Drinkers who experience a hangover the next morning may experience distress and anxiety about the aftermath of drinking. Feelings of guilt, stress and worry often accompany the experience of a drinking binge the day after. Learn how hangxiety affects the mind, body and soul and how to avoid this complication of drinking.
Approximately 1,400 Dutch students were studied for an article in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism. Nearly half of the people studied reported agitation the day after drinking. Even more students reported experiencing negative emotions such as confusion, guilt and regret. When participants experienced a hangover, for example, the study found symptoms of a hangover (fatigue, thirst, drowsiness and headache) were accompanied by emotional feelings of anxiety, regret and guilt. Adverse consequences of drinking (drunk dialing, injuries, etc) can lead to anxiety the next day.
Anxiety is more complicated to explore as an emotion due to social implications and pre-existing mental states not related to alcohol consumption. When a hangover did occur, 25% of people in the Dutch study reported confusion, guilt and regret which could be related to any number of things (not necessarily alcohol). It is not known whether those 25% of participants had any mental health conditions or current life stress. The following was also noted:
- People who had anxiety during a hangover already had problems unrelated to alcohol
- People with high anxiety and negative moods consume more alcohol
- Hangxiety can be a baseline state of being after a brief alcohol-induced respite.
Sufferers of hangxiety have reported the desire to not continue drinking due to crippling anxiety and fear. Panic attacks are not uncommon features of this experience in addition to an increase in anxiety and depression, sometimes weeks after. Escapism is often the reason people drink to begin with which may lend itself to the feelings of anxiety which arise post consumption. Some of the feelings experienced are similar to a heart attack or paranoia, usually followed by typical physical symptoms such as dehydration, nausea and headaches. Alcohol can heighten anxiety due to its effects on the central nervous system. Drinking may elicit feelings of euphoria initially but as alcohol leaves the body, serotonin is depleted provoking the onset of hangxiety.
Hangxiety is a symptom of a larger problem for individual sufferers. The average age range is typically higher for hangxiety as alcohol metabolizes faster in older individuals. Men and women as young as 21 are also susceptible to hangovers. Excessive consumption of alcohol may be to blame which alters a person’s tolerance, needing larger amounts of the toxic substance which creates worse hangovers and anxiety the day after.
The best, and only, cure for hangxiety is sobriety followed by potential counseling and treatment for underlying emotional and physical issues. Every individual is different but if alcohol has become a consistent problem, it may be time to contemplate the necessity of that next drink and seek some help.
Hangxiety is a symptom of a larger problem. If you or someone you know experiences extreme hangovers, anxiety, fear or other negative emotions or consequences around drinking, Hired Power can help. Resources and tools are available to support an individual’s journey to recovery and sobriety.