Do House Calls for Hangovers Enable Alcoholics?
Right or wrong, good or bad, a new reality has arrived at society’s front door, and it’s a nurse with a hangover treatment package complete with a vitamin-enriched IV drip. According to a Gallup Poll, in the United States, 66 percent of adults admit to drinking on a semi-regular basis, with 22 percent of those saying they sometimes drink too much. For mobile hangover treatment companies, this could add up to big business, but critics of these services aren’t so sure that’s such a positive thing.
There’s only one foolproof way of to avoid hangovers: abstain from drinking alcohol. However, as we’re all aware, this isn’t always the route most people take. Perhaps they feel pressure to drink at a work function with colleagues and clients, maybe it’s a social event where a few drinks make it easier to mingle, or for others, they might simply have a drinking problem.
Whatever the case, after a night of moderate to heavy drinking, it’s common to experience a hangover or mild alcohol-withdrawal syndrome the next morning.
What are the Symptoms of a Hangover?
- Nausea, vomiting or stomach pain
- Dehydration and thirst
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dizziness or “the spins”
- Poor sleep, fatigue and weakness
- Mood disturbance, such as irritability, anxiety or depression
Companies with names like Hangover Heaven, operating in Las Vegas, and the Hangover Club, out of New York, are now making house calls to help people get past the negative side effects of drinking too much alcohol. Their services don’t come cheap, however. Remedies range from $175 to $250 depending on the desired recovery package.
What Services do House Calls for Hangovers Offer?
- IV drip laced with vitamins and electrolytes for rehydration and energy
- Prescription strength nausea medications
- Treatment by licensed nurse practitioners, physician assistants or doctors
- House calls or a mobile hangover treatment bus or shuttle
Due to the cost of these treatments, the companies claim that their most frequent customers are executive types who have to entertain clients in the evening, but must be fresh for work the next morning. There are skeptics, though, like Dr. Joshua Lee of New York University who told the Wall Street Journal that a $2 bottle of Gatorade and an aspirin can be just as effective in these situations. In terms of hangover remedies on the market, Lee adds, “It’s all guesswork.”
Another larger question is whether or not these services are enabling problem drinkers to escalate their negative behaviors by avoiding one of nature’s natural consequences, the hangover. Emily Feinstein, director of health law and policy at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, told the Wall Street Journal that any service that helps a heavy drinker continue drinking “would be cause for concern.”
Whether or not it’s the responsibility of these companies to identify problem drinkers, refuse them treatment or perhaps help them seek treatment is up for debate. The only constant is that addiction to alcohol is a serious disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Long-term sobriety is sustained through treatment, therapy and support. While addiction medicine has made massive strides, it hasn’t yet developed a “quick fix.”
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