (#34)
by Silent Chris on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 01:30:27 PM EST

Drugs don't do the same thing?

[ Parent ]
Whatever Do You Mean? (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by thelizman on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 06:31:18 PM EST

Alcohol is considered a drug.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Sir, this site is full of dirty gnu hippies. (1.00 / 1) (#45)
by Uncle Noam Chomsky on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 02:59:06 PM EST

Please clarify: are you referring to an act of mercy, or masturbation?

---
Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the American media.
[ Parent ]

Beer Goggles! (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by MicroBerto on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 11:40:11 PM EST

My friends and I prefer to call them "Beer Goggles".

They're friends of the "Beer Sweater", which makes it possible to go out on winter nights without a coat, "beer strength", "beer confidence", and so on. One of my older comics has a ton of them.

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

mystery bus and taxi (none / 0) (#112)
by petdr on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 09:15:18 AM EST

Beer googles are related to the mystery bus, which comes at some point of the night and takes all the ugly girls/guys away and replaces them with beautiful ones.

Unfortunately while you sleep the mystery taxi takes the stunning guy/girl you are with and replaces them with someone else.

[ Parent ]

Beer before liquor... (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by leviramsey on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 03:51:48 AM EST

I'm not quite sure how that jibes with what you write. If the liquor stays in your stomach longer, doesn't that mean that by the time it starts to get absorbed, the beer will have long since been absorbed and started to metabolize?



the explanation I heard (4.33 / 3) (#13)
by Delirium on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 04:17:54 AM EST

I have no idea if this is valid or not, but it sounds like it makes sense:

If you drink beer first, then liquor, you will already be somewhat drunk by the time you start drinking the liquor. As such, the first shot or two of liquor will likely throw you into the "really drunk" stage; but since it usually takes a bit for the effects of a drink to manifest themselves, you may continue drinking and be really, really drunk by the time it hits you.

On the other hand, if you start out drinking liquor while you're completely sober, this is unlikely to happen unless you have 10 shots or something. Then if you switch to beer, you are unlikely to accidentally drink far too much, as beer is typically consumed at approximately the same speed that you start to feel its effects.

[ Parent ]

What works for me (3.50 / 2) (#14)
by Master Of Ninja on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 04:22:18 AM EST

I would just take one beer/vodka etc. and alternate it with one glass of water. This spreads out the drinks anyway and I think it must prevent the dehydration which causes the hangover. Like I said works for me.

confirmed (none / 0) (#24)
by macpeep on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 12:10:39 PM EST

I do the same thing and it works pretty well for me too. Sure, you can still get very drunk and have really bad hangovers, but because you're drinking so much water, you don't get dehydrated and that makes a huge difference.

[ Parent ]
Caveat (4.33 / 3) (#15)
by Kamui on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 07:18:24 AM EST

Aspirin is quite dangerous in combination with alcohol (it causes hemorrhages). I would think twice about that recommendation...

The Germans eat bananas with red meat at breakfast (none / 0) (#16)
by mami on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 07:58:45 AM EST

....arghhh, are you sure?

Naaah... (5.00 / 3) (#18)
by Kamui on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 09:21:49 AM EST

I am German. Have been for 25 years. Never heard of it. Of course, maybe they adopted that custom while I was abroad for a week or so, and dropped it before I returned (for the obvious reasons ;).

[ Parent ]
igittigitt! (none / 0) (#90)
by buglord on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 01:07:06 PM EST

Maybe nobody told me about it because I'm allergic to bananas...
The only "remedy" I have relatively often heard of in Germany are raw, pickled herring (rollmops) with coffee. Actually, I wanted to buy some last new year's eve, but they were sold out in all the supermarkets in the area.
I tried it a few times, but the taste (and texture) is a bit much for a sensitive stomach. Once I wasn't able to hold the herring for much more than five minutes - leaving me much more miserable than before. Oh well, maybe it was the apple juice I chased it with.

I'm happy so much now I know how to use a gun!
Die Technik bereit und stabil... wir wollen zurück ins Telespiel!
welle:erdball - telespiel
[ Parent ]
What are you talking about? (none / 0) (#105)
by mami on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 09:13:25 PM EST

... herings are great. Darn, now I have a craving and here in the US they just don't know anything about real good pickled fish. Why did you remind me of herings from home?

And of course it was the apple juice. The little apple pieces belongs in the creamy sauce the hering comes with together with some onions. Then nice real good Schwarzbrot mit Butter.... am besten der Kanten, schon ein bisschen trocken .... ah gemein, how cruel to make me think about it.

[ Parent ]

Sorry 'bout it (none / 0) (#109)
by buglord on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 05:41:16 AM EST

If America didn't have such stringent import laws, I would be happy to send some fish and schwarzbrot.

I'm sure the bread would be tough enough for your liking by the time it arrives ;)

I'm happy so much now I know how to use a gun!
Die Technik bereit und stabil... wir wollen zurück ins Telespiel!
welle:erdball - telespiel
[ Parent ]

There is no such thing as a bad drink... (4.00 / 2) (#19)
by kaemaril on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 09:58:01 AM EST

There is no such thing as a bad drink

I believe absinthe has a bit of a bad rep...

Also, at least one Greek philosopher wasn't too hot on the ol' hemlock chasers... ;)


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


How alcohol works in the brain (4.83 / 6) (#20)
by tgibbs on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 10:27:54 AM EST

While the mechanism of action on the brain remains controversial, the explanation advanced by the article
Alcohol has this effect on the brain because it replaces water molecules around nerve cells, and this interferes with the movement of electrically charged atoms which are responsible for transmitting information along a nerve fiber. Alcohol also slows the movement of chemical messenger molecules which carry information from cell to cell.
is not very good. Alcohol is not much of a local anesthetic at normal doses, so an effect on nerve conduction seems out of the question. Replacing water also does not make much sense. There is plenty of water around, and a small amount of ethanol does not make that much difference in how it behaves. It also is not likely to have much effect on diffusion of neurotransmitters. The existing evidence suggests that alcohol acts on neurotransmitter receptors by penetrating into the receptor structure an altering the energetic balance between different functional states of the receptor. In the case of one particular receptor (the GABA-A receptor), there is evidence for a specific "alcohol pocket" inside the receptor. A more difficult question is which specific receptors are responsible for the intoxicating and rewarding effects of ethanol. A lot of receptors are affected at "dead drunk" levels of alcohol. It's a lot harder to find receptors that are affected at the "pleasant buzz" level.

Actually... (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by epepke on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 06:50:39 PM EST

About eight years ago, I remember reading a study that compared analgesic effectiveness between alcohol and P.O. Demerol. They found that two drinks were about equal to one Demerol. (Of course, P.O. Demerol isn't all that great, compared to I.M. or I.V. Demerol. It's strong, but it doesn't absorb terribly well. I doubt they'd have gotten as good results for alcohol as compared to Oxycodone, which works great P.O.)


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Possibly... (5.00 / 1) (#94)
by bobjim on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 04:25:28 PM EST

As I understand it (and I admit my understanding isn't especially good, having no background at all in chemistry, biology or indeed, any kind of science). Alcohol is a GABA-A receptor agonist. That is, alcohol, or a metabolite of alcohol, binds (or makes it easier for binding to occur) with GABA-A receptors (which are chlorine channels), inhibiting the flow of negative chlorine ions into nerve cells. This inhibits neurotransmission.

Alcohol acting in this way would seem to be supported by the effect of the drug Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB), which is a precursor of GABA. GHB has very similar effects to alcohol, with even the same pattern of dependency and withdrawal.

The euphoric effects are something of a mystery, although it's interesting to note that GABA-A agonists lower the the amount of extra-cellular serotonin. Even more puzzling is the fact that Harmaline - a GABA-A antagonist also has a euphoric effect.

Of course, most alcoholic beverages contain lots of carbohydrates, which helps to explain some of the 'buzz'. Several amino acids compete for transportation past the blood-brain barrier. Of these, the least common is tryptamine, which is a precursor of serotonin. When carbohydrates are metabolised, insulin is released. This has the effect of 'shunting' the amino acids to various organs around the body. Tryptamine does not get 'shunted', so a larger amount of tryptamine is transported into the brain, which causes an increase in serotonin.

Possibly.

Anyway, I'm not entirely sure of all the above, but I think I've got it mostly right. If I've gotten anything startlingly wrong, I'd be pleased to know. This stuff interests me.
--
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

alcohol and GABA-A receptors (5.00 / 1) (#98)
by tgibbs on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 05:18:18 PM EST

Close. GABA-A receptors do in fact transport chloride ions, but the net effect of activating GABA-A receptors is normally inhibition of neuronal activity. This is because the equilibrium potential for chloride in most neurons is close to the resting potential, so GABA-A receptor activation tends to stabilize resting potential below the threshold for activation of the sodium channels that mediate the nerve impulse. A lot of sedative drugs, including benzodiazepines and barbiturates, act as positive allosteric modulators of GABA-A receptors, enhancing, rather than inhibiting, chloride transport through the receptor (alghough, oddly enough, GHB doesn't seem to do this, despite being chemically related to GABA). Benzodiazepines (which are very selective for GABA-A receptors) even relieve alcohol withdrawal, again suggesting involvement of GABA-A receptors in alcohol action. A lot of GABA-A positive modulators have euphoric effects and some abuse potential, but exactly what in the brain is responsible for this is unclear. These days, abuse experts generally think that dopamine is the linchpin for the rewarding effects of drugs. The role of serotonin is unclear. The selective serotonin reuptake blockers like Prozac do tend to enhance mood when taken over a prolonged period of time, but hardly anybody takes them to get high, suggesting that elevating serotonin alone is not sufficient to produce a "buzz."

[ Parent ]
Yes. (none / 0) (#103)
by bobjim on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 07:19:29 PM EST

That's mostly what I was trying to say. I wasn't entirely clear how chlorine ions inside nerve cells inhibited neuronal activity.

I'm not sure that I agree with the abuse experts about the role of dopamine. After all, there are selective dopamine reuptake inhibitors like Zyban, but these don't appear to be used to get a buzz, either. But then, brain chemistry is anything but simple.

--
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

Yay! (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by jabber on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 10:47:06 AM EST

+1 section for the article. Make that +1FP, for the nod to Absinthe, though it's effect isn't due exclusively to the alcohol contained therein. It's Booze++, let's just say.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Absinthe (none / 0) (#95)
by bobjim on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 04:42:13 PM EST

It's all just reputation and insanely high alcohol content. The 'active' ingredient in absinthe is thujone (from the wormwood), which is a mild GABA antagonist.

However, Vermouth tends to contain more thujone than many absinthes, yet few people claim that their martini's make them trip. Indeed, common sage contains quite a lot of thujone and few people say find terribly intoxicating effects due to their roast dinner (with sage and onion stuffing, of course).

Absinthe is a nice drink. When I went to Prague I ended up drinking it in some form of cocktail, which tasted very nice, and the bottle a friend brought back was nice, too. But it's hardly Booze++.

(note: in overdose, thujone can cause fits, renal failure and death: drinking essential oils of wormwood or sage is a very bad idea).
--
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

Absinthe (4.00 / 1) (#99)
by jabber on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 05:19:40 PM EST

Say what you will but my experience with Absinthe does warrant the Booze++ label. The chemistry you cite, I am certain, is quite correct BTW.

The alcohol content isn't that insane at all, though I suppose it's all relative. The Absinthe in my liquor cabinet (Czech) is 140 proof (70% vol). Very potent (almost twice the average vodka), but not quite what I'd call "insane". Bacardi's 151 proof Rum is stronger, more common, and not considered anywhere near as "insane" as drinking straight grain alcohol. That last one is a realm occupied only by the suicidal frat-boy, and it is very much what I would call "insane".

My experience of the effect is that it is quite different from that of other potent spirits. Perhaps there is a placebo effect there, perhaps not, but IMO, the effect is similar to an equivalent amount of alcohol (in perceived warmth, lessened inhibition, etc), minus the clouded thinking, umm, sort of. To me, that's a major difference - to be well basted, and still lucid enough to think deliberately.

You can not beat the pomp and ritual of making the poison, either in the French or Czech style. The anticipation, presentation and effects are all rather other-worldly.

Also, there are quite a number of different "Absinthe's" out there. Some are just flavored, colored water, while others have much more to offer. Some are simply anise flavored vodka, while others contain thujone to various degrees. Reading the label and doing the homework is highly recommended.

From the proper strength and chemistry, to the ritual of preparation, the louche, flame and the kick to the head that imbibing provides, I would say that Absinthe is quite special a drink. I'd further say that several different varieties of it need to be tried before one can write Absinthe off as "just reputation".

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Well... (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by bobjim on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 06:58:57 PM EST

I think the alcohol percentage thing is cultural. I'm English and we don't really have the drunken frat boy thing here. I don't recall ever seeing 151 Rum, although I'm sure it's available. All us university people are old enough to drink legally anyway, so I guess there's not the attraction to stupidly high volumes that there is on a US campus. The highest proof alcohol I've ever seen drunk is a liquer called Aftershock, which is 55% alcohol.

The lucid effect of absinthe could be explained by the chemistry. The GABA-A antagonism of the thujone could reduce the GABA-A agonism of the alcohol that slows you down. By the tone of your post and the reputation of absinthe, I'd assumed you were talking about the hallucinations it's supposed to cause, which I'm reasonably certain are myth and placebo.

I have always wanted to try absinthe in the classical way. I'd agree with you completely about the ritual of it. There's something damn cool about absinthe.
--
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

Hallucinations (none / 0) (#104)
by jabber on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 08:56:12 PM EST

I've never "tripped" or hallucinated on Absinthe, or anything else for that matter. I have noticed some very mild visual oddities, like a shadow moving for a split second on the periphery of my vision, but I'm willing to write that off to alcohol and the fact that there were other people around, so I may have seen a perfectly valid trick of light.

The preparation of Absinthe, especially with a slightly subversive group of people, and the right, dark, brooding music, in a dark room, with fire involved, imparts an almost magical atmosphere.

Not only is this ambiance most enjoyable, it also tends to be a "chick magnet", which just improves the scene. :)

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Hangover Cures (4.25 / 4) (#22)
by CymruAmByth on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 11:26:58 AM EST

A friend of mine who was in the Army told me of the following hangover cure, as recommended by his Sargeant Major I believe.

A wank, followed by a banana.

The wank makes you feel better, and the banana is for vitamins.

Also, a couple of pints of water don't go amiss either

Of course, if you start going blind you don't know if you should stop the wanking or the drinking...

Wanking with a headache? (3.00 / 1) (#39)
by jakobk on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 01:52:01 PM EST

I'd rather not wank with an exploding head.

[ Parent ]
Penile function (none / 0) (#68)
by MicroBerto on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 11:41:23 PM EST

Yeah, it does take a while to get it workin, but boy does this trick work!

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]
Works.. (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by vile on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 02:33:55 PM EST

but damn do you get even more tired...

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Don't downplay vitamins (4.00 / 2) (#23)
by skullY on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 12:06:05 PM EST

Probably the most important thing you can do before going to bed after drinking heavily is to take a good vit. B complex. The b12 is an important agent in preventing brain damage, and will prevent most (Note: not all) the damage that occurs when drinking heavily. Alcohol also interrupts the metabolism of b6, leading to deficiencies.

Vit. C is also good to take about this time. Extra antioxidants means your body can spend less time repairing normal cell decay, and more time repairing the damage you've done by drinking all night.

I usually take a B-50 and 1000mg of C before bed with two glasses of water (also important, as others have mentioned) and again when I wake up. I've found that almost completely prevents a hangover, and I feel great the next day.

--
I'm not witty enough for a sig.

proof? (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by glog on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 12:27:47 PM EST

Can you post some links to prove your claims?

[ Parent ]
nothing that would be considered hard proof (none / 0) (#29)
by skullY on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 01:09:03 PM EST

But a quick google search turns up hundreds of sites offering the same advice, and varying reasons for why it works. My own reasoning came from research into vitamins I did a couple years ago (Caveat: Since then I've taken vitamins daily, and bugged all my friends and coworkers about taking them too) at the library and various sites online.

I can also offer 40 or 50 data points from personal experience, and 20 or 30 people whom I've also convinced through direct experience, but that's hardly scientific, is it?

--
I'm not witty enough for a sig.
[ Parent ]

clarification (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by glog on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 01:30:03 PM EST

I am not disputing the fact that you may be feeling very swell the morning after drinking when you take vitamins. The statement that really bugs me is this:
The b12 is an important agent in preventing brain damage, and will prevent most
... as it relates to alcohol drinking I imagine.
I am not one who disbelieves the value of vitamins/minerals, even in capsule form. In fact, I am convinced that what you said is true.

You seem to be interested in this kind of stuff so I would recommend the book The Okinawa Program. Do check it out - it is well worth your time.

[ Parent ]

I can see how it would bug you (none / 0) (#40)
by skullY on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 02:05:23 PM EST

And to be honest, I'd think it'd bug me if I hadn't read it somewhere reputable first. Unfortunately, I have a horrible memory (it's one of the reasons I got interested in vitamins in the first place) and have no idea which of the 20 or 30 books I read it in.

Thanks for the book suggestion, it looks interesting. I'll definitely check it out.

--
I'm not witty enough for a sig.
[ Parent ]

email (none / 0) (#46)
by glog on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 03:15:24 PM EST

Skully, by the way, you've used an interesting anti-spam method in your email. But you effectively eliminate non-technical people from emailing you. Is that what you had in mind?

You are not alone in your memory woes. We seem to be alike in the way we remember things. It's not so much bad memory as extremely selective memory. I am very good at acquiring huge amounts of information (especially technical, scientific stuff), digest it and just remember the stuff that is most relevant to me, my work, studying, etc. That way effectively, any non-essential stuff such as author's name, book name, names of places, dates, etc gets filtered out.

That habit, of course, creates a big problem with girlfriends who seem to be able to remember even the tiniest of details from ten years ago.

[ Parent ]

email and memory (none / 0) (#52)
by skullY on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 04:19:25 PM EST

I tend to discourage email. As such, I don't keep minor things like email addresses updated. I've had that set for years, probably since I setup the account. Back then, there wasn't any question about anyone figuring it out. Now I figure that if someone can't figure it out, they can ask me and I'll explain it to them. Maybe one day I'll include a link to a rot13 cgi in my bio, but that's too much work for my first day off in 3 weeks. ;=)

Your comment on memory is very true, I remember things relevant to me really well. I'm also pretty good at remembering where information is when I need it, while not remembering the actual information itself. I've found the only time it really hurts me is when arguing face to face with someone.

I've been pondering good ways to catalog and store the details I don't normally remember, as the details I want to lookup are what you normally reference them by (Title, author, etc.) Unfortunately, I've been a full time sysadmin and part time developer at work, so I've been too busy to pursue my own goals lately.

(Wondering just how much farther we can stray off topic before other people start to notice ...)

--
I'm not witty enough for a sig.
[ Parent ]

vitamins (none / 0) (#58)
by glog on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 05:32:18 PM EST

We are off-topic? Naaah! I actually enjoy one-on-one or small group conversations a lot more than the kind of "dialog" that goes on on K5. It's just a lot more manageable albeit not as rich in ideas.

And what you talk about as far as cataloging your knowledge (or at least the stuff you've read) - there is really no easy way about it. This is what the Internet is for!! I just had an idea however - are you familiar with Index Server? It comes with Windows anyway and is used to index the contents of a hard-drive for easy searches. Now imagine keeping a journal of what you have read every time you read it - author, book title, article title, brief summary of contents, the works ... and let Index Server do its work on that file, directory, whatever ... then you could easily perform searches for specific things that you want to recall. That is unless you want to write your own cataloging software. It's not too hard if you just let it cross-reference single words or common phrases.

[ Parent ]

index server (none / 0) (#62)
by skullY on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 06:56:37 PM EST

I haven't used it, but the idea is simple enough. It's a way to go, but that requires effort that I won't usually put forth. What I really need is a way for a computer to do it for me, kind of OCR on crack. That way it indexes every word that passes in front of me and can tell me where I've seen a particular phrase. Short of that keeping an index of what I've read is probably the second best way to deal with it.

--
I'm not witty enough for a sig.
[ Parent ]
consider switching drugs (3.71 / 7) (#25)
by 5pectre on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 12:20:12 PM EST

both cannabis and 'magic' mushrooms have pleasent inebriating effects without those nasty after effects associated with the 'hangover'.

i gave up drinking to get drunk several years ago (now i only drink because i like the taste or because friends are) and i can say i have never once had an unpleasent morning-after with the above drugs.

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

The Christian breakfast (3.50 / 2) (#26)
by IHCOYC on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 12:21:46 PM EST

Back in college, we had a custom that we called the "Christian breakfast."  Basically, this was a meal partaken of in the wee hours of the morning, before retiring, after a night of heavy drinking.

The ideal foodstuffs for this meal were relatively heavy, greasy, warm, and bland.  White Castle hamburgers were the canonical Christian breakfast.

In my experience, eating a Christian breakfast made the resulting hangover substantially less acute than it would have been otherwise.  The meal would do you no good on the morning after, and in fact would make the symptoms worse.

Heus, nunc, mihi cantate hanc æruginem.

Mexican Food! (none / 0) (#70)
by MicroBerto on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 11:45:37 PM EST

Where I go to school, we tend to prefer Burritos as big as your head! There are La Bamba's at many large campuses (campi?) all over the country.

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]
My best tips to prevent or cure a hangover (4.50 / 2) (#28)
by borderline on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 12:54:50 PM EST

To prevent hangover, do this before hitting the sack:
  • Wait until you're somewhat sober
  • Drink a few pints of water
  • Eat something salty
If you're already wearing the concrete hat:
  • Take a shower
  • Drink a few pints of water
  • Eat something salty
  • Sleep some more
Drinking water is a classic, with salt it's much more effective.

Also, things to avoid when the guild of coppersmiths are on visit in your head:

  • Aspirin
  • Nicotine
  • Vacuum-cleaning
I don't have much of a scientific base for these tips, and I don't feel like hunting for links, so just take my word for it. It works pretty well for me, at least.

Salt? (none / 0) (#73)
by MicroBerto on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 11:56:31 PM EST

The salt intake sounds counterproductive, since it makes your body crave more water, and would tag-team your body along with alcohol to dehydrate you.

But I've got nothing to lose, I'll try throwin down some ramen noodle next time and take notes for ya.

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

Balance of the body (none / 0) (#79)
by DodgyGeezer on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 01:11:08 AM EST

You have to keep your body in balance.  When you consume vast quantities of liquid - either when you're getting drunk, or when you're countering the hangover- you have to add some NaCl to your intake to keep your body in balance.

[ Parent ]
It's necessary (none / 0) (#86)
by borderline on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 04:56:52 AM EST

You lose salt along with all that fluid that passes through your body when drinking. If you then proceed to drink water without getting any new salt, you will get a too low salt concentration in your blood. Osmosis makes brain swell, brain meets skull, brain hurts. (Or if you really over-do the drinking water without salt, hangover is releived by death).

[ Parent ]
Salt and Fat? (none / 0) (#89)
by Tommy A on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 12:15:58 PM EST

Once over the worst of the hangover and I have had a cup of tea and plenty of water, the first food I seem to head straight for is a pack of ready-salted crisps.



[ Parent ]
Hair of the dog ... (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by pyramid termite on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 01:25:33 PM EST

... works for moderate hangovers, if you can stand it. I recommend a beer, or possibly two. Anymore than that and you're just putting off the morning of reckoning, as well as getting into a pattern you really don't want to get into.

Light hangovers should just be left alone. I don't have any advice for bad hangovers; although a joint can help with the lighter ones, it tends to make the bad ones worse. Actually, anything seems to make the bad ones worse. Let's face it; if you drink to the point you're feeling violently ill you're going to feel like shit the next morning and you deserve it. (I speak as someone who's been there, done that quite a few times - but not for the last 15 years.)

"I forget, in a certain way, everything I write, doubtless also, in another way, what I read." - Jacques Derrida
Explanation (2.00 / 1) (#32)
by Silent Chris on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 01:29:43 PM EST

Does someone actually have an explanation of the dog remedy.

[ Parent ]
Sure (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by Anonymous 242 on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 03:36:16 PM EST

After you eat the dog, it doesn't bark anymore and there are fewer loud sounds to aggravate the hangover.

[ Parent ]
"hair of the dog..." (none / 0) (#74)
by Kiscica on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 12:30:09 AM EST

...that bit you.  In other words, a little nip of whatever you were drinking the night before.

Kiscica

[ Parent ]

Morning Bloody Mary (none / 0) (#72)
by MicroBerto on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 11:55:07 PM EST

I've heard that it's best to drink a Bloody Mary in the morning, since the v8 will have some vitamins in it for ya, which is important too. I stick with light beer in the morning, but will only do it if I'm ready for another 12 pack for football games!

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]
This is what I do (none / 0) (#31)
by DodgyGeezer on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 01:28:40 PM EST

Major activities after waking up:
  • Start drinking water
  • Put on the kettle to brew a very very strong pot of tea. It's nicer on the stomache than coffee, which I don't like anyway. Yes, it dehydrates, but it also deals amongst other things with the symptons of caffeine withdrawal from the day before that makes everything feel worse.
  • Breakfast. I prefer something with a lot of milk (full fat/homogenised too!).
  • The next day dump. It's always a big turning point. <Too much detail>Although it's rather disturbing seeing it coming out black after too many pints of Guinness.</Too much detail>
  • Shower
  • If I don't have anything planned: a half litre extra spicey Caesar (do people get these outside Canada?) with at least four shots of vodka. You really can't beat hair of the dog! This takes affect pretty quickly, and leaves me just feeling a little tired for the rest of the day. I wonder if it's something to do with alcohol withdrawal? It's also a good warm-up to going and sitting in the sun for the rest of the day drinking copious amounts Red Stripe (from the stubby bottles of course)


Forgot OJ (or tomato juice) (none / 0) (#38)
by DodgyGeezer on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 01:46:28 PM EST

I forgot to mention: a big glass of orange juice (with bits/pulp in it), which I drink whilst I'm waiting the 20 minutes for my tea to brew.  (The tea's imported from England, where it seems to be much stronger than anything readily available in N. America).

I think OJ contains something like potassium, which apparently helps with some of the shakes and vertigo I get with a hangover.  Sometimes I drink tomato juice as well as or instead of the OJ.  I guess I like liquids with substance.

[ Parent ]

Store 24 Magic Restorative Juice (none / 0) (#113)
by ecopoesis on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 09:30:28 AM EST

A gallon of Store 24 OJ has saved me many morning. There is something magical about this, the worst tasting OJ in the land.

--
"Yachting isn't just for the wealthy. :-)" - rusty
[ Parent ]

What's a spicy Caesar? (none / 0) (#55)
by Stanley on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 05:11:25 PM EST

It sounds good. Anything like a bloody mary?


============
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" -- Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]
Bloody Caesar... (none / 0) (#59)
by DodgyGeezer on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 06:09:03 PM EST

Yes, I believe so.  I've never had one, but I think the difference comes down to Clamato juice.  I would imagine that it's a bit mroe exotic tasting.

This is how I make it:
*  1/4 fill the glass with vodka
*  Chuck in some ice
*  Chuck in some Worcestershire (sp?) Sauce and plenty of Tobasco (sp?) Sauce
*  Fill it up with Clamato juice
*  Chuck in some lemon peel if I feel like
*  Stir
*  Add more Tobasco if it's needed.

Like most Brits, I thought the whole thing was disgusting when I first moved here, and that was before I'd even tried it!  It grew on me though - it think it's something to do with sitting and drinking them in the sun.

[ Parent ]

Didn't notice the article... (none / 0) (#35)
by mark r on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 01:30:37 PM EST

...until a helpful soul commented in my diary about it. Doh.

*Smacks self*
--
When I talk about God, people, I'm talking about my own experience looking up the very bunghole of the Cosmos. -- Reverend Bill.
One hangover was enough for me (3.50 / 2) (#36)
by Silent Chris on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 01:35:15 PM EST

I had my first hangover when I was 22, last year (I know, late).  Up until then I had drank moderately, got buzzed sometimes, but never really felt the full effects.

God it was awful.  Huge amounts of vomiting (gunk at first, then nothing at all), dry heaves, sweating, disorientation, couldn't sleep.  It ruined my whole next day.

I felt my body was basically trying to tell me, "You did this to yourself.  Screw you.  We're packing up our defenses and leaving.  You're on your own."  I've paid heed to it, and will now only drink 1-2 glasses when I go out.

I don't understand why one would continuely want to reach this state of drunkiness anyway.  There's a point where you're in-between being buzzed and getting hammered, where you basically have cognition that you're controlling your fate for the following morning.  That's when I stop drinking.  The buzz is enough for me (I want to relax a little and maybe forget some of the day's problems -- not leave this world completely).

Good moderation (none / 0) (#69)
by MicroBerto on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 11:44:19 PM EST

While I'm glad that you are good with moderation and didn't quit drinking alltogether, you can probably have more than 1 or 2 beerse without getting a hangover like that. Most hangovers are just a headache, which you can fight. What you experienced was an overblown case of alcohol poisoning. While all hangovers are from alcohol poisoning, I really consider cases like this to be true abuse. You can probably find a happier medium.

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]
REM sleep (3.00 / 1) (#78)
by DodgyGeezer on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 01:08:26 AM EST

So explain to me why I can get a nasty hangover (read, blinding headache that makes me feel so bad I fell nauseas) off 1-3 pints these days?  If I'm going to have 2 pints, I might as well have 6 and enjoy all the other experiences on top of the headache.  I believe it comes down to sleep, and even a small amount of alcohol can stop REM happening.

[ Parent ]
I guess it is age (none / 0) (#81)
by MicroBerto on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 01:23:23 AM EST

From other responses I've seen, I guess maybe age does play a big part of it. I'll "enjoy it while I can", as one suggested here. I like your idea about the 6 pints -- might as well not half-ass it!

As far as REM goes, do you ever have any crazy alcohol-driven dreams? Sometimes mine are more vivid and weird before I awake. But perhaps this is due to REM-Rebound at the end of my sleep, as I'm no longer drunk, the REM comes back, and comes back hard.?

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

Acetaminophen. (5.00 / 4) (#37)
by DodgyGeezer on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 01:36:58 PM EST

There doesn't seem to be much awareness of the dangers of acetaminophen (Tylenol/Paracetemol/etc depending on your part of the world).  This is not a good idea to consume if you have alcohol in your system.  Do not take it before you go to bed, nor immediately in the morning if you drink as much as I do.  (Aside: people don't seem to consider driving the morning after this side of the Atlantic in N. America - if you drink 10 pints in 4 hours then have only 5 hours sleep, you could still easily be well over the legal limit to drive.)

This drug combined with alcohol can cause significantly increased levels of liver damage.  If you're taking a lot, the presence of alcohol also decreases the amount required for an overdose (10-15 instead of 40+ tablets????).  I've heard that a large proportion of Tylenol overdoses are actually accidental ones by alcoholics, although I can't substanciate this claim right now.

Tylenol Pain (none / 0) (#66)
by MicroBerto on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 11:37:38 PM EST

Acetaminophen does absolutely nothing for my hangovers, so I stick to Ibouprofin, as I pointed out in my reply. The mixing might be bad, but sometimes it's well worth the long term risk not to be miserable all day :)

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]
Ulcers (none / 0) (#75)
by DodgyGeezer on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 12:47:32 AM EST

My wife used to take Ibuprofin for hangovers about five years ago before we got married.  Don't make her mistake of taking it on an empty stomache as I wouldn't want you to suffer the pain she has.  Her ulcer that she got from it when she was 24 hasn't flared up for a couple of years... well, until she tried to use the Nicorette patch recently to quit smoking.  She came home from work within a couple days of starting the patch with a bleeding ulcer and lay on the sofa weeping in agony.  Ibuprofin is a very good pain killer... just don't be a fool and take it on an empty stomache.  If you do, you might regret it for many years.

[ Parent ]
Acetiminophen liver damage (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by sigwinch on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 02:09:18 AM EST

This drug combined with alcohol can cause significantly increased levels of liver damage. If you're taking a lot, the presence of alcohol also decreases the amount required for an overdose (10-15 instead of 40+ tablets????).
I read of a case where a big-time alcoholic died from the equivalent of 6 tablets of Extra-Strength Tylenol (3000 mg).

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

More Info (none / 0) (#127)
by Lagged2Death on Wed Aug 21, 2002 at 05:23:51 PM EST

From The Straight Dope, more info on acetaminophen and alcohol.

Starfish automatically creates colorful abstract art for your PC desktop!
[ Parent ]
Where do I fit in? (none / 0) (#41)
by Ni on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 02:28:13 PM EST

I'm young-ish (18), and at times drink very heavily (1.5 pints of whiskey through the course of the night at times), but have never been hung over. I wake up the next morning drunk (and severely dehydrated) pretty often, but I've never had a headache, or felt dizziness that fixing the dehydration problem didn't cure, or vomitted the next morning, or any of the other symptoms that seem to be characteristic of hangovers.

I've always attributed this to my age, but that doesn't seem to jive with the article's explanation of hangovers - or does it? Why am I immune?


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.

Hangovers and Age (none / 0) (#44)
by Dest on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 02:38:05 PM EST

I too am young (19) and can drink heavily (Just shy of a quart in a single night) and don't get terrible hangovers. Yes, I wake up dehydrated, and sometimes nauseated -- but it's nothing a few soda crackers and a couple glasses of water didn't fix within an hour. I've been dizzy the next morning, but that only lasted about 10 seconds. I've never had a headache from drinking. I have, however, vomited once or twice, but that's the result of drinking copious amounts of Southern Comfort with Ni, or from shooting 15-16 ounces of vodka... with Ni. Based on this evidence one can only conclude that Ni is in fact the cause of my hangovers and should be avoided when looking for a drinking buddy.

----
Dest

"Bah. You have no taste, you won't be getting better than tofurkey bukkake." -- Ni
[ Parent ]
Wait until you're 30 (none / 0) (#92)
by Herring on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 01:23:51 PM EST

It's the magic age where hangovers seem to last for days.

Don't let it stop you though.


Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
Patience.... (none / 0) (#47)
by htonl on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 03:29:26 PM EST

Never fear, it may come when you get older. When I was in my late teens/early twenties I would have the minimal hangover like you described, mostly just dehydration. Now I'm 26, drink MUCH less, and get my ass kicked the next morning. A mere 6 pack makes me regret it all day when 12 used to be the norm. Enjoy it while you can, I say :)

[ Parent ]
Well yes, (none / 0) (#49)
by Ni on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 03:56:37 PM EST

it seems pretty likely that I'll feel it soon enough. I'm more curious about why I'm not feeling it now.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]
Maybe your liver (none / 0) (#57)
by leviramsey on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 05:32:02 PM EST

is more adept at removing acetaldehyde at your age, and this ability declines as you age?



[ Parent ]
Wrong (none / 0) (#82)
by Banjonardo on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 01:31:07 AM EST

You know the reason why drinking in the US is only legal after 21? Because your liver will be permanently damaged if you drink before that age, it's just not mature yet.
I like Muffins. MOLDY muffins.
[ Parent ]
Err, (none / 0) (#87)
by odaiwai on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 05:11:48 AM EST

I really doubt that the legal age of drinking is higher in the US because of a genuine medical reason.

Maybe having lots of the country founded by puritans had something to do with it...

dave
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]

right... (none / 0) (#106)
by birdsong on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 11:56:12 PM EST

Ah, yes. And this is also the reason that much of European civilization has been wiped off the earth. Oh wait, it hasn't. Their culture includes drinking before the magical age of 21. Go figure.

[ Parent ]
Sleep (none / 0) (#77)
by DodgyGeezer on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 01:03:53 AM EST

Maybe you sleep better.  I almost quit drinking when I moved to Denver.  The hangovers got so bad :(  The only thing that kept me going were my trips to England.  Besides being less dehydrated there (it's not an arid semi-desert like eastern Colorado), I would sleep very well like when I was in my late teens.  Sleep deprevation these days gives me a lot of the same symptons of a hangover.

[ Parent ]
Interesting you should mention this (none / 0) (#83)
by Ni on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 01:50:20 AM EST

I often end up feeling better than average the day after a night of drinking - I'd attributed it to the good sleep I got, as usually I sleep quite poorly.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]
Waking up still drunk (none / 0) (#71)
by MicroBerto on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 11:50:11 PM EST

I have a feeling that it has to do with the fact that you're waking up still drunk. The drunkenness is covering up what your body might be trying to tell you, and then you're solving the hangover with water before everything bites you in the ass.

Are you in college? When I was your age, I used to think I was a hard ass drinker, but didn't know hangovers either. Now I know what it's all about... :)

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

Errm.. Maybe. (none / 0) (#84)
by Ni on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 01:53:21 AM EST

I have a feeling that it has to do with the fact that you're waking up still drunk. The drunkenness is covering up what your body might be trying to tell you, and then you're solving the hangover with water before everything bites you in the ass.

Maybe, but I doubt it. I mean, waking up drunk doesn't happen all that often, so surely I would have hit the right level of alcohol consumption (enough to cause a hangover were I older / someone else, but not enough to cause me to wake up drunk) at least a couple of times if this was the case.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]

Showers...they help. (1.00 / 1) (#43)
by vile on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 02:37:05 PM EST

Hot Shower... While it ain't the end-all cure for the feeling that many of us know all too well.. it definitely gives you time to chill.. and relax.. and keeps your mind off of the effects of a hangover... baths are great, too.. combine this with the banana theory.. and massive amounts of water before you hit the bed and throughout the day.. and you should be home free soon!

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
Klin (none / 0) (#50)
by Eyck on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 04:15:34 PM EST

It's called a 'klin' around here, you just need small shot in the morning and it supposedly helps. All other methods are either pure kidding onesself, or with too long-term effects to be really helpfull.

Hmm, now this would be a great subject for dissertation, and just think how great it would be to become PhD with sth like that.

Another thing - I am not that sure if a bottle is enough to kill a healthy person.

To alcohol! (4.50 / 4) (#51)
by senjiro on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 04:16:02 PM EST

The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems!

it is by will alone that i set my mind in motion
Excellent article (none / 0) (#53)
by xee on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 04:44:38 PM EST

Except for a couple typos, this is one of the most well written articles on K5 in a long time. Cheers to Mr. Milde.


Proud to be a member.
what he said (none / 0) (#88)
by lennarth on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 10:35:03 AM EST

great stuff indeed, and the timing of it couldn't be much better either. all in all, a perfect sunday morning read.

[ Parent ]
Sill k5ers (5.00 / 6) (#54)
by DJBongHit on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 05:02:43 PM EST

Getting wasted on alcohol is no good. You feel good for a few hours while acting like a fool, then feel like shit for the rest of the night and the next day. Alcohol is for drinking and enjoying, not for getting wasted. If you have a hangover, it's your own damn fault.

Real men smoke their intoxicants.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

HEHE (none / 0) (#93)
by r00t on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 02:53:39 PM EST

Real men smoke their intoxicants.

Well said!

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]

Rookie (4.00 / 1) (#117)
by Wah on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 12:31:42 PM EST

I'm surprised the article didn't mention the luscious effects of a morning J on your hangover.  (Or an evening one on your buzz) Sure, you're pretty much worthless for the rest of the day, but that's where a good game on TV and a comfortable couch come into the picture.  

The idea is to plan an etire weekend around a good drunk.  It's those who think they can just party and be done with it that give the rest of us a bad name.  
--
Where'd you get your information from, huh?
[ Parent ]

A Better Way to 'Drink' Without Hangovers (4.75 / 4) (#56)
by anaesthetica on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 05:21:18 PM EST

Stop drinking alcohol, and start snorting it.

Instead of spending all your weekend evenings downing beer after beer and shot after shot, we should really just quit drinking alcohol. The advantages of snorting alcohol are phenomenal, and yet barely anyone knows about it. It's simple: buy yourself a nice bottle of high quality vodka, put a few drops on a spoon (or the bottom of an overturned shot glass), and snort it. You get the same effect as if you had a beer, but with only a few drops of alcohol instead of a whole bottle. Here are the many advantages of snorting vodka; I think you'll find them very compelling:

  • You gain almost no calories from snorting vodka, compared to having to drink multiple beers--no beer belly to have to work off
  • You never have to worry about skunky or nasty tasting beers and liquors
  • Since you use so little alcohol when snorting vodka, getting drunk is never a drain on your wallet, and you're free to use your money on more important things
  • If the police breathalize you or do a blood-alcohol level test, you will pass with flying colors, even when totally smashed
  • It takes no time at all to get buzzed, you don't have to wait for the beer to get through your digestive system before it can make its way into your bloodstream and travel to where it's needed most: your brain. This way you know exactly how drunk you are, and you can avoid drinking too much
  • You don't have to carry around a cup of beer at parties, which minimizes spills on your clothes and on expensive electronic equipment, and allows you to get your freak on without worry
  • You won't get killer hangovers since you're consuming so little alcohol that it really can't dehydrate you as much as drinking beer after beer would
  • You won't destroy your liver because you are consuming so little alcohol
  • If your party gets busted by campus security you only have one bottle of alcohol to hide
  • No beer stains on the floor to have to clean up
  • You are free to take drugs that have alcohol interaction warnings, like Tylenol(tm), again because the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is almost negligible
  • You don't have to piss like a racehorse after partying
  • No empties to clean up after a night of chilling
  • Your buddies will never be able to bum all your beers off you
  • You can tell people that you haven't been drinking, and you won't be lying
  • You'll never burp in inappropriate situations, so for instance if you have to burp, but you're making out with your special lady friend, you don't have to start kissing her neck just so you can let it out hoping she doesn't notice
  • No chasers required--your stocks of orange juice and coke don't disappear
  • No vomit to clean up, since you have only a few drops of alcohol in your system, and throwing up is your stomach's response to an overload of toxins
  • Your toothbrush will stop tasting like beer every Saturday morning
  • After a couple of snorts, you won't have to smell the sweaty stank of a party in a packed apartment
  • The only side effect is that your nose gets kinda numb--a small price to pay!

—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


yep, I agree (none / 0) (#63)
by sb-fire on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 07:08:45 PM EST

I found this out the hard way, I was drinking 100-proof SoCo straight in a drinking game, we were doing sips, it was a bad idea. Well I got handed some card and had to take like 11 sips or something and so I only get to drink about 3 shots of 100 proof SoCo, I can't remember how much else I had in my system. So it starts to come back up my throat but I close my mouth and force it back down, or try to, it comes out my nose, drips a few drops, and I hold my nose and suck it all in. I have a reputation of holding my own, and finishing about a half a liter of SoCo every party. Well about 30 seconds later, I am in the bathroom and it is burning my nose. Then I feel the rush, I am so shit-faced now. Your nose does go numb, and definitely becomes clean.

[ Parent ]
HCl (none / 0) (#76)
by DodgyGeezer on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 12:58:25 AM EST

That burning feeling isn't from ethanol... it's from stomache acid!

[ Parent ]
Anal intake is supposed to work wonders (none / 0) (#64)
by moeffju on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 08:35:49 PM EST

I have not tried it myself, and I probably never will, but... you might want to try.
Should work better than snorting, I have been told.


[ Parent ]
You really didn't want to mention this... (4.50 / 2) (#97)
by bobjim on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 05:09:33 PM EST

Here's how it works: The rectum is lined with mucus membranes. These membranes (like the ones beneath your tongue and in your nose) absorb solvents very well. A little way inside the rectum is the portal vein. This vein bypasses the liver. So, alcohol inside the rectum is absorbed by the mucus membrane and transferred to the portal vein, which carries the alcohol into the brain without first bothering to go through the liver. This means that a lot more alcohol hits the brain than would otherwise happen.

Now, the upside to this is that less alcohol is required. The major downside is that you have no idea how much alcohol has been absorbed into your system, which means that instead of being 'nicely drunk' you could end up 'hammered' or, indeed, instead of ending up 'nicely drunk' or 'hammered' you end up 'dying of alcohol poisoning'. This is a bad thing. You also risk upsetting the balance of bacteria that live inside your rectum, leading to nasty illnesses which will be really embarassing to explain to your docor.

I feel I should mention that although I know far too much about this, I have never and never intend to try this myself.

There is another interesting method of ingesting alcohol, although only open to approx. 50% of the population. Vaginal administration. I imagine this would sting like hell and cause yeast infections or suchlike.

The world's such a wonderful place, isn't it?
--
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

Sure (none / 0) (#121)
by icastel on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 05:58:14 PM EST

I feel I should mention that although I know far too much about this, I have never and never intend to try this myself.

We believe you. Sure. :)




-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
A friend (4.00 / 1) (#118)
by anon868 on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 12:54:33 PM EST

I have a 'friend' who has done this. The problem is, as stated, there's no way to figure out how much you'll absorb, so you can end up anywhere from no effects to completley hammered. Much of the hangover effects are gone, but the headache is still there, presumably from the absorbed alcohol. Also, it's messy (think of the logistics), and there is a real chance of dying from alcohol poisining, because you can never tell how much you're going to absorbe. The maximum seems to be about two glasses of wine before you're in real danger territory. (And people may look at you funny carrying your drink and an enema bag into the bathroom at the bar.
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
[ Parent ]
Hmm... (none / 0) (#80)
by EriKZ on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 01:20:17 AM EST

Although it sounds intresting, I find it hard to belive that it won't damage your nose over time. I enjoy my sense of smell. :)

[ Parent ]
Is there some medical evidence support to this? (none / 0) (#110)
by BruTeQ on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 08:17:52 AM EST

A couple of points, as an amateur but well read medico:

First off, you'd still swallow a whole lot of alcohol -- it'd just be through your nose instead of though your mouth.

I <u>THINK</u> snorting alcohol still absorbs the alcohol into your blood. It's the way you get drunk; if it didn't, there would be no point to snorting the alcohol.

When cops give you the Breathalyser (The standard in Australia, then comes the blood test) it measures the alcohol that is transpired through the alveoli in your lungs -- and would show up as having drunk the equivalent of what you had drunk.

Not using alcohol is also a fallacy: you still use the alcohol, you just don't need as much  of alcohol solution (Vodka, in this post, but could be anything containing an alcohol) because it gets absorbed more directly through the mucous membranes in your nose. It also has the side effect of drying the membranes out -- which can lead bleeding and other things.

[ Parent ]

this won't do it (none / 0) (#114)
by Jim Tour on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 10:47:05 AM EST

Half the pleasure in drinking is bottoming up with everybody else- it's a social thing. What do you do, prance around the party sniffing a spoon? Or you do your deed in the bathroom on the sly? What fun is that?

[ Parent ]
Medicinal use. (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by axxeman on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 10:59:33 AM EST

Snorting medicinal alcohol when I was about 9 or 10 cured my chronic bronchitis like nothing else would. I kid you not. Whether it was good or bad for the sinuses is still anyone's guess, however. God bless uncle Ziko.

Being or not being married isn't going to stop bestiality or incest. --- FlightTest
[ Parent ]

Russian vodka users (!) (none / 0) (#122)
by angusgr on Tue Aug 20, 2002 at 03:42:23 AM EST

This reminds me of a party some friends had once.

This crazy Russian guy (I live in Australia) came along and he had some strange stories to tell. He had lived in St Petersburg and the best thing he said all night was...

"Back in Russia, when I used to sniff petrol..."   He said it like it was the most natural thing to say when you begin a sentence.

Anyhow, he told me and a friend a story about how they used to have one bottle of vodka between ten of them, and it would last a month. How? They injected it.

I take it this is probably not safe or wise, but he seemed quite serious about it and AFAIK he wasn't telling these stories as bullsh*t, he was telling them (I think) because he didn't understand why we were all binge drinking in such an inefficient manner.

(He later convinced me and two other guys to have a "coffee shot" with him. That is, you stick a spoonful of instant coffee in your mouth and down it with vodka. I don't remember what it tasted like, cos I was too smashed. Although I kept it down I don't recommend it to anyone.)

(Disclaimer: Just cos this guy was Russian, I don't mean to imply all Russians are vodka-injecting, petrol-sniffing, coffee-spooning, loonies. This guy was no doubt an oddball in his home country too.)

[ Parent ]

My prevention techniques (3.00 / 2) (#65)
by MicroBerto on Sat Aug 17, 2002 at 11:35:21 PM EST

When I'm partying like a maniac at school, I have a few tricks that help prevent hangover.

At the end of the night, if I still know what's going on and am not passing out hard-core (which I can usually do, even after a long 20 beer night), I stay up just a bit longer and chug as much water as possible. Play some mp3s, and take 3 ibouprofins. Squeeze out any more piss after that and go to bed.

I'll usually wake up when I have to go to the bathroom, but I tell you, those Advils prevent the hangover MUCH better than if I take them in the morning when it's too little, too late.

I notice that when I take my contacts out before passing out, I don't wake up as crappy either.

Finally, if I have a hangover because my steps above failed, or I was unable to do them, I get up, take my ibouprofin, drink loads of water, and WORK OUT. Sweating out the alcohol and pumping some adrenaline does wonders for me, and I'm able to take a nap and wake up in time for more boozin up!

... And life is good! In exactly one week, I'll be back at school for the Pigskin Classicf football game against Texas Tech, and I guarantee you I'll be needing my own tips.

Oh, and for those football game-day Saturday morning hangovers: Wake up, drink that first beer (I prefer an easy Bud Light)... it might be rough, but then after that, it's fun and easy!

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip

Alcohol + Ibuprofen = Probably Bad (none / 0) (#96)
by bobjim on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 04:52:29 PM EST

Both alcohol and ibuprofen (ie. advil) are metabolised by your liver. Putting extra strain on the liver is not a good thing. Also, alcohol and ibuprofen can cause your stomach to bleed. This is also not a good thing.

In fact, any OTC analgesics in combination with alcohol are probably bad.
--
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

re: alcohol + ibuprofen (none / 0) (#100)
by tgibbs on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 05:57:22 PM EST

Both alcohol and ibuprofen (ie. advil) are metabolised by your liver. Putting extra strain on the liver is not a good thing.
The liver is in the business of metabolizing things; it metabolizes all sorts of stuff, including much of what you eat. So the mere fact that the liver metabolizes something does not mean that it "stresses" the liver. The main concern is that a breakdown product might be toxic--in which case your liver is first in line to take damage.

Of course, there is reason to be cautious about combining drugs with alcohol, but I'd be wary of warning people away ibuprofen. People who drink frequently get headaches, and they are probably going to take something. Ibuprofen probably is the least dangerous of the three common over-the-counter analgesics. In particular, Acetominophen (Tylenol) really can destroy your liver when combined with alcohol.

[ Parent ]

Indeed... (none / 0) (#101)
by bobjim on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 06:36:21 PM EST

Acetominophen can destroy your liver through lots of things, including normal usage. And especially through accidental overdose.

Ibuprofen and aspirin are definitely safer than acetominophen, but with both there's a definite risk of stomach bleeding. Especially if done regularly.
--
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

+1FP Almost as good as go post. (1.00 / 1) (#91)
by Fen on Sun Aug 18, 2002 at 01:12:00 PM EST

I don't give a flying f about Israel. This and the go post make kuro5hin worthwhile.
--Self.
A note on aspirin (4.00 / 1) (#107)
by wintermute204 on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 01:59:10 AM EST

I don't know about anybody else, but if I take aspirin with beer in my stomach it makes me puke like crazy. 2 aspirin chased down by one beer has equaled projectile vomit the last (and only) 2 times I did it. So no more aspirirn w/booze for YT. -w

Hangovers shouldn't get stars (5.00 / 3) (#108)
by epepke on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 02:58:29 AM EST

They should get little toilets.

Come to think of it, a lot of movies should get little toilets instead of stars, too.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


the real problem with alcohol (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by Shren on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 08:42:28 AM EST

It's hidden in the first paragraph.

It has been thus since some ancient human first left a pile of crushed grapes to fester for a while, took a swig, and eventually ended up with the caveman version of a lampshade on his head -- followed by the first hangover in human history.

The problem isn't alcohol but modern alcohol. Alcohol these days exists in strengths undreamed of and probably unwanted by our ancestors. They made alcohol for many reasons - to have a drink safer than water, for religious reasons, for storage reasons, for taste. We make it for one reason - to get shitfaced - and it shows.

The problem with vices these days is that modern science has made them 'better'. Modern alcohol - with 25% levels of ethyl alcohol being common - is downright toxic. Modern sugar in it's purified form has done serious things to obesity statistics. Modern cocaine is the most addicitive substance on the planet and has turned South America into a warzone, yet generations uncounted before us chewed coca leaves without harm.

Bigger and better and stronger and faster is great when it comes to architecture, or transportation, or medicine, or any number of things. That motto gets applied to everything, including recreational chemistry, and one wonders if we're really better off for it.

I think this is a really tired argument. (4.00 / 1) (#125)
by amarodeeps on Tue Aug 20, 2002 at 11:28:43 PM EST

There's some problems...first of all, what is your context? All your point seems to be is that 'alcohol is now worse than ever' although that doesn't make much sense. What, is there more alcoholism? Is there more drunken driving (certainly more than there was before the twentieth century...)? Are there more deaths from alcohol? What's yer angle?

I mean, good god man, have you ever read about the f$cking Romans? Holy shit. I'm pretty sure I've yet to meet somebody in this scientifically advanced modern age who could have drank Tiberius under the table.

If you'd read the article, you would have read that distilled spirits were first "discovered by the ancient Romans over 2,000 years ago, and brought to a fine art by the monks of the Middle Ages." That's pretty much the strongest stuff still being drunk...or does everybody you know drink straight Everclear or medical ethanol straight? No, of course not, because alcohol in these forms will kill you before you even start to get a buzz. You have to cut them with, say, fruit punch to drink them and enjoy them. Rendering them pretty close to say, distilled spirits. Yes, 'ice' beer is stronger, but only something like 9-10% I believe. Uh...but what about, say, whiskey? Where's the bigger badder claim? What type of alcohol are you talking about that is consumed so readily by the populace with this insanely high alcohol level when somehow every liquor store I've been to in the states (sorry, can't speak for the rest of the world) seems to have the same old beer, wine, spirits that I've always seen? Or maybe you're talking about the range of bastard alcohol drinks that keep popping up like wine coolers, zima, hard lemonade, smirnoff ice, etc...(yuck, BTW) These are always generally in the 5-15% alcohol range as far as I've been able to tell. Still nothing like some straight Jack Daniels.

Okay, now I'm going to make an assumption that you actually had a point, and that the point might have been that alcoholism is rampant in this day and age, moreso than it used to be (not that I am conceding that, I don't know one way or the other. Show me the data). Well, what/who's fault is that? Maybe possibly there are socio-economic factors involved, do ya think? If you want to bring up the fact that 'malt beverages' in large volumes with a bit higher alcohol content are systematically targetted at poor communities then we might start to have something like a point here...but again, I don't know what you were really trying to say, other than alcohol sure is scary these days, way more than when you was a young'un.



[ Parent ]
Don't agree with charactorization of effects (none / 0) (#116)
by cod on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 11:14:41 AM EST

The article indicates that alcohol induces a mild euphoria followed by a depressive effect. In my experience, both personally and seing this effect on many others, alcohol amplifies whatever mental state you are already in. If you in a great mood, celebrating a victory of some sort, you'll drink all night and just get happier. However, if drinking because your depressed or upset, your mood will get worse with each additional drink. It doesn't automatically produce any sort of upper effect, although it probably be even more popular if it did! Anybody else see it this way?

No, but yes (none / 0) (#120)
by avdi on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 03:26:56 PM EST

I know too many people who report the same effects as you to dispute them.  For myself however, I find that alcohol almost invariably lifts my spirits, no matter what kind of mood I'm in.  Unfortunately, the blacker the mood, the less inclined to drink I find myself; so someone usually has to practically pour the stuff down my throat if I'm to be cheered up.

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir
[ Parent ]
Stranded skiers and booze (none / 0) (#119)
by skintigh on Mon Aug 19, 2002 at 03:17:40 PM EST

I thought a study prooved that alcohol raises body temperature and so would help save a stranded skiers life...?

not so much raising body temperature (none / 0) (#123)
by janra on Tue Aug 20, 2002 at 01:14:28 PM EST

The alcohol doesn't raise the body temperature so much as it acts like antifreeze. I remember hearing about this one drunk who fell asleep in a snowbank when it was I think -20 out, and slept there for a few hours before he was found. The doctors said the only reason he didn't lose all his limbs was because the amount of alcohol he drank acted like antifreeze and stopped a lot of the cells from freezing and rupturing.

I think that takes a pretty extreme amount of alcohol though.


--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
Another theory (none / 0) (#124)
by func on Tue Aug 20, 2002 at 01:57:19 PM EST

This theory comes from growing up with -56C winters, and drinking lots too. Overall, a shot of alcohol will likely cause a skiier to loose total body heat more quickly, and hasten his demise, mostly due to the dilation of surface blood vessels. However, if we assume that the skiier will be rescued before his core temps drops enough to kill him or seriously damage his internal organs, a shot of alcohol could save his extremities from severe frostbite. When most people get cold, the body shuts down blood flow to the extremities to conserve total body heat; but this often comes at the expense of those very extremities. I've heard that Inuit don't have that particular reaction - therefore they can mess around in extreme cold without loosing limbs, provided they get back to shelter before they totally shut down. So, I figure a shot of alcohol could help a stranded skiier avoid frostbite in the near term, as long as they get rescued within a few hours.

[ Parent ]
Beer Goggles Scientifically Confirmed (4.00 / 1) (#126)
by meehawl on Wed Aug 21, 2002 at 04:43:17 PM EST

Anyone who doubts that alcohol is just another psychoactive substance similar to cannabis or cocaine will be upset to find that Scottish scientists have confirmed the reality of the perceptual hallucination known as Beer Goggles.

Apparently, drinking only a moderate amount of alchohol renders others around 25% more attractive on a normalized scale. Apparently, alcohol is synthezised in the body into the GABA neurotransmitter, which acts on the nucleus accumbens as a depressant.

The nucleus accumbens, part of the basal ganglia, is also targeted by cocaine, amphetamine, and most central nervous system stimulants or depressants. There's some overlap with these dopamine-based drugs, but alcohol (and similar drugs such as GHB and Heroin) seem to have their very own distinct psychoactive reward system:

The alcohol reward system also includes the VTA (ventral tegmental area) and nucleus accumbens and affects the structures that use GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) as a neurotransmitter. GABA is widely distributed in numerous areas of the brain, including the cortex, cerebellum, hippocampus, superior and inferior colliculi, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens. The VTA and the nucleus accumbens are two structures involved in the reward system for all drugs, including alcohol and tobacco.

Mike Rogers www.meehawl.com
Science and the Five-Star Hangover | 127 comments (116 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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