Do you suffer from hangxiety? Here are some tips to help

If you’ve ever woken up with the double whammy of a hangover, wrapped up in a sense of dread or panic, you’ve probably experienced ‘hangxiety’, or hangover anxiety.

You don’t even need to have a heavy drinking session to experience hangxiety and if you already have an anxious temperament, you may find even just a little alcohol can elevate your anxiety levels the next day.

What Causes Hangxiety?

  1. Alcohol’s influence on neurotransmitters: Alcohol affects levels of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine and GABA. These neurotransmitters are boosted by alcohol and are responsible for the feelings of happiness and relaxation from drinking. On the other hand, levels are low during a hangover, leading to feelings of anxiety, jitteriness, and irritability; the opposite of the night before.
  2. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances: Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it kicks our kidneys into high gear to increase urine production, which in turn can lead to dehydration and hangover ‘cotton mouth’. Dehydration can also make anxiety and hangover symptoms worse.
  3. Disrupted sleep patterns: Alcohol can play havoc with sleeping patterns, leading to poor-quality sleep and feelings of anxiety the next day.
  4. Regret and guilt: Hangovers often come with a sense of regret or guilt over the previous night’s actions, can kick your self-esteem to the curb and lead to feelings of anxiety or dread.

Preventing Hangxiety

The best way to avoid hangxiety is not to drink, or significantly reduce your drinking.

Drink mindfully and stay hydrated. Swap every second drink for a non-alcoholic drink, try sparkling water, a soft drink or even a branded zero alcohol drink.

If you do happen to wake up feeling anxious:

Look after yourself: Do things that are relaxing and make you feel good, like taking a warm bath, practicing mindfulness or meditation. Rest when you’re tired and be kind to yourself.

Eat well and rehydrate: Have a balanced meal that will replenish essential nutrients and get your blood sugar levels back to normal. Drink healthy fluids.

Get moving: Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Even a short walk or gentle stretching session can reduce feelings of anxiety and improve overall well-being. Walking in nature can help you nurture yourself.

If you’re struggling to cope with hangxiety, don’t hesitate to jump into Daybreak and get support from the fabulous community or reach out to friends and family. If you need a bit more, talk to your GP or a mental health professional about anxiety management.

Let us know how you go. We are here to help you change your relationship with alcohol and meet your personal goals, whether that is taking a break, cutting back or quitting.

The Hello Sunday Morning Team

5 Comments

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  • I could not agree more with this thought. I have been a regular but not heavy drinker for the last 20 years. I have always felt a slight background level of anxiety. I had got used to the anxiety. I didn’t associate the drink with the anxiety.
    This year I have stopped drinking for 44 days and now only drink 1 or 2 at social functions.
    I feel great, anxiety that I expected in challenging situations has gone, as has the background anxiety. The plus easily out weighs the not drinking.
    I was recently given a cancer diagnosis, unrelated to drinking, and while it doesn’t feel great to know that I have this serious threat to my existence, I am not experiencing the anticipated anxiety that I would have felt if I was drinking.
    thanks for your work.

    By Michael
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    April 28, 2024
  • Wow, there’s a name for this !, i thought that was only me that experienced this super heavy anxiety combined with a hangover …. Its quite comforting to know that its a “Thing ” and not just something specific to me ….

    By Kevin
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    April 28, 2024
  • Thanks for that insight. I stopped all alcohol a year ago. One of my reasons was hungxiety. No more of that! Feels so relaxing.

    By Jerry
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    April 28, 2024
  • Excellent to read very useful information and makes you stop n think

    By Sherri Campbell
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    April 29, 2024
  • Glad to say goodbye to waking up with hangxiety. Unfortunately I’m waking up today to sore muscles from the gym, as alcohol free allows me to push harder than I could before

    By John W
    |
    May 8, 2024
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