Author: Alex Thompson

Hangover Anxiety: How to Deal with Hangxiety

what is hangxiety

This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice.

what is hangxiety

That’s because everyone’s body chemistry is different, and is impacted differently. Just think of how some people get nauseas from one drink, while others can drink many without getting queasy. Gunn also suggested that alcohol tolerance may be rooted in biology. “The ALDH2 gene is a gene involved in the breakdown of alcohol,” he said.

How long does hangxiety last?

Talking to someone you trust about your feelings can be incredibly comforting. You might want to check in with a friend that was with you when you were drunk to put your mind at ease. Consider contacting a mental health professional for additional support if your anxiety is severe. Research also suggests that hangovers decrease cognitive performance. A 2018 study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that hangovers increased the brain’s “cognitive load,” meaning the effort required by a person to perform a task. In turn, this affected participants’ ability to complete tasks, because the brain was overwhelmed.

  1. Experts theorize that hangxiety is related to using alcohol to overcome social anxiety.
  2. But for the moment, it might help to take a few minutes and examine your thoughts.
  3. Oftentimes patients who engage in heavy drinking are unable to remember all the events of the night before.
  4. While some people may be more likely to experience hangxiety than others, focusing on your physical health, practicing self-compassion, and having a go-to relaxation method can all help when hangxiety hits.
  5. Given how alcohol messes with the production of your feel-good chemicals, if you are some who has anxiety, it would makes sense that a hangover would worsen that.
  6. “About two drinks, or a blood alcohol concentration of 0.055, tends to increase feelings of relaxation and reduce shyness,” Cyndi goes on to say.

“Considering your motivation for drinking and the state you are in when you start drinking can be useful,” Baskin-Sommers says. “If you are drinking to “feel better” or you already are feeling down when you start drinking, it is most likely that these feelings will get worse after you drink.” Age, alcohol tolerance, hydration, body weight and medications can all contribute to how long a person’s symptoms persists, Kubala says. At the time, I wrote it off, unfamiliar with the phenomenon she was referring to. Like many others, I have become all too acquainted with the rapid heartbeat and untraceable melancholy that sometimes follows a night of drinking. Years ago, I shared a drink with a friend who was leaving the city.

“The anxiety triggered during a hangover mixes with the toxic body state induced by a night of heavy drinking, as well as the behavioral context that often follows heavy-drinking hangovers,” Naqvi explained. A term that is the combination of the words hangover and anxiety, hangxiety is the feeling of anxiousness that may accompany a hangover. Those bad feelings can make a hangover seem even worse than one with physical symptoms alone. A hangover is a series of physiological stressors on your body, and it causes everything from increased cortisol to dehydration.

Symptoms of a hangover anxiety

If possible, go back to bed and let your body continue to process the alcohol withdrawal while you sleep. If you’re planning on drinking, taking all the standard steps to avoid a hangover will also help you avoid hangxiety. Fong added that some of the physical symptoms of a hangover — like dehydration, hunger and sleep deprivation — can put you more on edge as is.

what is hangxiety

For example, a person with a hangover may drink coffee to relieve the symptoms. Sometimes, anxiety during a hangover is a product of a person’s actions during or after drinking, rather than the alcohol itself. Feifel indicates you may be more likely to experience hangxiety if you live with an anxiety disorder or naturally have a high base level of anxiousness. Sometimes, your own worries may get the better of you after a night of drinking. If you wake up with unclear memories, you may naturally worry about what happened the night before. Yes, a hot cup of coffee might sound delicious when you wake up hungover, but when feeling anxious, trying to avoid stimulants is essential.

Hangxiety and the brain

Some people find that deep breathing or meditation helps hangover anxiety, while others wait for it to pass. Pain relievers may ease physical symptoms, such as a headache, but they will not treat anxiety. In addition, some specific changes in the body may increase the risk. Otherwise, set some boundaries for yourself and make sure to prioritize food, water, and sleep the next time you drink.

“Alcohol itself is a depressant and has sedating effects,” Dr. Arielle Baskin-Sommers, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Yale, said in an email to USA TODAY. “It helps us feel relaxed when drinking, but when we stop drinking the brain tries to recalibrate from the more sedating effects leaving some to feel worked up, anxious and irritable,” she says. However, chronic or severe anxiety during hangovers may be an important clue that a person’s body is not tolerating alcohol well or that they should speak to a doctor about anxiety. In cases where anxiety lingers much longer, it may be a sign of a different issue, such as alcohol withdrawal or an anxiety disorder. The study found that drinking led to a slight decrease in anxiety among shy individuals. A 2019 study highlights a potential link between shyness, alcohol consumption, alcohol use disorder, and anxiety.

While alcohol can help make you feel more relaxed, it can also have less-than-positive effects on your mental and physical health. If you aren’t sure where to start, you can speak with your primary care doctor about your symptoms. They can rule out other medical conditions, write you a prescription if needed, and can recommend a mental health professional to address anxiety symptoms. Persistent anxiety could be the sign of an anxiety disorder, or regular hangover anxiety could hint at excessive drinking habits or alcohol use disorder. Research suggests some people may be more susceptible to hangxiety. According to a 2023 study of more than 5,000 university students, people sensitive to classic hangovers were also more likely to have higher levels of anxiety and stress.

As a shared experience and not a formal diagnosis, there’s no set list of symptoms that define hangxiety. In general, it’s the similar to general symptoms of anxiety, just specific to post-drinking. Another 2023 study suggested hangover symptoms like anxiety were more common among people with poor emotional regulation. For many people, this means an uptick in feelings of anxiety and the familiar hangxiety experience.

If you find yourself frequently drinking more than you planned (and experiencing anxiety afterward), it might be time to take a step back and reevaluate things. Anxiety can happen for a lot of reasons, but one possible cause could relate to alcohol use itself. To put it another way, you might have some awareness, whether it’s conscious or not, of alcohol’s less-than-positive effects on your mental health. A 2019 study looked at 97 people with varying levels of shyness who drank socially.

People are also more likely to indulge in foods that might also trigger anxious feelings. If the factors involved in a classic hangover can also contribute to anxiety, treating your physical hangover may help you mentally. If these symptoms are a part of hangxiety, Feifel indicates they will typically appear 6 hours to 20 hours after you stop drinking. It’s a popular term that describes a widely shared experience of post-alcohol anxiety.

However, Gunn stressed that “the link between sleep quality and hangover anxiety has not yet been established.” “Alcohol does help people get to sleep, but it doesn’t help the quality of sleep and it affects your REM sleep,” Andand says. “So you’re not really rested, that can also increase the anxiety.” “There are a lot of individual differences, and not everyone who drinks will experience what you call ‘hangxiety,’” Baskin-Sommers says.

Certain medications, including some anxiety and anti-inflammatory medications, may interact with alcohol. Your medications may be less effective, and you may feel anxious, restless, or agitated. Not getting enough of the right nutrients can also affect mood symptoms. A 2011 study on adults with depression or anxiety suggests a link between low levels of folic acid and these conditions. Research from 2014 suggests this can contribute to anxiety and other changes in mood. Whether you have one drink or five, your body eventually has to process the alcohol out of your system.