Beer fear. Hangxiety.
It isn’t only a thing because it rhymes or is catchy.
If you have woken up the day after a few drinks and felt anxious then you’ll know this.
You’re not alone. For me, it is something that has come with age. When I was in my early 20’s I would spring out of bed and face first into a fried egg baguette.
These days, the anxiety after drinking alcohol can be too much.
It might be a case of thinking about what I said last night, or overthinking a heartfelt conversation I had. Or, it can go beyond the night. It might lead me to start feeling anxious about other parts of my life that I hadn’t even consciously thought about.
Does drinking cause anxiety | The science
Drinking alcohol is thought to change the levels of serotonin and neurotransmitters in the brain. This can make anxiety worse when the booze wears off. This kind of anxiety might last a few hours or the whole next day can be an anxious right off.
Sleep is another factor. Poor sleep and sleep deprivation fires up parts of the brain that are associated with processing emotions. When you have had a night drinking you will be in a drunk sleep, rather than a restful one. Poor sleep and tiredness may also enhance feelings of anxiety.
Anxiety after drinking alcohol | The symptoms
You might notice the following anxiety symptoms after boozing.
- Rapid heart rate
- Feeling irritated and/or worried
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Wanting to avoid others
- Avoiding responsibility
How to avoid hangover anxiety
If you know you are prone to anxiety after drinking then there are a few things that you might be able to do to help. Here are a few:
- Eating isn’t cheating – have a snack or a meal before or during your drinking session. If you are hungry before you go to bed then have another snack then.
- Limit your drinks – set yourself a limit of how much alcohol you are going to drink before you go out. Really try and stick to it too.
- Drink water – order a glass of water with every alcoholic drink. It might even help you avoid a headache the next day too!
How to cure hangover anxiety
If it is too late and you are reading this blog and feeling anxious after a night out, then there are some things you can do to help ease your anxiety.
- Go to sleep – this might be easier said than done. If you are having trouble sleeping because of your anxiety then find somewhere peaceful, lie back and relax. Even if you don’t sleep. You could put on some relaxing music or a meditation.
- Try a dose of CBD – add a dose of CBD which may help to reduce some of the symptoms you are feeling
- Avoid caffeine – caffeine can make your tremors and symptoms worse. Try to skip the coffee today!
- Practice self care – prioritise looking after you. Take a bath or a long shower. Use the facepack you got at Christmas. Watch the shows you love. Take time out for you and doing what you love.
- Have a word with yourself – if you are feeling anxious about what you said or did then remember those you were out with probably are too! Talk to yourself about why you are worrying about what you said, and whether that person would even remember. Often we are so consumed by what we said and did that we forget what others were up to.
- Rehydrate and eat – get yourself down the shop and stock up with hydrating drinks and mild foods (particularly if you are nauseous).
- Get some fresh air – while you might not be up for your usual run or HIIT class, you could do a long walk in the fresh air with a friend
Drinking can heighten feelings of anxiety. If you want to avoid feeling like this then there are a few things you can do such as drinking water with your alcohol and eating light snacks. When you already are struggling with anxious feelings then you might want to practice self care, get some sleep and rehydrate.