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Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2010 Jun;3(2):80-7.

Cognitive and psychomotor performance during alcohol hangover.

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Department of Pharmacy, Health and Wellbeing, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland, Chester Road, Sunderland SR27PT, UK.


The consequences of alcohol consumption have risen high on health and social agendas in recent years. Although much work has focused on the physical problems associated with alcohol use, one theme that has emerged in alcohol research has been a focus on the effects of hangovers on functioning. This brief literature review specifically examines recent empirical investigations of the relationship between alcohol hangover and psychological performance and is tabled as an update to our earlier review of similar research (Stephens et al., 2008). A literature search generated 75 results on hangover and cognition (and synonyms) since the last published review. However, of these, only 4 met all inclusion criteria, such as establishing that BAL (Blood Alcohol Level) was zero at testing. Taking the findings of these newer studies with those that we reviewed previously, there appears to be real evidence of convergence of findings. There are now four rigorous laboratory studies, two less rigorous laboratory studies lacking placebo control and two rigorous naturalistic studies that indicate specific cognitive decrements in attention and memory during the hangover phase of alcohol consumption. Given this convergence, research agendas for increasing understanding of the cognitive effects of alcohol hangover should now switch from studies that routinely assess many cognitive functions to studies assessing the attention and memory deficits of hangover in greater detail.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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