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Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center

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Avoiding That New Year's Hangover

Drink in moderation and eat beforehand, doctor says

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 31, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Hangover headaches are a common problem over the holidays, but there are ways to prevent them, an expert says.

The best way to avoid a hangover headache is to stick to non-alcoholic drinks such as sodas, spritzers and punches, said Dr. Noah Rosen, director of the Headache Center at North Shore-LIJ's Cushing Neuroscience Institute in Manhasset, N.Y.

If you do drink alcohol, do so in moderation, he advised.

"It is also best to eat beforehand as having food in the stomach slows the absorption of alcohol in the body," Rosen noted. "High-fat foods are particularly good in absorbing alcohol. Also, it is a good idea to snack throughout the party to keep blood sugar levels up."

Drink alcohol slowly and make every other drink a non-alcoholic one. Water is the best choice, because caffeinated sodas can boost heart rate and contribute to dehydration, he explained.

"Avoid darker alcohols as they contain more congeners, which are toxic chemicals," Rosen said. "Red wine has high congeners that can contribute to a hangover headache."

If you've been drinking, taking an anti-inflammatory drug -- such as aspirin or ibuprofen or naproxen -- before going to sleep will help reduce the pain of a hangover headache, Rosen said.

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