60-Second Science

The Hangover: Part N+1

Developing a hangover doesn't prevent or even significantly delay the next drinking bout. Sophie Bushwick reports 


“I'm never drinking again. And this time I mean it!
Anyone who's suffered through a bad hangover has muttered these words. But does a hangover even delay your next drink?
Scientists recruited almost 400 adults who consumed alcohol at least once a week. At the beginning of the study, the participants answered questions about alcohol and nicotine dependence. Afterwards, they kept drinking diaries for three weeks. They also kept morning and bedtime reports on their mental status and stress level.
To see if hangovers inspired participants to delay their next binge, researchers measured the time between drinking episodes. On average, hangovers did postpone the next drink—but only by about six hours. The work is published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. [Amee J. Epler et al, Does Hangover Influence the Time to Next Drink? An Investigation Using Ecological Momentary Assessment]
In addition to discovering that hangovers fail to deter drinking, the study found that people with alcohol dependence or financial stress were more likely to develop hangovers. And of course, the only way to prevent hangovers entirely was to limit drinking. Cheers!

—Sophie Bushwick

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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