Monday Morning Hangover: The Race For The Cure

This is the first installment of a, hopefully, weekly series involving tips and tricks surrounding drinking and drinking’s aftereffects. I say hopefully because I only have about six weeks of material right now…

It’s Monday morning, and like most other Monday mornings, this morning finds me hungover from a drinking event with my fellow J Street-ers while watching my fantasy team AND the Cowboys go down the shitter. While I’m not in the state I was on NFL opening weekend (literally did not remember the end of the Cowboys-Redskins game until my Philly-fan friend decided to make me suffer), I am in hangover hell. To make matters worse, I’m sitting at my desk in a windowless, florescent-lit room that I call “cube-ville”. Perhaps you are in similar pain because the weekend is too short and D.C. now has too many good beers on tap – either way, read on as I delve into one of my desk drawers that I lovingly refer to as my Office Hangover Arsenal:

"It's a thing of beauty"

This should come standard with every cubicle - Hangovers Beware.


1) Start off popping some Advil gelcaps. According to my college roommate, Advil is better than Tylenol as Tylenol attacks your main allies in your war against the hangover, your kidneys and liver. Gelcaps release faster than the brown pills. I had a friend once take too many Tylenol; her doctor told her she should not drink for the rest of her life – we don’t want that.

2) Chew some Tums. This is purely optional step – I just usually pop Tums no matter what the problem is. However, it does seem to settle my stomach to the benefit of anyone within 20 ft of me…


3) Carbonated Water. I picked this one up on a trip abroad. The carbonation further settles your stomach and provides a little Coke-like fizz taste, but without the caffeine. At the same time, you’re getting high-quality H2O and look classy doing it. If I can’t find carbonated water, I grab a bottle of regular water and a Coke and skip the Gatorade and coffee.

4) Gatorade. There’s a reason you drink this during sports – it rehydrates you quickly and replenishes minerals. I usually only drink a small bottle of it since it has so much sugar in it.

Wake up

5) Caffeine. I usually shoot for coffee and save the Coke for later in the day, especially if I’ve had a Gatorade. Caffeine tends to dehydrate you, so you don’t want to overdo it. That said, I usually do need something to make me at least appear awake. Also, watch out for even more complex sugar intake with the Coke.

Test the waters

6) Eat bread or something greasy. My favorite in Austin were these huge breakfast tacos stuffed with bacon, egg, roasted potatoes, sausage, cheese, dragon tears, etc; now, I’m more likely to devour pieces of toast. All of this will settle your stomach, create a balance between liquids and foods, and help soak up some of the remaining fluids. Or, it will just make you throw up whatever alcohol is left in your stomach – either way, we’re making progress.

7) Nuclear Option – Shot of whiskey. This last item in my Office Hangover Arsenal is only deployed in emergency situations (this is even after the can-I-just-go-home-sick-today thoughts have been dashed).

Things to keep in mind

1) Exercise and the outdoors are usually the best ways to defeat a hangover. Both are extremely hard to do when you’re having a mental discussion about whether it is worth it to get out of bed to close the blinds b/c it is too bright. (Some pansy is going to say something like “the best way to beat a hangover is to not drink too much in the first place.” I tell this person to go f*ck themselves.)

2) Don’t drink too many fluids at once. Chugging drinks is what got you hungover in the first place, but two wrongs don’t make a right. You really only want to have about 12 oz of each drink above and consume them over about an hour. I find my hangovers become worse after I pound big bottles of water and Gatorade.

What’s your way to beat hangovers? Any suggestions?


5 responses

  1. I swear by daily Milk Thistle (which improves liver function) to keep hangovers at bay. When I know I’m going to be drinking a lot, I pop an extra milk thistle capsule before I start.

    I usually end those nights with a big glass of water and a Goody’s powder and hope for the best in the morning.

    On the occasions when my preventative measures don’t work (or I’m already too drunk to remember to prepare), a big glass of water, a Goody’s powder and a Diet Coke, followed by an ice pack on my head and a warm shower usually do the trick. I might throw back a couple milk thistle capsules too, but they seem to work better as a preventive measure rather than a cure.

    November 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

    • I will be giving the Milk Thistle a try this Thursday. (this is the first I’ve actually heard of that as a helper)

      You’ve got quite a regimen there.

      Thank you for the great suggestions!

      November 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

  2. I’ll give you the Level % Nerd Alert on this one. But it did get me through Belgium and the Netherlands…so that has to say something.

    Carbon, the active element in activated charcoal, is in everything because it is a covalent bond whore, sharing electrons with nearly any element in the periodic chart. Carbon makes methane and DNA. When it’s in the form of activated charcoal, it absorbs chemicals and makes them insoluble.

    Bought at your local pharmacy, activated charcoal is commonly used in emergency treatment for specific kinds of poisonings and drug overdoses to keep the poison from being absorbed from the stomach into the body. Charcoal is also used to cure gas/flatulence and help an upset stomach. A natural deodorant and disinfectant, Activated Charcoal is one of the finest absorptive and adsorptive agents known. Orally administered, these fine black granules have an amazing ability to extract and neutralize many more times their own weight in gases, heavy metals, toxins, poisons and other chemicals.

    This vegetable form of carbon (an element found in all living matter), is completely safe for human consumption. Long recognized as being particularly helpful in providing relief for trapped gas in the lower intestine, physicians and regulatory agencies also acknowledge charcoal’s cleansing properties. Known universally, it is used in hospital emergency rooms to neutralize drugs and poisons.

    November 3, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    • That. Was. Awesome.
      My brain hurts a little after reading that, but you’ve made a very good case for activated charcoal. Should I be taking it before or after I rip through 20 beers?

      November 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm

      • johnslab

        I take it before bed. As this is a hard thing to remember, I generally leave the bottle right on my night stand with a full pint of water. On beercations(or just weekends when I know i have a lot of femented business to attend to), I simply keep it in my messenger bag,

        The trick is you want it to help with the detox—essentially absorbing toxins before they hit the blood stream. so taking it too early will make it absorb some of the alcohol (lbh- no one wants that) and trying to take them in the morning is too late because the toxins are already in the blood.

        November 8, 2010 at 11:58 am

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