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Issue 7 - When the party's over

Whisky Magazine Issue 7
December 1999

 

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When the party's over

Fed up with feeling rough after a heavy session? Cheer up, Doctor Tom Stuttaford reveals some surprising- and comforting- facts about achieving a quality hangover.

Shakespeare, in describing the increasing decrepitude which overtakes everyone, overlooked one important, but pleasurable, advantage about growing old; 'sans everything' includes hangovers. The inevitable atrophy of the brain in old age also has the great advantage of allowing room for the organ to swell after a heavy evening's drinking. In earlier life, the brain fits snugly in the skull and, when swollen with excess fluid (oedema), becomes compressed within the unyielding bony cranium, thereby causing a racking headache. For most people aged over 60, their brains have shrunk like an old walnut in its shell and this painful aspect of the hangover is, like the sexual exploits of youth, only a memory.

The headache may be the most celebrated aspect of a hangover, but sufferers know just as well of other symptoms. Next day the heavy drinker feels over-tired, irritable, depressed, has a loss of appetite combined with bouts of nausea, shakes and sweats and is troubled by a highly sensitive gut.

People become intoxicated because they have drunk more than their metabolism can cope with. It doesn't matter if the drink is of good, or poor quality, it doesn't matter if grape and grain are mixed, and both helped down with beer. An unwise mixture may make you feel sick, but it won't make you any more, or less, inebriated.

Hangovers, on the other hand, are very dependent on the nature of the drink, its quality, as well as its quantity. The hangover in part is not only related to the a...

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