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Hangovers don't deter drinkers, study shows

TESSA JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 05/03/2014

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The headache, the tiredness, the queasiness, the urge to put as much salt and sugar in your body as possible - it's that feeling the morning after the night before when you vow never to drink again.

But of course you do - and new research from the United States says that's because the pleasurable memories from drinking outweigh the suffering from the hangover.

In a study of 386 frequent drinkers over three weeks, researchers found a hangover had a "very modest effect on subsequent drinking".

"Furthermore, the people who experienced hangovers also tended to experience more pleasure from drinking the night before, and those immediate pleasurable effects are likely to drive drinking decisions more than expecting an unpleasant hangover would," researcher Thomas Piasecki said.

New Zealand Drug Foundation executive officer Ross Bell said the research rang true. Kiwi drinkers wore their habit like a badge of honour, despite the harm it did.

"One of the ways Kiwis drink is we drink to get drunk. People plan their whole weekend around it - what's the next drinking occasion and how much can I drink.

"And those people doing that don't necessarily have an alcohol dependency - they're just sadly typical of the hazardous drinking habit in New Zealand."

Health Promotion Agency spokesman Andrew Hearn agreed that the hangover was just another part of New Zealand's binge-drinking culture.

"A hangover is a sign you've done some damage to your body, that you've gone over the top and the research indicates people don't learn from that a lot."

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- The Dominion Post

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