The Morning After: One Man’s Quest for a Hangover Cure

According to Bishop-Stall, a hangover consists of two forces combining to type a third pressure of nice evil, like heat water and a storm cluster smashing collectively into a hurricane. One of the forces is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, which is the explanation the lavatory traces in bars are so lengthy and why you get up from a binge gasping for water. The second pressure is fatigue. Although alcohol sedates you, it received’t allow entry to the deepest ranges of sleep, which is why you possibly can move out for hours and nonetheless get up feeling (and physiologically being) exhausted.


Identifying the reason for a drawback, after all, will not be the identical as having an antidote. Bishop-Stall combs by way of reviews and data, previous and current, for purported hangover cures, of which there are various: stuff your socks with inexperienced hemlock and stroll round on the leaves all day, eat orange Popsicles, drink prune juice, take kudzu-root tablets, have somebody bury you in hay, drink charcoal dissolved in heat milk, swallow frankincense capsules. He cheerfully exams a number of the extra unique cures, like floating in a healing Austrian lake whereas listening to pan pipes from underwater audio system, being palpated by a strong-handed masseuse, boiling in a caldron of herbs and hooking himself as much as an IV drip of electrolytes, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, nutritional vitamins and anti-nausea medication. None of those counteract the distress of overindulgence.

They do, nonetheless, yield perception when undertaken in bulk. All hangover cures belong to one in all three classes. Some are palliative, like anti-nausea medication. Others are distractive, like being palpated. Still others focus discomfort into a violent however circumscribed time frame, like being boiled in a caldron, as a form of psychological purgative. The medical time period for hangover is veisalgia, which comes from a Norwegian phrase that means “uneasiness after debauchery.” Veisalgia hints on the scrim of despair and self-loathing that’s a hangover’s most elusive ingredient, and the one which resists each dispelling mechanism we will throw at it.

You might profitably crop-dust a cocktail get together with the factoids in “Hungover.” Consider a ingesting ritual, common within the Netherlands, that includes slurping ice-cold grain alcohol from a tulip-shaped glass, adopted by a beer chaser. The identify of this ritual, kopstooje, interprets as “little head-butt.” The Spanish phrase for hangover, cruda, means “rawness.” The German phrase, Kater, means “tomcat,” presumably as in being mauled by one. Bishop-Stall even reveals an emergency-room case report about a affected person who suffered from paralysis of the arm after getting drunk and passing out with it draped awkwardly over a suitcase. This sufferer of “alcohol-induced crush syndrome” was saved by emergency surgical procedure.

Bishop-Stall’s archival rooting-around is extra attention-grabbing than his memoir through-line. Although he’s a lovable narrator, he’s additionally a fairly regular one, and his actions — planning a bachelor get together, consuming cheese, cat-sitting for his dad and mom — don’t all the time rise to the extent of ebook materials. But that’s O.Okay. You count on a ebook about alcohol to ramble a little, and his dedication to the topic greater than compensates. Many writers would have given up the challenge after urinating in a public fountain or wandering alone into a darkish German forest or vomiting into a sombrero. Bishop-Stall doesn’t. Two-thirds in, he admits that he’s “pretty much drunk every night now,” which means that the ebook was written in precisely the twilight zone it goals to make clear.

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