Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Older Age May Mean Fewer Hangovers

But study doesn't show why seniors suffer less headache, nausea than younger people after heavy drinking


Hangover symptoms after heavy drinking were much more common in the younger people. Sixty-two percent of men aged 18 to 29 reported exhaustion after drinking, for example, compared with just 14 percent among those aged 60 and older. Nausea was much less common (1.5 percent vs. 10 percent) among older men, as was dizziness (1.5 percent vs. 8 percent) and stomachache (1.4 percent vs. 6.2 percent).

The results for women were more closely matched: Nausea was only half as common (11 percent vs. 21 percent) in the older women compared to the younger ones. Headaches were somewhat less common: 21 percent vs. 27 percent.

The researchers said three factors -- amount of alcohol consumed, frequency of heavy drinking and amount of food eaten with booze -- don't throw off the basic findings.

What's going on? One theory is that a form of "natural selection" is at work, Stephens said. Perhaps heavy drinkers who suffer the worst hangovers simply quit drinking too much.

Dr. Robert Swift, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior who studies substance abuse at Brown University, said another possibility is less smoking -- which appears to worsen hangovers -- in older people.

"The study adds another bit of knowledge about hangovers," Swift said. "However, we still do not understand the cause."

Swift also said there's no evidence that hangovers actually make people less likely to drink.

The study appeared online Sept. 12 and will appear in an upcoming print issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
fast healthy snack ideas
how healthy is your mouth
dog on couch
doctor holding syringe
champagne toast
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Man feeding woman
two senior women laughing