Happy New Year! Now About That Hangover...

If your voice ricochets through your skull like the sound of a snowplow on rough pavement, face it: You've got a hangover.

Happy New Year!

The question (if it doesn't hurt to think) is: What to do about it?

But first, a bit of ancient history.

Last night, you guzzled and swilled more than your fair share of alcohol, or, as they say in Jolly Old England, "a skinfull." The "hot and rebellious liquors" Shakespeare warned about were absorbed through the stomach, small intestine and metabolized in the liver.

As they say in baseball, "You can look it up."

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A recent study indicates the order in which drinks are consumed has no impact on the severity of a hangover. Getty Images

Because alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, your physical reactions took a tumble with your inhibitions. And what you're now experiencing is the slow detoxification process.

Throughout history, drinkers have tried many methods to speed the return to sobriety – or at least to end the incessant banging in the head. "Proven" methods include:

  • Oxygen
  • Hair of the dog that bit you (lemon juice optional)
  • Toast and milk
  • Heavy doses of chocolate
  • Large quantities of Vitamin B
  • Massive doses of Vitamin C
  • Flat beer
  • Cold oatmeal
  • Death (the only 100% effective method, but not recommended)

Drinkers who, like poet Walt Whitman, asked, "Have we not grovel'd here long enough eating and drinking like mere brutes?" plan ahead for their falls from temperance with bovine-related remedies:

  • Warm milk
  • Cold milk
  • Moose milk
  • Anything but milk
  • Beef bullion
  • Guilt, shame and profound remorse

Of course, there is a simple solution: abstinence.

Poet Ben Johnson asked the object of his desire to "drink to me only with thine eyes/Or leave a kiss but in the cup/And I'll not look for wine." That may work for our moral betters, but the rest of us know the good stuff is always at the bottom of the barrel, um, bottle.

One non-drinker, in an apoplexy of logic, suggested, "Don't drink the night before." That's fine for the pinky aloft crowd, but the rest of us get swept away by the moment.

Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha, had little regard for temperance, saying, "I drink when I have the occasion and sometimes when I have no occasion."

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A lithograph of Don Quixote falling off his horse, from a 19th century edition of the Cervantes novel. Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images