Opinion: Hangovers

POSTED: 09/23/11 12:39 PM

Here is an interesting insight in what drinking alcohol will do to the economy, not to mention to our personal lives. The British research company Yorktest found in a survey that the average Briton spends four years of his (or her) life dealing with the consequences of a hangover.
On average, adults encounter hangover symptoms 24 days every year. Those symptoms are incredible headaches and nausea. That adds up to 1,452 days over an average lifetime, Yorktest found in a survey among 2,000 people.
We’d like to make that statistic a bit easier to understand: 24 days a year, translates into 2 days every month, or roughly one day every other week. If that day happens to be a Monday, as is often the case, it leads to absenteeism from work or at least to lower productivity on that day.
If the labor force in St. Maarten is, say, 18,000 strong and all these people suffer 24 days a year from hangovers; the economic loss would be astronomical: 432,000 days. Now we know from global statistics that between 3 and 6 percent of any population is alcoholic or heavy drinkers. Those are the people who are more likely to have hangovers (and they’d probably suffer from it more than 24 days a year. But even that would result in a loss of between almost 13,000 and 26,000 days a year.
The Yorktest survey showed that just ten percent suffers from hangovers on Monday; that would bring the loss further down, but it would still be between 1,300 and 2,600 days. Remarkably, Britons mostly suffer from hangovers in the weekend. That seems to show some sort of responsibility – at least the British get drunk on their own time – but it does not really solve the situation, because heavy drinkers are in general less productive, also when – and sometimes especially if – they are not drinking.
Eight out of ten drinkers tremble during a hangover (we figure that these people are close to delirium tremens), seven out of ten are tired, four out of ten are nauseous and one in five does not stop sweating and feels dizzy. All in all, people are a sorry lot during a hangover.
Half of the hangover-struck Britons reports sick and does not go to work. That resulted in warnings from the employer thirty percent of the time, and one in ten was fired for it. Many Britons go to work with a hangover, but their production is obviously under par.
Duh, we figured that much. A tricky trend is mixing alx-cohol with energy drinks like Monster or Red Bull. Researchers say that the caffeine in these drinks masks somehow the effect alcohol has on the body: people do not realize anymore how drunk they really are.

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