Alcohol hangover: A critical review of explanatory factors

Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, School of Psychology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental (Impact Factor: 2.19). 06/2009; 24(4):259-67. DOI: 10.1002/hup.1023
Source: PubMed


To describe the hangover phenomenon and briefly review its main explanatory factors.
Bibliographic research on main databases (Medline and Psychinfo).
Alcohol hangover is characterized by adverse physical and mental effects that occur the next morning after the intake of toxic doses of alcohol. This phenomenon is a very frequent experience among alcohol-consuming people and it has been associated to high socio-economic costs, mainly due to absenteeism and poor performance in academic and work settings. Multiple theories exist to explain the appearance and severity of hangover, such as direct or indirect effects of alcohol, alcohol withdrawal, and toxic effects of alcoholic beverage congeners or of alcohol metabolites. In addition, a number of intervening factors have been identified, such as vulnerability to alcohol dependence or psychological factors.
Although several studies analyze and describe hangover, it is still poorly understood. Further well-designed studies with a unitary methodology and clear operational criteria to define hangover are necessary in order to clarify such a phenomenon. We suggest some future working ideas that should be pursued in order to address the current shortcomings.

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Available from: Ana Adan, Jun 21, 2015
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    • "Persons with hangover tend to become more aggressive and violent (Brewer and Swahn, 2005). Since the symptoms of hangover can last for a maximum of 24 hours (Prat et al., 2009), and affect cognitive, occupational, and visual-spatial skill performance, they may cause a series of problems when people work, drive, and perform other activities (Prat et al., 2009). Alcohol hangover also increases cardiovascular morbidity (Wiese et al., 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Alcohol consumption is influenced by heritable factors. The genetic influence on usual high-density drinking, including alcohol intoxication and hangover, is unknown. We aim to estimate the heritability of usual high-density drinking.MethodsA total of 13,511 male twins in this cross-sectional study were included from the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (NAS-NRC) Twin Registry. Data on the frequency of alcohol intoxication and alcohol hangover over the past year, that is, usual high-density drinking (phenotypes), were collected through a self-administered questionnaire when twins were middle-aged in 1972. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate the variance components of phenotypes.ResultsThe mean of the frequency of usual high-density drinking in the entire twin population was 0.16 times per month for intoxication and 0.18 times per month for hangover. The heritability of usual alcohol intoxication was 50.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 46.2 to 55.0) before and 49.9% (95% CI 45.3 to 54.2) after the body mass index (BMI) adjustment. The heritability of usual hangover was 55.4% (95% CI 51.2 to 58.6) before and 54.8% (95% CI 50.6 to 58.8) after adjustment for BMI. Unshared environmental factors between co-twins explained the remaining variance in alcohol intoxication and in hangover.Conclusions Both genetic and unshared environmental factors have important influences on usual alcohol intoxication and hangover. These findings are important in understanding the occurrence of and developing interventions for usual high-density drinking.
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    • "The complexity of withdrawal phenotypes ( Martinotti et al . , 2008 ; Cooper and Haney , 2009 ; Cruickshank and Dyer , 2009 ; Henningfi eld et al . , 2009 ; Prat et al . , 2009 ; Shoptaw et al . , 2009 ; Teixeira , 2009 ; Wu et al . , 2009 ) , as well as the dif - fi culty in modeling withdrawal syndrome in animals ( Keane and Leonard , 1989 ; Becker , 2000 ; Braw et al . , 2008 ) , repre - sent another challenge . Potentially interesting directions of research could focus on neurochemical alterations , neural"
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    Reviews in the neurosciences 02/2011; 22(1):95-105. DOI:10.1515/RNS.2011.011 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    • "Thus clear mechanisms remain elusive, with a need for supporting clinical data. It is well understood that muscle cramps, pain and a loss of proprioception are common symptoms of alcohol misuse [19]; however the underlying mechanisms remain speculative. "
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