Opinion

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The science behind the hangover

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📥  Heath Science & Technology

With the festive season upon us many of us will indulge in the odd tipple at the office party or enjoy a drink or two with friends and family. But why do some of us wake up feeling horrendous the next morning, while others are seemingly unaffected by overindulgence?

Dr Sally Adams examines the science behind the hangover.

Dr Sally Adams examines the science behind the hangover.

Dr Sally Adams, a health psychologist in our Department of Psychology who examines the cognitive and behavioural mechanisms behind alcohol consumption, has looked at the 'the science of the hangover' and the impact our genes have in determining whether we wake up with a thick head or not.

She said: "This year has seen some fascinating work in the field of hangover research, with scientists investigating the contribution of our DNA to the experience of alcohol-related hangover. This might help us understand why some people are more prone to hangovers, while others seem to 'dodge a bullet' when it comes to feeling rough the morning after the night before.

"Much research has examined the influence of our inherited biology on alcohol intoxication, and our risk for alcohol misuse. We are finding out more about how genes interact with environmental factors to influence how much we drink, our susceptibility to becoming dependent on alcohol and also our likelihood of experiencing a hangover.

"But before you go blaming your parents, it's worth remembering that differences in our experiences of hangovers are only half genetic. Environmental factors – including the availability of alcohol and peer drinking - which are currently less well understood play a critical role too."

Read more from Sally, as featured in the Guardian Science Sifting the Evidence blog:

- Hangover severity may be partly genetic - December 2014

- The science of hangovers - December 2013

Follow Sally on Twitter @SallyScientist.

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