Some people actually feel more hungover than others; genetics could help reveal why
after a good night, you may not be surprised when you wake up feeling sick the next morning. But what may surprise you is that your friends don’t feel the same way. Some may feel worse, some better, and some (if they’re lucky) may not feel any of the negative consequences at all.
This is the variability of a hangover. In research, hangovers are measured on an 11-point scale (zero with no effect and 10 with an extreme hangover). In my own research, participants reported hangovers on this scale between one (very mild) and eight (severe), while other research has estimated that around 5 percent of people may be hangover resistant.
So why the difference? There is more than just how much we drink. Researchers are now beginning to explore the many biological and psychological mechanisms that might influence our hangover experience.
The biology of hangovers
Some research suggests that people with a gene variation ALDH2 report experiencing more severe hangovers.
When we consume alcohol, the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase breaks it down into acetaldehyde, a chemical that is important for the appearance of hangover symptoms. However, the ALDH2 gene variant limits the breakdown of acetaldehyde, leading to increased buildup of the chemical compound and thus increased hangover symptoms.
age and sex it can also influence the way a hangover is experienced. A recent online survey of 761 Dutch alcohol consumers found that hangover severity decreases with age, even when the amount of alcohol consumed is adjusted. Interestingly, the authors also reported differences in hangover severity between men and women. These sex differences were greater in younger drinkers, with young men (ages 18 to 25) tending to report more severe hangovers compared to younger female drinkers. However, it is currently not known why these differences exist.
The psychology of a hangover
Certain psychological traits may be linked to how a hangover is experienced, including anxiety, depression, stress levels, and even personality.
Previously, research suggested that neuroticism, a broad personality trait that tends to cause people to view the world negatively, may predict the severity of a hangover. However, this idea has recently been challenged, with another study finding no link between hangover and personality.
This is somewhat surprising, given that extroversion (a personality trait generally characterized by being outgoing and extroverted) is positively associated with binge drinking behaviors in college students, although it does not appear to be related to worse hangovers. This is despite evidence that more frequent binge drinking is linked to more severe hangover experiences.
Anxiety, depression and stress they are also linked to more severe hangovers. Each of these moods is associated with a “negative bias,” a tendency to interpret the world more negatively. our findings Showing hangovers also tends to make people interpret the world negatively. As a result, hangovers can exacerbate this negative bias, making some people feel worse than others.
how to cope
It is possible that the way we face adverse situations is the basis of the variation in hangover experiences.
Pain catastrophizing refers to the extent to which a person emphasizes the negative experience of pain. Research shows that people with high pain scores catastrophizing report more severe hangovers —suggesting that they are targeting your negative symptoms and possibly amplifying them. Other studies have also shown that people who tend to deal with their problems by ignoring or denying them tend to experience worst hangovers.
Emotion regulation is another key psychological mechanism that helps us deal with difficult situations by effectively managing and responding to emotional experiences. Interestingly, although people who are hungover report feeling that it is more difficult regulate your emotions, this may not actually be the case, as research shows that participants are just as capable of controlling their emotional response compared to those who were not hungover. This could mean that people choose easier (but less effective) regulatory strategies during a hangover, such as avoiding feelings of guilt or shame. But this is yet to be determined.
Although researchers may have identified some natural compounds that can alleviate in general hangover symptoms, more research is still needed to determine if these should be recommended for treatment. Meanwhile, the best strategy for relieve your hangover It’s going to be up to you to determine.
But a study suggests a strategy commonly used by students to cope with the misery of a hangover: “suffer” together and joining your experiences — can help alleviate at least some of the negative emotional effects of a hangover. Taking care of your own personal well-being more generally and finding better strategies to reduce stress levels and adopt better coping mechanisms can also help you deal with the negative consequences of a hangover.
Although, of course, if you want to avoid a hangover, you can always choose non-alcoholic alternatives.
This article was originally published on The conversation for craig gun in it university of bristol. Read the original article here.