What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear about what might happen. It is normal to have feelings of anxiety, in fact, anxiety can help us. It makes us aware of risk, helps motivate us, and keeps us alert. But if anxiety levels are very high then it can have a negative effect on a person’s quality of life. Even the smallest of everyday tasks can become difficult to carry out.
It can be nice to go out and enjoy a night of drinking with friends or maybe a few at home. But I think we can all agree that hangovers do not feel great! Feeling nausea or being sick, excessive thirst, headache, and fatigue are all symptoms of a hangover. But some people also suffer anxiety after a night out. This is called hanxiety.
Hanxiety, also known as hangover anxiety is a type of anxiety that a person suffers from as a consequence of consuming a lot of alcohol the night before. The symptoms of hanxiety include the usual symptoms of a hangover but added to that are high levels of anxiety. Some examples of hanxiety:
- scrolling through your messages on your phone to check if you sent something that you will regret.
- excessive worrying about what you did the night before
- general sense of dread
- alcohol withdrawal similar to those that are dependant on alcohol.
- overwhelming feelings of guilt
- feeling panicky
- increased heart rate
- trouble sleeping
So Why Does Hanxiety Happen?
There are some theories about this.
When people drink alcohol, they tend you urinate more often! And despite the great advice that drinking water between alcoholic drinks is helpful, I doubt that many of us are doing that, especially after a good few beers! This leaves us dehydrated and some studies have shown that being dehydrated can contribute to anxiety.
Even though you may feel that you have had a great night’s sleep after a night of drinking, the sleep that you have when you have been drinking alcohol is not very good quality. And for those of you who already suffer from anxiety, you may already know that lack of sleep has a negative effect on your anxiety levels!
How many of you have woken up too afraid to look at your text messages in case you have said something that you will regret? Alcohol lowers inhibitions making you more likely to do or say something under the influence that you wouldn’t dream of doing sober! So wondering what you did the night before can cause hangxiety.
Certain medications, including anxiety medication, can interact with alcohol. Alcohol can lower their efficiency causing you to feel anxious, restless, and agitated.
People who suffer from pre-existing anxiety are more likely to have hanxiety.
How to Prevent Hangover Anxiety
To drink or not to drink?! If you suffer from anxiety, you may find that a drink or two helps you feel relaxed and confident.
Obviously, the best way to prevent an anxiety hangover is to not drink at all but many people reading will be thinking ‘no chance’! So if you are going for the big drink then there are ways that you can drink smart:
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach
- Drink water between an alcoholic drink
- Work on your anxiety daily in order to reduce levels.
- Try having one drink per hour
- Use an app to tally up your drinks so you can see when you have reached your limit
- Drink water before you go to bed
How Long Does Hangxiety Last?
This is different for everyone. It will largely depend on the severity of the hangover, how much alcohol was consumed, and whether there were pre-existing problems with anxiety levels. For some, it could be a few hours and for others, it could take an entire day, sometimes longer!
How to Manage Symptoms of Hanxiety
- self-talk – reassure yourself that this feeling is temporary and that you will feel better soon.
- have a shower
- drink plenty of water
- essential oils