Health | Can alcohol create anxiety ? What is hangxiety and what can we do.
What is hangxiety?
Remember when we could go to a pub or a club with friends and order way too many Jagerbombs, those were the days were not they.
Let me set the scene for you, you are on a night out a few cocktails in and you start to feel that relaxed, happy feeling. Most of us know and love. After a few cocktails you think let’s move to somewhere else, which if you are anything like me will be somewhere to just let loose and dance. You bump into some other girls in the toilets and everyone makes best friends, you have turned psychologist to the random girl whose boyfriend is not treating her well at all. You are feeling the best you have felt in a long time, so much more confident in yourself. The reason behind this? Alcohol is a sedative.
So, while it is in your system you feel relaxed, more at ease and for a lot of us more confident.
This feeling is caused by a change in the chemicals in your brain (do not worry I am not going to go science on you here).
If you are interested in the science background to how it works within your body, then check out:
As the alcohol is wearing off the sedative effects begin to disappear. As well as this you then actually start to have alcohol withdrawal symptoms (crazy I know). Please welcome or not welcome hang-anxiety.
So, this explains that feeling of having “the fear” and add in headache, sometimes nausea and all the other unpleasant hangover symptoms it is no wonder we feel horrendous after a night out.
6 ways to manage hangxiety.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Easiest but not always the simplest solution. If you can avoid alcohol, this will of course limit alcohol anxiety. If not, then limiting your alcohol consumption will still make a massive positive difference.
- Staying hydrated. Alcohol works as a diuretic, meaning it pulls water out of your system. So, staying hydrated will help reduce symptoms such as headaches, dry mouth, and dizziness.
- Make sure to get plenty sleep. Sleep can help your body to recover.
- Drink alcohol with lower levels of congeners, Clear spirits, paler ales and beers all contain less congeners (congeners are substances that are made during the fermentation process that contains levels of methanol).
- Eat a hearty meal before drinking as well as the next day.
The negatives to alcohol and your health.
The occasional day of hangxiety does not mean you have an anxiety disorder. For those that already experience general day to day anxiety or other anxiety disorders, this may mean you are at a higher risk of these feelings being heightened after alcohol consumption.
We all know that feeling of finishing a long day at work and just wanting to go home to a glass of wine. There is some truth that alcohol can reduce stress. For a short time, it can reduce stress and relax you. As healthline.com states “In fact, alcohol’s effects can be similar to those of antianxiety medications”. Although drinking the odd glass to relieve stress is not a problem, the problem can occur when the body then gets used to the effect of alcohol and no longer feels the same each time. That is when drinking more and more can be the only way to feel the same effects that you are used to.
There are many risks to excess alcohol consumption including heart disease, cancers, damage to the nervous system as well as mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. 14 units or more over a 10–20-year span of alcohol consumption can cause these types of illnesses. More information on units, low and high-risk alcohol consumption can be found here:
Alternative stress relief.
Now I don’t want to stay all doom and gloom because life is hard enough without me telling you what you already know about excess alcohol consumption. If you have any concerns about your alcohol intake and would like other ideas for de-stressing, then look no further. This is my speciality.
- Exercise. Get the blood pumping, get the happy endorphins flowing. This does not need to be a hardcore workout or heavy weight-lifting session. A stroll is just as effective.
- Get outside. Fresh air does me the world of good, being outside, seeing the different sights and scenery, listening to all the noises around you. Giving you time to be in your thoughts.
- What is your passion? Do you love reading, painting, studying? Spend time doing something you enjoy, get lost in it and feel the stress leave.
- Meditation has improved my mindset and stress levels more than I can explain. Learning to clear my mind, focus on breathing and just spending time alone and at peace. There are many guided mediation apps or youtube videos if you are brand new to it.
- Journaling can also be beneficial to get your thoughts down on paper. I love gratitude journaling as it allows me to focus on all the positives in my life and work out whether some of the stresses, I am feeling are genuine stresses or irrelevant thoughts.
- Self-care- bubble bath, face mask, candlelit dinner. Treat yourself!
I challenge you to try some of these and see how much It can change how you feel and your mindset. Especially as it can be difficult to get motivated in these colder winter/spring months.
Don’t be scared to ask for help.
The biggest thing I would like to say to end this post is for any worries surrounding alcohol, anxiety or other mental health disorders, there are lots of resources that are linked within this post and below. Please check them out for more guidance and tips.
For any help or advice on alcohol consumption and addiction here are a few resources that you may find beneficial.
Laura Bethune is a Moon loving, wellness enthusiast sharing her wonderful real life journey via her blog , Mindful Mamma sharing her parenting and spirituality journey.
Parenting and spiritual blog at www.mindfulmumma.org
Instagram page www.instagram.com/lifewithlb_
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