In general terms: fact, but short-lived...
We’ve all been out on a Friday night in hopes of hitting the dance floor for some well-deserved fun, meanwhile “hydrating” ourselves during the process with some nice cold alcoholic beverages. Eventually we find ourselves going home and realizing we’re in tipsy mode (some of us just flatly wasted).
After a good night sleep, if trips to the toilet weren’t required, we have a headache, we’re completely fatigued, our stomach is its own rollercoaster ride and we’re dehydrated to say the least. The day isn’t going to be a good one.
But when using this as an excuse to not get out of the house, we all have that one friend who tries to convince us that what we need to "snap out of it" is another good drink... an alcoholic one. They swear by it and "it works every time". While trying to control our gag reflex at the thought of another shot of vodka, we find ourselves wondering: is this true?
Blindly speaking, it will make you snap out of it. Will it cure your hangover? Well, that's another story...
How the Hangover works
One of the things we know about drinking alcohol is that it inhibits the production of anti-diuretic hormone - meaning quite simply that you'll end up in the bathroom more often than usual because of your constant need to "pee". But urine isn't just water; it contains electrolytes and minerals. Yet with nothing to put the brakes on this constant stream, you find yourself simply excreting more than you normally would. This is one of the major explanations for many symptoms afterwards, as this results in dehydration of the body.
The hangover itself is basically when your body starts breaking down alcohol into simpler molecules. One of these, as a result, is called acetaldehyde. Some of the acetaldehyde enters your blood, damaging your membranes and possibly causing scar tissue. It also results in a faster heartbeat, a headache or an upset stomach, although this mechanism is still unclear.
As this happens, your alcohol levels start to drop. With this drop, endorphins that were boosted during your partying escapades, with all the pleasurable feelings they provide, start to drop as well. Talk about taking the lollipop away from the children.
So how is another round of Mai Tai's going to solve any of this?
Another Round Please! - The Quick Fix
One quick way to get all these endorphins up and running is - you figured it out - restoring your alcohol levels, by consuming more of it. You go back to stage one and life is amazing again.
Unfortunately, as Isaac Newton discovered, "what goes up must come down". Therefore although this may feel like an "eureka" quick fix and the solution to all of your problems, this also adds more alcohol to your body that eventually will have to be metabolized, no matter how long you postpone it. It basically resets the process that your body will eventually have to go through at some point.
Your friend is not a liar; but he's not your greatest friend either
So, the "myth" does have a scientific backbone to it, but it is far from being more than a quick fix and a postponing method, probably reducing some intensity in the overall hangover symptoms. Nevertheless, practicing this as your Friday night mantra can lead to the development of unhealthy habits and alcohol dependence. And that is a whole new conundrum that you do not want to get yourself into.
There are very good, scientifically proven healthier options out there for better results on curing your hangover.