Your Brain on Hangovers: The Scientific Explanation for Why You Feel So Awful

Neuroscientist Ph.D. candidate Shannon Odell gets hungover, for science.

We know what alcohol does to your brain, but as we approach the holidays, that season of over-imbibing, another question comes to mind: How does a hangover affect the brain and the body?

Neuroscientist Ph.D. candidate Shannon Odell explores how alcohol’s after-effects cause the brain to change. The medical term for a hangover and its symptoms is veisalgia, a Greek and Norwegian word meaning “uneasiness following debauchery” and “pain,” as Odell explains in the above video.

👉 Watch the entire ‘Your Brain on Blank’ series

She explores theories that for why we are hungover, including a build-up of the toxic compound acetaldehyde in the body, the product of metabolized alcohol as it’s broken down in the liver. People with a genetic deficiency in the ALDH2 gene — which rids the body of acetaldehyde — often suffer worse hangovers. The theory that acetaldehyde build-up and others are explored in the above video with a literally hungover Odell.

If you end up drinking too much during the holidays, know that it’s likely a combination of factors that’s causing your hangover. This latest Your Brain on Blank episode isn’t a hangover cure, but you’ll at least be able to separate fact from fiction about hangovers (as you chug a Gatorade and reach for more Ibuprofen while inside a dark room.)

Now watch this: “A Drunk Neuroscientist Explains What Alcohol Does To Your Brain”

Media via Inverse