My Hangovers Keep Getting Worse As I Get Older, But I May Have Found A Solution

Did you know that the technical term for a hangover is “veisalgia”? It’s basically Norwegian for "uneasiness following debauchery," and is the best way to describe how I feel after drinking, both physically and mentally.
Publish date:
August 12, 2013
alcohol, drinking, aging, hangovers, alcohol tolerance, hangover remedies, M

Guys. My grandmother forgot how old I was. I was talking to her on my birthday (last Monday), and she was all “You’re 24, right?”

And I was all “No grandmother, I am 27.”

And then we laughed and laughed about how old we both were because COME ON I can’t possibly be 27, I was just 23 a few months ago.

And then my dad wrote a haiku about how I should be having kids now or something.

I actually like being older. I find myself worrying less about what other people think (though that’s not completely gone) and feeling more and more comfortable in this body of mine. I know what I like and who I am and I’m starting to get delightfully curmudgeonly. I've even been complaining about “all the youths.”

I mean, being 21 was exhausting and being 19 was pure torture. When I was 19, I depended on other people to obtain my alcohol for me, and those people liked Mike’s Hard and Smirnoff Ice. You have to drink like seven of those to get drunk, but that is an impossible feat because your stomach starts to ache from all the sugar by number four.

But you know what I miss about being young? The hangovers.

Back then, I could throw on some sunglasses and order a venti Americano or whatever and yeah it would suck, but I could still FUNCTION. I was still a HUMAN BEING. It was almost glamorous, showing up to brunch with last night’s eyeliner all smudgy and sexy; not to mention how slim I would be from all the dehydration. AND I could go out again that night.

Now, being hungover feels like my nerves are on fire. It feels like my stomach is trying to crawl out through my nose. I turn into a creature.

There is no meeting friends for brunch. There is no going out again the next night. If I get truly fucked up Friday night, I am useless until Sunday morning. Getting smashed Friday also ensures my mother-in-law will visit Saturday (it's like some sort of summoning spell), but I always feel worse for her than I do for myself. She's always really cool about having a hungover daughter-in-law.

But I may have found a miracle to prevent all of that (more on that later).

The Daily Mail reported that 29 year-olds get hit the worst because they think they can still hang like they did in their salad days. But they also only surveyed British people, so maybe it’s different across the pond? Who knows. Maybe I should have asked Natalie. I haven’t been 29 yet, but it does seem like my ability to hang is lessening at an alarming rate.

It’s a pretty well-documented fact that hangovers get worse as we get older. As I’ve aged I’ve begun to experience more and more hangovers that I do not deserve. Yes, I know that is the name of a Bowling for Soup album and I’m sorry but there is nothing I can do about it.

My hangovers are also becoming more unpredictable than my periods, which is alarming. I can drink a bottle of wine one night and be totally OK the next morning, but then I’ll have two beers another evening and wake up ready to puke.

I've tried graphing it to see if I can suss out a trend, but then I get drunk and forget to record my data.

Did you know that the technical term for a hangover is “veisalgia”? It’s basically Norwegian for "uneasiness following debauchery," and is the best way to describe how I feel after drinking, both physically and mentally. Ten points to Norway.

Anyway, if you are one of those people who still drinks to get drunk (like me) every once in a while, you probably will find yourself hungover sometime in the future so we might as well talk “remedies.”

I’ll tell you mine and then you guys tell me yours in the comments.

Claire’s hangover remedies/coping mechanisms:

1. Stay the eff in bed.

This isn't always possible, but it is critical. One super-obnoxious thing about drinking now is that if I drink heavily, I will predictably zonk out the moment my head hits my memory foam pillow, but slumber is only mine for four hours tops. Then there is another four-hour period immediately following in which I either do not sleep at all or I wake up so much I can’t tell if I was ever sleeping or not. It is what scientist refer to as "super fucking awful."

But it is important to push through and stay in bed. Because, if I do push through the four hour no sleep torture period, I will eventually fall asleep again for another four hours and wake up feeling much better.

2. Orgasms

Have one. Either with someone or DIY. It doesn't really help me with nausea, but it does help with a headache.

3. A Publix sub

Italian, obviously. I don’t know why, but this is the only thing I ever want to eat when I’m hungover. It’s probably the perfect combination of salt, fat, carbs, protein and magic.

I know what you’re thinking: “Wouldn't the chicken tender sub work?” No. It does not. I've tried it and it does not.

Note: I know you guys who aren't near Publix want me to shut up about Publix, and I’m sorry I keep talking about it. But you probably know of a place to get a good Italian sub near you. Just eat that.

4. Vitamins

This is the MOST CRUCIAL remedy, though really it should be filed under “prevention.”

I know that drinking a glass of water for every drink you have is also good prevention, but I can never pull this off because water is boring and the more I drink, the more boring it gets.

But I can remember to take vitamins before bed. It’s quick and easy and it really helps.

So now, anytime I drink ANYTHING (a glass of wine, seven beers, that worm vodka) I always take vitamin B1, a B-complex pill and vitamin C. This explains why it works, but the basic idea is that your body needs nutrients to deal with that ethanol, so replenishing them really helps.

And it really does work. The first time I did this it worked so well I thought it was a placebo effect. I will pay top dollar for a good placebo effect.

Just to illustrate how well it works: on my birthday (which, once more, was a Monday) I had seven beers, a Momofuku cookie sent to me by my friend Danielle, two chicken strips, and one bottle of water.

Four of the beers were 10% ABV, so this was obviously not my best plan.

But I took my vitamins, woke up the next morning, and went to work.

Did I feel amazing? No, of course not, but I was not nauseated and I was mostly just tired.

I deserved much worse.

So that's my drinking strategy

What do you guys do? Have your hangovers got worse as you've gotten older?