Hangxiety after Drinking?

Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

‘Hangxiety’ refers to the anxious feelings some people experience during a hangover.

Alongside the common hangover symptoms like tiredness, headache, and nausea, this means also dealing with a pounding heart, worried thoughts, and feelings of panic.

So why does hangxiety occur and what can you do to manage it?

Why do I get hangxiety?

For one thing, alcohol can disrupt our sleep. And many of us feel less equipped to deal with life’s little stresses when we’re tired and cranky.

Dehydration could also play a part. According to research, water intake can drastically impact our mood, whereas dehydration may contribute to anxiety.

A kind of withdrawal may also be to blame. Drinking alcohol can trigger the release of feel-good hormones known as endorphins, which may provide a temporary release from stress and worry. But it can’t make your woes go away. By morning, levels of those hormones begin to deplete, leaving you with a lower mood.

Hangxiety can of course also be the result of embarrassing or detrimental drunken behaviour the night before. In some cases we might rightly be worried about the repercussions of such behaviours.

Shyness and anxiety after drinking

Shy people may be more at risk. A study published in 2019 found that shy people who drank socially were more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety the following day.

What can I do about hangxiety?

Getting plenty of rest and hydrating are of course helpful, as are comforting activities like watching your favourite movie or talking to friends. If you are anxious about how you behaved when drunk, it might help to journal, or to bite the bullet and apologise to others involved.

If hangxiety is a common factor in your life, it's important to be honest if you have a bigger problem with anxiety in general, or with alcohol consumption. Or if you are drinking a lot lately because there are things you need to deal with in life you are seeking to avoid.

In such cases, don't overlook the power of therapy. A therapist creates a safe, non judgmental space to look at what is bothering you, and can teach you practical takeaway tools for dealing with anxious thoughts.

Time to stop sabotaging your life with anxiety and alcohol? Find a therapist you like now at a price that works for you and start finally moving forward.

Victoria Stokes is a Belfast-based writer who likes all things personal development, as well as espresso martinis and the colour pink.

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