By Kate Hakala
On some unfortunate Sunday mornings, as we stare into the depths of our toilet bowls after a long hurl session and put a palm to our throbbing heads, most of us repeat the mantra, “I am NEVER drinking again!” Though temperance would be the global cure for our perpetual hangovers, drinking also seems to give us amnesia, because we forget about our promises, and we keep coming back for more.
So, the lush in me and the boozehound in you wants to know: What’s happening to our bodies after we drink? And, if we don’t want to become teetotalers, are there any cures for the ultra-humbling, apocalyptic phenomenon that is a hangover?
A hangover, or veisalgia for fancy folk, is that horrific nest of sensations experienced after a night of heavy drinking. It can often involve a collection of symptoms like headache, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, the spins, sensitivity to light and sound, tremors, fatigue, cottonmouth, and an overall sense of bodily dread. Golden ways to produce a killer hangover include drinking on an empty stomach, drinking after a night of poor sleep, being dehydrated before you drink, being sick to start with and increased physical activity, such as getting a little too groovy on the dance floor while drunk. In order to best surmise how to undo the damage in the morning, scientists are trying to uncover exactly what kind of harm we are doing during our few hours of revelry.