What really causes hangovers?

What really causes hangovers? Although I am an experienced drinker, I ALWAYS get the most horrible hangovers! Yes, I drink lots of water and no, I do not mix my alcohols, and no, I don’t drink on an empty stomach. But if I go out drinking (average of 8 beers, for example, which I don’t think is too excessive) I am out of comission for the next 24 hours feeling worse than any real sickness I have ever experienced. Any insight? This is really cramping my social life…

What I’ve heard from my mother, a nurse, and various other medical sources:

Hangovers are the result of severe dehydration. The chemical reactions in your body brought on by all the drinking cause your cells to consume water like mad. But quickly, they run out of a water supply, so they then turn to your blood (which, aside from hemoglobin and platelets, is mostly water).

Ever notice that if you drink while sitting down, you stand up and get the head rush? That’s lightheadedness brought on by the lack of blood to brain tissue.

Anyone out there who is actually medically qualified, and can back up/debunk this theory?

Karlene

dehydration

"This is really cramping my social life…"

Can’t have that now, can we?

Since tempering your intake doesn’t appear to be a solution you want to consider, your first source for answers is always Our Beloved Master Cecil Adams. (He’s this message board’s raison d’etre.)

Cecil finishes his column with a recipe for a hangover curative, saying, “It’s claimed this completely eliminates the effects of light to moderate consumption of alcohol.”

IMHO, 8 beers in one evening doesn’t qualify as “moderate”. But then again, I don’t HAVE a social life (married w/ toddler child) and rarely drink more than 2 beers at a sitting.

BTW, as an “experienced drinker”, is 8 beers enough to get you 'faced?

Call me silly, but I view a hangover as your body’s way of telling you that you overdid your alcohol intake, and to take it easier next time. Just food for thought…

Beloved Master Cecil mentions congeners, I was taught congeners were toxins left behind after the alcohol was metabolized, thus causing the hangover.

I don’t know about other types of alcohol but for me, someone that limits his alcoholic intake almost entirely to wine, if I drink a glass or two of vitamin D milk before bed I’m perfectly alright the next day.

I discovered this purely by accident but even when I’ve overimbibed, the milk has left me perfectly lucid and capable the next morning. Mind you I have horrific gas, but I’m up and atom.

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=83841&highlight=hangover

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=49953&highlight=hangover

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=30885&highlight=hangover

8 beers sounds pretty excessive…for a girl.

If you’re dring water so you don’t get dehydrated then maybe alcohol just brings on migraine headaches for you.
I can drink more than eight beers without a hangover but once in a great while I’ll get a sever migraine only after drinking one or two.

Also, maybe it’s possible that you’re not spacing the drinks out far enough.

After all else fails and you do wake up with a hangover, the best cure is a supersized burger meal at Mcdonalds. A greasy-ass hambuger with a GIANT drink. I hate McDonalds but it does cure hangovers.

Isn’t it funny that more research hasn’t been done on the subject of hangovers. Don’t get me wrong, landing a man on the moon is wonderful and instant coffee is way up there on the list of things that make a civilization.

But … curing hangovers? That would be a solution to one of the worlds longest unsolved problem.

It is my understanding that cheap liquor causes hangovers. I never get hangovers, no matter what I drink (even the time I had 6 tequilla shots in 10 minutes).

Overpowered malt liquor and Amaretto. These things, apparently, should not be mixed. I think I’m going to go back to bed for the third time today soon.

Ok, yet again…

Ethanol metabolization requires more or less 6 parts water to 2 parts ethanol to 1 part vitamine C
Hangovers are caused by dehydration AND electrolyte imbalance.

best way to stop a hang over.

After you finish drinking, take a vitamine C supplement then take a 64oz bottle of poweraid or similar sports drink and dilute it down 1 for 4 or 1 for 2 and consume. Not only are you replacing fluids, but you are also replacing solutes.

In my experience, Dopefests. Doper gatherings of any sort, really, but Dopefests are the most effective. As it were.

I completely agree with one of Cecil’s hangover fixes.

What?

Oh, nevermind. :wink:

Best cure for hangover for me is sleep. If I ‘pass out’ or go to sleep from alcohol-induced drowsiness, I don’t seem to sleep very well. Perhaps my brain is too shot to get into REM sleep (I don’t dream either).

When I get a hangover, I generally consume nothing but water for several hours the following morning then nap for 3-6 hours. When I wake up, I feel like a new man.