Does Anything Work When Battling a Hangover?

ByABC News via via logo

Dec. 31, 2005 — -- New Year's Eve is known for revelry and is often enhanced by a few drinks -- sometimes a little more than a few drinks.

It might be fun at the time, but those who know the pain of a nasty hangover can imagine how helpful a hangover pill or patch might be.

Unfortunately, pills and patches now on the market "haven't been proven," according to "Good Morning America" medical contributor Dr. David Katz of the Yale Medical School.

The alleged cures "are a mix of various nutrients and there are some things -- particularly in the patch -- that could be helpful, but no proof," Katz said.

After thousands and thousands of years of alcohol consumption, medical professionals are still not really sure what causes a hangover -- but it likely is the result of imbibing major amounts of alcohol, which produces a toxin after the body processes it. When people drink too much, their livers are not able to keep up with processing the toxins.

"Alcohol also causes dehydration, and dehydration can cause headaches and nausea," Katz said. "Alcohol also disturbs sleep. So even though it feels like you slept 12 hours, you probably didn't get REM sleep, so you won't feel rested the next day."

Katz added that drinks with more chemicals in them produce worse hangovers. Wine, especially red wine, tends to be the worst.

Some people swear by Philly Cheese Steaks, milkshakes or pasta as hangover cures. Katz said that they might be on to something.

"It's probably beneficial to eat the morning after, and I'm not convinced that it matters much what you eat," Katz said. "The biggest thing is to drink plenty of water. That's going to be the best thing the next morning."

Do not believe the wives tale about the "hair of the dog" -- that another drink will help cure a morning hangover.

"When your liver is really stressed out metabolizing alcohol it's especially vulnerable to that," he said.

Katz also warned against taking Tylenol after a night of hard drinking. Tylenol can put additional stress on the liver. But those who can deal with plain old aspirin when sober can most likely tolerate it when drunk, Katz said.

Unfortunately for New Year's party-goers who get a little carried away, Katz said the natural cure for a hangover, which usually lasts between eight to 24 hours, is time.

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