The best way to avoid a hangover is to avoid alcohol altogether but that's no good on New Year's Eve.

In an ideal world, everyone has incredible will power and everyone knows when to stop.

But this is not an ideal world so the other option is to listen to the advice of experts about ways to ease the effects of your hangover.

Brighton-based doctor Nicole Edwards says one of the most obvious is to try and drink as much water and non-alcoholic drinks possible on the night.

She said: "Alcohol dehydrates you and if you don't have water, the effects in the morning are even worse.

"I suggest alternating alcoholic with non-alcoholic drinks and dilute spirits with mixers. It may be difficult but if you can manage to drink a couple of glasses of water before you go to bed, that can really help.

"It is also sensible to avoid high-caffeine drinks such as cola or coffee as they are also dehydrating.

"A lot of places also put out free nibbles such as salted peanuts which make you thirsty and encourage you to drink more.

"It might be wise to eat early in the evening so you are already full and less inclined to snack."

The recommended limit for alcohol is 21 units for men (that's about ten pints of beer) and 14 units for women each week and not in one go.

The most common symptoms of a hangover include: headache, muscle cramps, thirst, dizziness and fatigue.

Dr Edwards said: "Several factors contribute to the severity of a hangover with the most obvious being the amount of alcohol drunk.

"Others include the type of alcohol. Some have more components added to give colour and flavour, such as scrumpy cider which can have a stronger effect on the body.

"Even though a hangover is usually simply a result of too much alcohol, sometimes even trying a different drink from your usual can give you a thumping headache."

There are many hangover cures ranging from hair of the dog to a full English breakfast but most people tend to reach for the painkillers, a bottle of water and go back to bed.

Health experts recommend painkillers such as Ibuprofen or a specially designed product such as Resolve which are less likely to upset the stomach.

Hair of the dog, tea and coffee should be avoided as they will only make the sufferer more dehydrated.

A natural alternative method is to try out Cynara Artichoke supplements, which help the body break down and eliminate fats and alcohol.

Although having a good time on New Year's Eve is enough for many, long-term alcohol abuse can have serious repercussions.

Some effects of alcohol on the body are obvious such as a deterioration in complexion, and the nausea and headache that can accompany a hangover.

However, heavy drinkers can end up suffering from liver disease.

About 33,000 people in England and Wales die from drink-related illness, road accident, violence and alcohol poisoning each year.

Incidence of alcohol related liver disease has risen by nearly 50 per cent in the past decade and alcohol related crimes are on othe increase as well.

A quarter of all people arrested are drunk and half of all violent crime is committed by people who have been drinking.

The number of young people drinking has also risen with about half of 14 to 15-year-olds in the East Sussex, Brighton and Hove health authority area drinking regularly and about ten per cent drinking more than the recommended limits for adults.

Addiction counsellors and psychiatrists are calling for family and friends to be extra viglant and intervene in problem drinking before the consequences threaten health and happiness.

Mark Porter, addictions therapy manager from the Priory Clinic in Hove, said: "Christmas and New Year are often flash points for problem drinkers.

The pressures of family are often compounded at this time and can lead to excessive drinking.

"Equally, being alone at this time of year can lead to depressive drinking.

"The danger is reliance on alcohol is not just temporary and continues into the New Year.

"Of course, we should enjoy ourselves over Christmas and New Year but watch out for things that might indicate a friend or family member is unable to cope."