Is it all right to drink like there’s no tomorrow? The effects of a hangover

  • Hangovers have several different effects in the body.
  • Aside from headaches, hangovers cause difficulty in learning and concentration.
  • This results to the loss of productivity.

If you’ve experienced getting drunk, you’ll probably be familiar with the sensation of a hangover.

Headaches, nausea, and fatigue are just some of the common experiences of the morning after the night before. But did you ever wonder how a hangover may influence your thoughts and behavior?

A research shows that a hangover may affect and influence the cognitive process of a person. They found evidence of impairments in memory (short and long term), the ability to sustain attention, and psychomotor skills.

But performance in some kinds of thought processes – such as the ability to divide attention between tasks – did not show an overall decline following a night of heavy alcohol consumption.

These effects can have implications for people, from parents to professionals. For those who heavily rely on their memory for a living, they may think that it’s wiser to avoid drinking. But it was found out that there is no difference between  the scores of those who were hungover and those who were not. This proves that the retrieval of information is relatively unaffected.

On the other hand, recalling and learning is different. While recalling information may be unaffected, the same cannot be said  about learning. When the participants were asked to learn and recall information while having a hangover, their memory was poorer.

With this said, the memory exam was unaffected as the information was already learned.

When it comes to concentration, impairment of sustained attention following alcohol consumption may be due to fatigue. It can influence one’s ability to maintain focus, making task engagement more difficult.

This is why it’s harder to drive when experiencing a hangover, because maintaining attention is an important aspect of your travels. Unlike when a person is drunk, the speed is not really affected when you’re hungover, but it’s the ability to handle a vehicle that is influenced.

Psychomotor skills involve the process related to movement, like hand-eye coordination. This may contribute to a delay when swerving, or reacting to other drivers.

Lastly, hangovers cost the UK economy around £2 billion over lost productivity.

Written by J M

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