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Study finds worrying can make hangovers feel worse

Research carried out by the University of Salford has found that worrying about pain can make the effects of alcohol feel more severe.

A team from the University of Salford found that worrying about pain can make hangovers feel worse

The UK-based university examined how the experiences of excessive drinking and hangovers varied from person to person, and whether irrational thoughts about pain may impact these symptoms.

The research involved 86 participants aged between 18- and 46-years-old, who were each asked to complete questionnaires about a recent time when they had consumed alcohol.

From the responses, researchers estimated each participant’s blood alcohol levels and asked those taking part to report the extent of their hangover and their tendency to catastrophise pain, which analysts described as “the tendency some people have to worry overly about the threat of pain”.

After identifying two distinct types of hangover symptoms, those that were stress-related and those that were dehydration-related, the researchers found a “significant relationship” between catastrophising and hangover severity scores.

Researchers reported that both types of symptoms were worse in those who had a higher peak alcohol concentration, while stress-related symptoms were also worse in those who were more likely to catastrophise pain.

Lead researcher Sam Royle explained: “These findings suggest the importance of cognitive coping strategies in how people experience hangovers after drinking alcohol. This may have implications in understanding behavioural responses to hangovers, and also for addiction research.”

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