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Here to give a helping hang

By Rhys Delany

Writer Rhys Delany gives hangover advice based on experience.

Alcohol is almost always present in times of celebration, or commiseration, and so understanding how to navigate the realms of the morning after can feel like a vital component of human life. It is not, of course, but should you choose to partake it is helpful to know how to deal with the consequences. The next-day hangover is a beast with many faces. It’s easy to sympathise with Judas’ biblical treachery when you consider he was probably dealing with a head-splitter brought on by a man who could literally turn water into wine. From writers, to painters, to actors, alcohol releases inhibition and can bring out that primal self, but it is understanding how to look after yourself that is most important. I shall now list the five most common types of hangovers and the cures for each:

1) The classic. Symptoms include nausea, vertigo, headache, vomit, diarrhoea. It sounds unpleasant because it is. Usually a sign of a “quiet” night that moved into the morning and consisted of any and every hedonistic pleasure you could find. There is not too much which can be done to reduce this hell-state. You bought the ticket, and now you must take the ride. In Kingsley Amis’ Everyday Drinking he claims the first thing you should do to tackle a physical hangover is consider yourself lucky. If you are already in the throes of a hangover, then you are already on the road to recovery. Have a shower (or a bath if you struggle to stand), this allows you to wash away all of the shame and filth of last night. Then as you feel the strength in your body begin to rebuild, it’s time to eat something and make sure you keep it down. Your body will be crying out for vitamins so get a glass of fruit juice and a single piece of toast. Start small and build throughout the day. You should avoid juices and foods high in acidity, as these will react badly with your stomach, so keep it light and make sure you have the antacids on hand. Your body will also benefit from fresh air and sunlight, so if you can, step outside and get some sun on your skin. Use this time to walk to your favourite takeaway, stock up on foods of substance (and guilty pleasures). For those that still struggle to find the strength there will always be the option of delivery. When the sun begins to sink behind the night, prepare yourself for an early night’s sleep. The longer the rest the better. Cured by the morning.

2) The migraine. The symptoms are similar to the classic, though they are arguably even more unbearable. As a chronic migraine sufferer myself, I would much rather the all-in-one horror morning of a classic than a day of prolonged sickness. Chances are you didn’t keep yourself hydrated throughout the night and the only liquid to pass your lips was probably of the grape variety. So, it’s always best to prepare for the worst. Having a pint of holy water and a packet of painkillers by your side for the morning will be invaluable. A proper migraine will disorient all the senses. Smells will turn to taste, and sight will turn to sound. Best to keep yourself away from all sources of light and strong-smelling food. Chill out, have a snooze, cured by the evening.

3) The blackout. Self-explanatory. You may not even feel that bad, you just simply cannot remember who or what you did last night. This one doesn’t necessarily have many dos, rather a list of do-nots. Do not go on social media, do not talk about last night, do not do it again. Cured only by your own acceptance that last night’s mistakes are now embedded deep within your personality.

4) The existential crisis. The existential crisis often parallels the blackout, but this time, you remember it. The symptoms here will be entirely metaphysical such as anxiety, dissociation, and depression To be honest, things can get quite emotional, so expect tears. This one always comes paired with some god-awful hospitality shift the next day. You will look at every customer with resentment. You will wonder why they choose to waste their time and money in this establishment and on your post-drunken service skills. The cure here takes a lot of courage and needs to be well-thought out. Cured by one more drink later that night. Hair of the dog.

5) The two-dayer. This one is rare and to be honest it isn’t easy to achieve, so fair play to you. The two-dayer essentially consists of all of the vital hangovers. You begin on a classic and can’t recall a thing about the night before. You swear you only had three pints but feel unbelievably rough. You have to scramble into work on time fighting through muscle and stomach cramps. You finally get home hoping for a restful night’s sleep only to be woken at 3 am with the mother of all migraines, gasping for painkillers. Day two then becomes one of the longest days of your life. An afterglow where the whole world is grey. Is this a life worth living? You swear you’ll never drink again.

In the end, time heals all wounds. No hangover is entirely manageable and so I suppose the best advice would be abstaining completely. But we all know that isn’t going to happen. In future, prep yourself for the evening ahead. Make sure you get a substantial amount of food in your system, even if this ends up being some cheap takeaway meal deal. Drink water throughout the night. That takeaway that you got food from, they’ll sell bottles of water too, so get one. The next day, take things easy. Start small, and build up your nutrition throughout the day – come the evening you’re right as rain. Ready to do it all over again.


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