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There’s nothing you can do about it. If you’ve drunk too much, that is.

Warner Bros/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Whether you’ve ever been drunk or not, you may be familiar with the concept of the hangover.

Those who have them look awful, behave like a sloth with a wart and drink gallons of water in an attempt to return to their more pleasant selves.

There have been many tales told of how to prevent hangover. Scientists have often weighed in — the latest idea is that the best preventative measure is to drink pear juice. Beforehand, that is.

Now a new study will relieve you of all your antidotes and hairs of the dog. For it concluded that the only way to prevent a hangover is to not drink so much.

As the BBC reports, scientists from the Netherlands and Canada examined hungover students in their respective countries. You might observe that there are rarely any other kind first thing in the morning, so they must have had plenty of potential respondents.

Still, the scientists found that among the 824 Dutch students they talked to, 54 percent did the equivalent of a late-night Jack-In-The-Box, Taco Bell or early morning fry-up in the hope of stemming a hangover’s effects. Some 66 percent tried the drink-a-lot-of-water-before-going-to-bed tactic.

They still felt largely as awful as those who had merely flopped into bed sloshed, still with their clothes on and drooled through the night.

Similar questions were posed to 789 Canadian students. The conclusion again was those who had the worst hangovers were simply those who had drunk more than they should have.

Dr. Joris Verster of Utrecht University in the Netherlands told the BBC: “Drinking water may help against thirst and a dry mouth, but it will not take away the misery, the headache and the nausea.”

The research is to be presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Amsterdam this weekend.

Part of the problem with hangovers is that no one really knows what causes them. It isn’t, as is often thought, dehydration. Dr. Verster told the BBC: “We know the immune system is involved, but before we know what causes it, it’s very unlikely we’ll find an effective cure.”

Perhaps it’s just the way the world works. For every pleasure, there is a certain fee that must be paid to Karmic HQ. Sometimes, the fee is steep. In the case of drinking, the fee seems to enjoy a justice-laden form of surge pricing.

You do something to excess, you pay a little more for it. It’s quaintly capitalistic in its way.


The only way to avoid hangover is to drink less, study says