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Tis the season to be hungover

It’s the season of loving, giving, and going too far. So we've put together a foolproof guide to work out how much booze you can take. Hang on to your liver...

Published on December 22nd 2006.

Tis the season to be hungover

Did you crawl into work with a throbbing head and a dodgy belly after overdoing it at a Christmas do this week. We thought it was important that festive drinkers were able to identify the severity level of their hangovers. So here’s a quick star-rating guide to help you to work out what might happen when things go horribly wrong. You have been warned.

*1-star hangover

Symptoms: None. No pain, no feeling of illness, but an unquenchable thirst.
Scenario: You slept in your own bed, and woke up alone with no traffic cones around you. And you know where you left your keys.
Recovery: A couple of bottles of water and a cheeseburger should do the job.

**2-star hangover

Symptoms: No pain, but something is definitely amiss. You wouldn’t know it to look at you, but you have the attention span and mental capacity of a stapler.
Scenario: You are costing your employer valuable money and time, because all you can handle is some light filing and aimless internet surfing.
Recovery: Full English breakfast and a day avoiding any strenuous work.

***3-star hangover

Symptoms: Slight headache and a very dodgy tummy. You’ve had a gallon of water and a litre of diet coke and haven’t peed once.
Scenario: Anytime you catch a whiff of perfume or aftershave you gag, because it reminds you of the random gin shots you did after the bouncer kicked you out at 1.45am.
Recovery: A sleep under your desk, or a time machine so that you can go back to yesterday and decide not to go out on a school night.

****4-star hangover

Symptoms: You have lost the will to eat or live. Your head is throbbing and there’s a chance that if you speak again you will throw up.
Scenario: Your boss has already lambasted you for being late and has given you a lecture for reeking of booze. Everybody around you seems sober. You are wearing nice clothes, but you smell like the bottom of a dubious handbag.
Recovery: A duvet, a packet of Resolve, a tube of Pringles and Trisha.

*****5-star hangover

Symptoms:You have a second heartbeat in your head, which is actually annoying the colleague who sits next to you. Vodka vapour is seeping out of every pore and making you, and them, dizzy. You have lost your shoes and walked home last night after all the taxis refused to take you.
Scenario: You are shaking ever so slightly. Your intestines are churning alarmingly but by late morning you have managed to keep that slice of toast in your body. Things are getting better then, at 4pm, you start whimpering "No-ooo, no-ooo..." in a low voice after you suddenly recall chucking the lips on your best mate's fiance the night before and telling them you could be their final fling.
Recovery: Not easy. You consider trying hair of the dog or moving to another city.

******6-star hangover

Symptoms: You’re not dead, but you could be. You regained consciousness with your head down the toilet this morning, saw the white porcelain pan and were immediately terrified that you'd departed the world of the living for ever.
Scenario: You arrived home at 3am and passed out as soon as your head hit the bottom stair. Two hours later you woke up to find your large unruly golden retriever licking you and howling to go out for a pee. It pulls you over in the street, you hang onto the lead and it drags you 30 yards down the road. But you don't remember any of this. Since then, you’ve lost control of all of your bodily functions, your face is covered in mysterious scrapes and the kids are crying because the dog has vanished.
Recovery: Work is simply not an option. You need to spend the next three to four days avoiding anything that might pre-empt a visit to the local A&E, like moving.

So now you know the ugly perils of overdoing it at Christmas and exactly what you need to do to make the world a happier, less blurry place. Of course, the easy, foolproof way of avoiding a hangover is to be sensible with the amount you put away the night before. Drink lots of water and keep eating. But, it’s Christmas. And for some of us, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without at least one six-starrer. Enjoy.

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