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What is a hangover, really?

RELEASED October 15, 2009
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Episode Summary
After a night of heavy boozing, many partygoers find themselves the victim of a hangover. But what exactly is a hangover, and what causes it? Join Chuck and Josh as they break down the science behind hangovers -- and how to avoid them -- in this podcast.

Announcer

Welcome to Stuff You Should Know from HowStuffWorks.com.

Josh Clark

Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. With me is Charles Chuckers Bryant. And that means this is Stuff You Should Know. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Yes, the over 21 years old Chuck Bryant.

Josh Clark

Yeah, that's a big deal for this one, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

We're just gonna go ahead and COA right now, say that this is about drinking, and if you're under 21, you should not drink.

Josh Clark

Chuck, have you ever consumed an alcoholic beverage?

Chuck Bryant

I have.

Josh Clark

How was it?

Chuck Bryant

Still COA, if you're over 21, you should drink responsibly.

Josh Clark

Yes, don't drink and drive. If you have any problem -

Chuck Bryant

Heavy machinery.

Josh Clark

Yeah, heavy machinery is a big one. If you have a problem, you can contact Alcoholics Anonymous.

Chuck Bryant

I've always wanted to test that one. Get really plowed, and just sit down behind a bulldozer and see what happens.

Josh Clark

I always imagine forklifts with heavy machinery.

Chuck Bryant

I go straight to the dozer.

Josh Clark

Wow.

Chuck Bryant

So yes, I have had an alcoholic beverage before.

Josh Clark

What was your experience with it like? Did you feel a little light headed, a little crazy, a little uninhibited?

Chuck Bryant

I wanted to kiss somebody.

Josh Clark

Did you end up kissing anybody?

Chuck Bryant

I did. I kissed my dog.

Josh Clark

Didn't you make out with a friend's sister at a U2 concert once?

Chuck Bryant

I did.

Josh Clark

Were you under the effects of alcohol during that time?

Chuck Bryant

I was. This was in 1992. Give me a break.

Josh Clark

Chuck, did you end up with a hangover?

Chuck Bryant

That day? Yes, I did.

Josh Clark

The same day?

Chuck Bryant

Well, the next day.

Josh Clark

Yeah, sure. So how did you feel?

Chuck Bryant

I felt - I had a headache. I had a poor sense of well-being. I had sensitivity to light and sound, diarrhea, loss of appetite, trembling, nausea, fatigue.

Josh Clark

You had the whole list. Huh?

Chuck Bryant

Dehydration, anxiety, trouble sleeping, weakness.

Josh Clark

Wow. That's a bad hangover right there.

Chuck Bryant

That's all the symptoms.

Josh Clark

You know the one that always gets me the worst whenever I have a hangover is the loss of the sense of well being. I feel like I am right there on the edge of danger. Everybody is gunning for me. I feel horrible the next day.

Chuck Bryant

Really?

Josh Clark

Yeah, it's really bad. It really - I've always assumed it affects my serotonin levels, although I didn't see anything in this article about that.

Chuck Bryant

I thought I was going to have to get taken to the hospital in Portland, Oregon one time.

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