Development of a Definition for the Alcohol Hangover: Consumer Descriptions and Expert Consensus

Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2016;9(2):148-154. doi: 10.2174/1874473710666170216125822.


Up to now, there is no adequate definition of the alcohol hangover. The purpose of the current study was to develop a useful definition, and consensus among those who will use it in scientific publications. A survey was conducted among N=1099 social drinkers who recently had a hangover. They were asked to provide their definition of the alcohol hangover. Text mining and content analysis revealed 3 potential definitions. These were submitted to members of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group, who were asked to give their expert opinion on the proposed definitions. Taking into account their comments and suggestions, the following definition for the alcohol hangover was formulated: "The alcohol hangover refers to the combination of mental and physical symptoms, experienced the day after a single episode of heavy drinking, starting when blood alcohol concentration approaches zero."

Keywords: Alcohol; consensus; consumer; definition; development; hangover.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / physiopathology*
  • Blood Alcohol Content
  • Consensus
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Alcohol Content