Would a hangover remedy lead to higher consumption?
By philipedwards, Dec 7 2018 01:47PM
December 7, 2018
What if we had a remedy for hangovers, or an alternative drink which didn’t cause one? A recent survey of 1,837 Dutch students suggests that a hypothetical hangover remedy would be popular but wouldn’t change the amount of alcohol individuals consumed. Almost 70% of participants said they would buy an effective hangover "cure" if such a thing became available. However, only 13.4% suggested that this would increase their alcohol consumption the night before. Many claimed that the risk of having a hangover is not a key influencer in drinking behaviour.
This new research opposes the common belief which has been adopted by several researchers: that decreasing hangovers would encourage alcohol dependence and abuse.
A group at Utrecht University have recently observed that alcohol consumption and even maximum blood alcohol concentration does not necessarily correlate with hangover severity. This may explain why several students would not change their drinking behaviours if the risk of hangover was reduced.
However, the reasons the participants gave were:
“The risk of having a hangover does not influence my drinking behaviour.”
“Alcohol is a harmful substance.”
“I do not want to become more drunk than I already am when drinking.”
“I cannot consume more alcohol than I already do.”
“I consume alcohol to have a good time, so no reason to increase the amount.”
This actually makes sense, when you think about it. Assuming you drink to have a good time, drinking more to the point that you’re in danger of passing out or being sick isn’t bound to increase one's enjoyment.
This latest research into changing drinking behaviour only focuses on a young age group (18-30 years old), and there is no way of knowing if older drinkers would agree with these views. Another drawback in this latest study is that it describes only the individual’s intentions. There is no way to know that if a hangover remedy existed that these behaviours would still be observed.
Despite these limitations, these new findings confirm the established role of alcohol in society, and the fact that even unpleasant symptoms are not enough to stop alcohol consumption. This is highlighted by many survey participants claiming, “The risk of having a hangover does not influence my drinking behaviour”.
The findings also reveal a major opportunity for the drinks industry to innovate and satisfy the obvious demand from consumers for safer, hangover-free products. Alcarelle’s R&D Team is now working on a next generation ingredient technology which if successful could be used by drinks producers as an alternative to alcohol, to create safer, enjoyable, hangover-free adult beverages.
1. An effective hangover treatment: Friend or foe? Marlou Mackus, Marith van Schrojenstein Lantman, Aurora JAE van de Loo, David Nutt, Joris C Verster (2017) Drug Science, Policy and Law
2. Rohsenow DJ, Howland J, Winter M, et al.(2012) Hangover sensitivity after controlled alcohol administration as predictor of post-college drinking. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 121(1): 270–275.
3. Hogewoning A, Van de Loo AJAE, Mackus M, et al.(2016) Characteristics of social drinkers with and without a hangover after heavy alcohol consumption. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation 7: 161–167.