04/03/2014 07:13 GMT | Updated 04/03/2014 07:59 GMT

Hangovers 'Do Not Deter Drinkers' From Getting Back On It, Research Shows

Waking up the morning after the night before with a hangover from hell does not stop drinkers from getting back on it, public health researchers have revealed.

But equally sore heads do not encourage a 'hair of the dog' mentality, where drinkers reach for the booze to ease their weary heads.

In fact, according to recent findings, feeling like your head has been put through a blender neither deters nor encourages more drinking.


Researchers analysed the drinking habits of 386 young adults, by asking them to complete a three week drink diary.

Participants were required to make a diary entry each morning, rating the likelihood of drinking later the same day.

These entries provided researchers with data on 2,276 drinking episodes, including 463 self-reported hangovers.

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"Our main finding is that hangovers appear to have a very modest effect on subsequent drinking," said Thomas Piasecki, lead author of the study which is published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"It was striking that ratings made on hangover and non-hangover mornings did not differ. Even when the drinkers were acutely suffering a hangover, it didn't seem to affect their conscious drinking intentions. No doubt this reflects the fact that drinking behaviour is determined by a host of factors, like day of the week, opportunity, and social plans."

This study can may help to guide medical staff when advising people on alcohol consumption, says Damaris J. Rohsenow, a professor of behavioural and social sciences at Brown University School of Public Health.


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"The message here for clinicians is that it is probably a waste of time to discuss hangovers when trying to motivate a problem drinker to drink less or drink less often.

"Drinkers do not seem to be bothered that much by the temporary discomfort of a hangover, since it does not get them to delay their drinking in any meaningful way, and since other studies show that young drinkers often perceive hangovers to be neutral or positive experiences."

"Remember that hangovers are 100 percent preventable by abstaining from alcohol or drinking responsibly," advised Piasecki. "Of course, experiencing frequent hangovers is a warning sign that should probably prompt you to reflect upon your drinking, and to consider seeking help if you are having difficulty drinking within safe limits."