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Health Line

THE Vikings referred to it as the uneasiness that follows debauchery, while the ancient Greeks simply called it 'pain'.

Whichever best describes the jangle of headache, nausea and diarrhea known as the common hangover, researchers on Monday said that its biggest sufferers are light-to-moderate drinkers who pose a definite risk to themselves and enormous costs for society.

"In the medical community, we tend to focus on alcoholics. But that's a very small number of people, whereas being hung over is a common thing." said Dr. Jeffrey Wiese, medical professor at the University of California.

He and colleagues at a San Francisco veterans' hospital reviewed medical studies on alcohol use published between 1966 and 1999 to see what they could learn about hangovers.

Among other things, they found that hangovers almost always result from rive to six drinks for an
80-kg man and three to five drinks for a 60-kg woman. The findings appeared in Annals of internal Medicine, a biweekly journal published by the American College of Physicians American Society of Internal Medicine.

Research suggests that hangovers, which have been around at least as long as the Bible, have definite cardiac, neurological and even psychiatric consequences. The most extreme form of hangover is a psychiatric disorder characterized by irrational behavior and named Elpenor syndrome. after a companion of the Greek hero, Odysseus.

In one of the earliest depictions of a hangover, Homer says that Elpenor awoke from a drunken sleep and sprang off a roof to his death.

"People who are hung over are experiencing more than just a headache. and it can cause physiologic harm to the patient," Wiese said. "One study showed almost a two-fold increase in the risk of having a heart attack during a severe hangover."

As reported in Business Line News Service
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