14 Minutes

By THE BALANCE
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The present article will discuss hangxiety (a term used for hangover anxiety) and what it actually is. After that, we will move on to describing the symptoms of hangxiety before jumping into what causes hangxiety in the first place. Lastly, we will explain why hangovers causes anxiety.

A hangover refers to physical, as well as mental, effects caused by drinking too much alcohol. It is essentially a state of recovery where the body tries to go back to its normal state, which is why the person does not feel good. Hangxiety, on the other hand, is anxiety that occurs after ingesting large amounts of alcohol. Hangxiety is also called hangover anxiety. Some researches have concluded that those who are very shy are at a greater risk for developing Alcohol Use Disorder, and, hence, of course getting anxiety from drinking. Hangover anxiety occurs because the chemicals in the body are being balanced again. Even if one does not suffer from an anxiety or panic disorder, they can still experience hangxiety as it is a different phenomenon altogether

The usual symptoms associated with a hangover are physical – headache, nausea, fatigue, dehydration and weakness. But symptoms of hangovers can manifest psychologically too, notably, feelings of anxiety. Hangover anxiety is a sensation that includes a stress reaction in the body, producing stress hormones that trigger irregular heartbeat, breathing and sweating.

What are alcohol-induced panic attacks?

Symptoms of hangxiety vary from individual to individual, like with all other illnesses and disorders. Some of the common signs and symptoms of hangxiety are as follows:

  1. Anxiousness – this goes without saying, people experience anxiety, which can be uncomfortably intense
  2. Paranoia
  3. Feeling extreme shame, guilt worry and / or embarrassment – this is usually about the previous night that was spent drinking
  4. Restlessness – this is persistent and constant and makes concentration, sleep and relaxation strangely difficult
  5. Difficulty focusing – loss of the ability to focus, it also occurs due to restlessness
  6. Stomach knots – this is figurative but it feels very real and puts the person in a state of unease
  7. Increased heart rate – a racing heart is a consequence of anxiety

When a person drinks alcohol, their bodies metabolize it, releasing a toxic compound called acetaldehyde in the process. This compound causes inflammation around the body, such as in the pancreas, the liver, the gastrointestinal tract, and the brain. This inflammation, coupled with dehydration, causes the person to feel sick. As the body and brain try to regain the chemical balance (especially that of dopamine) after excessive alcohol consumption, there is a chance that one experiences some degree of withdrawals. These withdrawal effects can temporarily affect the nervous system and also mood – this may mean anxiety (better yet; hangxiety) for some. Researchers haven’t identified a single cause. But have proposed a number of theories.

1. Social anxiety and Shyness

Many socially anxious people find a drink or two helpful in alleviating nervous or anxious feelings before or during a social event. With a blood alcohol concentration of 0.055 (approximately two drinks), feelings of relaxation and reduced shyness begin heightening, yet as the effects of alcohol begin to wear down, feelings of anxiety tend to return and may compound due to simultaneously felt physical symptoms of a hangover. A 2019 study also showed the link between alcohol-use disorder and anxiety elevation in shy study participants.

2. Alcohol Related Actions

On occasion Hangover anxiety is the result of one’s actions rather than the alcohol itself. One may feel anxious if they are unable to recall what occurred after an excessive amount of drinking. Decreased cognitive function, which is common during a hangover, can create a reduced ability to make good decisions, thus may result in anxiety when later reflected upon.

3. Medication Use

Certain anxiety and anti-inflammatory medication can negatively interact with alcohol, making them less effective and leaving people in anxious, agitated or restless states.

4. Poor Sleep

Consuming alcohol can affect sleep, even if little is consumed. Even with a full night’s rest, quality of sleep may be compromised. This lack of sleep can result in increased levels of anxiety, the night after drinking.

5. Alcohol Detox

The body eventually has to process alcohol consumed out of its system. This detoxification can be deemed as a mild form of alcohol withdrawal, which can take up to 8 hours. During this time, it is common to feel nervous, anxious or jittery.

6. Alcohol Intolerance

Often confused with alcohol allergy, alcohol intolerance can lead to multiple symptoms similar to physical symptoms of anxiety. These include nausea, rapid heartbeat or pounding heart, flushed skin or excitability. It is also plausible to feel mood-related symptoms, including feelings of anxiety

Responses and reactions to alcohol are varied, but anyone can experience hangover anxiety, even those who are not diagnosed with a clinical anxiety disorder. Neurally, alcohol bonds with gamma aminobutyric acid or GABA receptors in the brain, that decrease energy levels and provide a relaxing effect; yet is the same effect that can cause anxiety to rise. As alcohol is a sedative, the nervous system counteracts this by creating a state of hyperarousal, which can lead to shaking, sensitivity to light and sound, and sleep deprivation.

How To Cure a Hangover?

In a 2017 study, almost 1900 people ranging from ages 18 to 30 carried out a survey with questions relating to various hangover symptoms. Although, a feeling of anxiety was reported the least, 22.6 % of participants still reported feeling anxious.

We know that alcohol cases a change in the natural levels of serotonin in our brain. Serotonin is responsible for managing our mood. Thus, when its levels are disturbed, as when alcohol is drunk in excess and as the body tries to bring serotonin levels back to normal (in a hangover), anxiety occurs. Hangovers are worse if the alcohol consumed was in extremely large amounts. Hangovers not only cause anxiety, but can also be a source of depression. In any case, this is due to lowered levels of serotonin. 

Alcohol affects serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety. You can feel a lot more apprehensive when the booze wears off. Alcohol-induced anxiety (hangxiety) can last for many hours or even a whole day after drinking. If you’ve ever had a long night of drinking, you’ve definitely experienced the physical effects of a hangover. Symptoms include a pounding headache, nausea, weariness and weakness, sensitivity to light, sweating, and a strong need to drink water.

For many people, however, the consequences of a hangover do not stop there. The headache and nausea are accompanied with hangxiety, or hangover anxiety. The idea of hangover anxiety is very new, and specialists have yet to pinpoint a single culprit. They do, however, have a few theories. Thus, through the medium of the theories, the paper will ascertain the side effects of hangxiety:

Anxiety in social situations

According to Cyndi Turner, LSATP, MAC, LCSW, “many people utilise alcohol as a social lubricant.” If you suffer from anxiety, particularly social anxiety, you may find that having a drink or two before (or during) a social gathering helps you relax and cope with uncomfortable or anxious sensations. Cyndi continues, “About two drinks, or a blood alcohol content of 0.055, seems to boost feelings of calm and minimise shyness.” However, anxiousness tends to reappear when the effects of alcohol wear off. Physical symptoms of a hangover might exacerbate anxiety and make you feel much worse.

Detox from alcohol

Whether you consume one or five drinks, your body will have to filter the alcohol out of your system at some point. According to Cleveland Clinic, this detoxification stage, which may be considered a mild kind of withdrawal, might last up to 8 hours. You may feel restless, worried, tense, or jittery during this period, just as you would if you were experiencing more acute alcohol withdrawal.

Emotional withdraw

According to Turner, a form of emotional disengagement might also develop. When endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers, and feel-good chemicals, are released in reaction to stressful experiences, their levels normally fall over several days, she says. Alcohol also causes the release of endorphins and a subsequent comedown. Drinking alcohol may appear to dull any physical or mental discomfort you’re experiencing at first. It won’t, however, make it go away.

Dehydration

There are a variety of reasons why the bar’s toilet queue is so long. One is that drinking causes people to urinate more often than normal. Plus, despite your best efforts, you’re probably not drinking as much water as you should be. Dehydration can result from the combination of these two variables. This, according to ResearchTrusted Source, might contribute to anxiety and other mood swings.

Deficiency in folic acid

Mood problems can also be influenced by a lack of certain nutrients. Low levels of folic acid have been linked to sadness and anxiety in adults, according to a 2011 study trusted source. Alcohol can also lower your folic acid levels, which may explain why you don’t feel quite right the next day. People are also more inclined to consume items that might make them feel nervous.

The use of medication

Certain drugs, such as anti-depressants and anti-inflammatories, may interact with alcohol. You may feel worried, restless, or agitated when your drugs become less effective. Other adverse effects of certain drugs include cognitive impairment and major physical health issues such as ulcers or organ damage.

Worry or regret

After a few drinks, alcohol tends to lessen your inhibitions, making you feel more relaxed and comfortable. “However, drinking more than three drinks might impair balance, speaking, thinking, reasoning, and judgement,” Turner warns. Because of the influence on your judgement and logic, you may say or do things you wouldn’t normally say or do. You could feel embarrassed or regretful when you remember (or try to remember) what happened the next day. You can be worried while you wait for your buddies to tell you what occurred if you’re not sure what you did.

Intolerance to alcohol

Alcohol intolerance, also known as alcohol allergy, can create a variety of symptoms that are similar to the physical signs of hangxiety, such as:

  • nausea
  • heart pounding at a fast rate or fast pulse
  • a headache
  • fatigue

Sleepiness or excitability, as well as warm, flushed skin, especially on the face and neck, are further signs. It’s also possible to have mood-related symptoms, such as worry.

Sleep disturbances

Even if you don’t drink much, alcohol might disrupt your sleep. Even if you’ve had enough sleep, it’s likely not been of the highest quality, leaving you feeling a little odd. If you suffer from anxiety, you’re undoubtedly aware of the following cycle, which may occur with or without the use of alcohol: When you don’t get enough sleep, your anxiety symptoms and side effects worsen, yet the same symptoms make it difficult to get a decent night’s sleep.

Hangxiety is the term for alcohol-induced anxiety, and the duration of its effects varies depending on the individual and how their bodies react to alcohol. Hanxiety is also short for hangover anxiety, which occurs when a person experiences a surge in anxiety after consuming alcohol. Despite the fact that anxiety from alcohol is the least reported symptom, it is stated that 22.6 percent of persons experience it.

Hangxiety can linger 14 to 16 hours after the first hangover symptoms, according to a mouse research, after which the mice’s blood alcohol concentration recovered to baseline. Another study found that alcohol-induced anxiety in rats persisted up to 24 hours. So, while the hangover anxiety may not stay long, it is not always the case. Anxiety can persist for 3 to 7 days in those who are addicted to alcohol! Anxiety might last for up to seven days in some people. The uneasiness associated with a hangover lasts as long as it takes the body to restore normal chemical levels.

While hangxiety may be controlled to a degree, it is best to prevent it completely and permanently. The following are some of the methods that may be taken to manage Alcohol Anxiety and, if feasible, cure it: Simple techniques to avoid hangxiety in the start include eating before drinking and drinking a glass of water after each alcoholic beverage. Staying hydrated might help you avoid both a hangover and hangxiety since dehydration has been connected to anxiety and other mood changes.

It’s also a good idea to drink less alcohol. The more you drink, the worse your hangover (and any hangxiety) will be. Consider limiting yourself and defining a limit for the evening before you consumig alcohol. Instead of hanging out with folks who will drink excessively, hang out with those who wish to limit their consumption. Instead of going out with folks who will overindulge in alcohol, hang out with pals who wish to limit their use. While having a nice time, you’ll be able to hold each other accountable.

If you follow these measures, you will be able to avoid drinking alcohol. Anxiety can be completely cured by using the strategies and practises listed above on a regular basis. Remember that the secret to success is patience, consistency, and persistence!

There are two-fold’s to this heading; one that deals with treating hangxiety and the latter deals with preventing suffering from hangxiety at all. 

The headache and nausea are accompanied with hangxiety, or hangover anxiety. Do you ever become nervous or worried after a night of drinking? Are you constantly replaying what you said and did the night before, afraid of humiliating yourself or offending someone? Hangxiety is what it is. This prompts the question: how can anxiety be treated? (and more importantly, hangxiety). Hangxiety may be dealt with in a number of ways.

Counseling may be the most effective strategy to reduce your anxiety if you suffer from social anxiety or phobia (combined with a medication such as sertraline, or Zoloft). If you have a generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), which is marked by an unexplainable sensation of concern or tension, your doctor may recommend cognitive behavioural treatment (CBT) or talking to a therapist about your anxiety.

Also, you may be given medicines. A doctor may prescribe Duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), or paroxetine as antidepressants (Paxil). He or she may prescribe alprazolam (Xanax), Diazepam (Valium), and Lorazepam when it comes to benzodiazepines (Ativan). Each type of anxiety medication acts in a unique way. Antidepressants can be used on a regular basis to help with anxiety, however benzodiazepines are frequently used for short-term anxiety alleviation. To find out which drug is best for you, go to your doctor.

Several of these drugs may interact with alcohol. Before taking any of these medications, discuss your alcohol use with your doctor, since side effects can be serious or fatal. Alcohol induced anxiety, hangxiety,  can be reduced by making changes to one’s lifestyle. Alcohol anxiety can be treated, but not always cured. You may, however, make lifestyle changes to help you manage and reduce your anxiety.

  1. You may reduce your alcohol anxiety by making a few easy lifestyle changes.
  2. Reduce your levels of anxiousness.
  3. Depending on your age, you should sleep for at least 6 to 8 hours every night.
  4. Limit your consumption of both caffeine and alcohol, since they might make you feel uneasy.
  5. Eat the same healthful meals every day.
  6. Set aside time each day to focus on relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.
  7. Make time for a relaxing hobby every day, such as listening to music or drawing.

You may also learn to control your alcohol anxiety by slowing it down and preventing it from becoming overpowering and causing panic attacks:

  • Take a few deep breaths in and out gently when you start to feel scared.
  • Think pleasant thoughts when your thoughts become too negative or overpowering.
  • Count slowly from 1 to 10 or higher until you are no longer worried.
  • Concentrate on something that makes you smile or feel better until your nerves start to fade.

Here are some recommendations for soothing anxiety at night or lowering anxiety the next day after drinking if you suffer from extreme hangxiety. 

  • Taking care of the physical symptoms of a hangover may also help you feel better emotionally.
  • To recover from a hangover, drink plenty of water, sleep, eat a light meal, and take an ibuprofen-like pain killer.
  • Two soothing techniques to try include meditation and deep breathing.
  • Relax your body and mind while paying attention to and accepting your thoughts without bias.
  • If you feel up to it, listen to calming music or indulge in a relaxing pastime such as writing, reading, painting, or going for a walk.

A better technique to deal with nighttime anxiety.

The following are some of the greatest alcohol-free nighttime relaxation routines:

  • Turn off all of the lights. Let’s begin with the most challenging; Setting aside time in the evening to turn off any electronic devices with displays is strongly recommended. This is something we must make an effort to do! Any beeping, vibrating, or buzzing related with the equipment in issue falls under this category. It is advised that you avoid watching television for at least an hour before going to bed, with three hours being ideal.
  • Relax with a tasty nightcap. Turmeric, ginger, cloves, and honey provide this warming golden milk its natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral benefits, which my entire family appreciates! To make it dairy-free, use almond or coconut milk. This not only calms your stomach, but it also strengthens your defences. Remember to take a few deep breaths.
  • Make a gratitude list. A gratitude list always cheers me up a notch or two. Even if you’re having a difficult day, I’m confident you can find 10 things to be grateful for every day—a working refrigerator, a lovely blanket, someone’s smile, those deep breaths you just took, your pulse. We don’t need science to inform us that gratitude contributes to a happier, less stressful state of mind.
  • Make use of a diffuser. The soothing and relaxing effects of lavender, vanilla, jasmine, rose, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, bergamot, and chamomile are well-known. To carry the scent with you, apply a few drops of these essential oils on your wrists.

Despite the fact that it appears to be simple, the majority of us are ignorant of this powerful and always available stress-relieving approach. Instead, the great majority of people I meet take shallow breaths. When you take calm and full inhalations and exhalations, it enhances blood flow and better distributes nutrients and chemicals to most of the many critical parts of your body and brain, resulting in overall equilibrium. One of my favourites is Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 breath technique. This is something I prefer to do on a chair or on the floor. Simply inhale four times, hold for seven counts, and then exhale eight times. Rep this process three or four times more. Having discussed the first-fold of the heading, we will now look to ascertain how one can prevent suffering from hangxiety at all.

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