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Forums / Anxiety / Anxiety after night out drinking?

Topic: Anxiety after night out drinking?

12 posts, 0 answered
  1. Chris B
    Community Manager
    • Works for beyondblue managing these forums. Not a mental health professional, but here to help. Email:
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    Chris B avatar
    1757 posts
    14 July 2016

    Anyone who’s experienced a night out drinking is familiar with the hangover – the fuzzy head, the crook stomach, the desire to sleep long into the next century.

    But did you know that it can also be quite common to feel a bout of anxiety after a night out drinking, particularly if you are already prone to feeling anxious or experiencing panic attacks?

    The anxiety can be triggered as your body works to remove alcohol from your system, with blood sugar levels dropping. Yes, that same chemical reaction that causes you to crave a Macca’s run at 2am can also affect your mood. 

    Some antidepressant medications also interact with alcohol to increase ‘rebound’ symptoms of anxiety.

    Once that anxiety starts to kick in, your brain can go into overdrive. You start thinking (and overthinking) your actions from the night before.

    The anxiety-fuelled hangover is so common it has even coined the slang terms “hangover anxiety” and “boozanoia” in recent years, so if you’re reading this thread after a night out with a stomach tied up in knots, then please know you’re not alone.

    Here’s three things you can do about it:

    1. Be kind to your mind when hung over – You know that the headache will fade and the stomach will settle, the anxious feelings will also subside. Remember, they’re part of the hangover too. Draw on thought-challenging, mindfulness or distraction techniques as you need to: think of them as bacon and eggs for the brain!

    2. Get a good night’s sleep – You’ve probably been out late the night before, and even if you slept in when you got home, alcohol disrupts sleep so it won’t have been quality rest. Try to get yourself an early night and allow your body and brain some time to recover.  

    3. Drink moderately and know your limits next time – Abstaining from alcohol altogether isn’t always a realistic option, but you can learn from your hangover experiences and limit your drinking in future. Slow down a bit, substitute a soft drink in between rounds, set a limit and keep track of how much you’ve had. And don't forget to eat first!

    If you’re wanting support around limiting or abstaining from alcohol, then please also join our Battling The Booze thread.

    Have you ever experienced ‘hangover anxiety’?  Did you try any of the tips above?  Do you have any tips of your own?  Please share your stories and thoughts in the thread below.

    UPDATE 5/9/19: Check out this new Beyond Blue article on hangover anxiety by award-winning journalist and author Jill Stark.

    11 people found this helpful
  2. Just Sara
    Champion Alumni
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    Just Sara avatar
    3398 posts
    14 July 2016 in reply to Chris B

    This is so interesting Chris...I've heard of coffee affecting anxiety too.

    Even though alcohol isn't a problem for me, simple carbs (sugars) have a similar affect. A book called; 'Potatoes not Prozac' is about addictive factors re anything made of sugar including alcohol. It includes info on when, how, why and what we consume and the resulting chemical reactions from our brains and body.

    Great topic! Great info...kudos...Dizzy

    2 people found this helpful
  3. RadioAktaVite
    RadioAktaVite avatar
    1 posts
    23 July 2016
    Beer and coffee - my two main anxiety/panic attack enablers. Had to quit 'em both.
    5 people found this helpful
  4. Petra
    Petra avatar
    354 posts
    23 July 2016 in reply to Chris B

    Chris B

    Here, here!

    Great topic! Very informative.


    been there at 1 am with anxiety sickness caused by two drinks! I'm a one drink only girl now. Vodka with a lot of soda water being manageable.

    I have to admit also. My vice chocolate (sugar so deliciously disguised!) is a trigger too. So very cruel! Limits are required here too I'm afraid! Sigh.......(head lowered here).

    Pet 😳

    3 people found this helpful
  5. Michael H
    blueVoices member
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    Michael H avatar
    1 posts
    23 July 2016 in reply to Petra
    I am currently in a psych ward 2 days after a night of heavy drinking and subsequent suicide attempt (thank you taxi driver for taking me to the police station). Alcohol and anti- depressants lead to a downward spiral. I have always drunk alone but feel the only way forward for me is to have a trusted friend beside you on such nights
    6 people found this helpful
  6. Petra
    Petra avatar
    354 posts
    23 July 2016 in reply to Michael H

    Hi Michael H

    Gee I'm glad for the taxi driver too for your sake. You sound as though you have the answers already.

    - drink with trusted friends

    -alcohol and anti d's cause a downward spiral

    Keep away from the triggers. Set boundaries for yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be your best friend to yourself.

    Pet 😊

    6 people found this helpful
  7. risingphoenix81
    risingphoenix81 avatar
    1 posts
    18 April 2017 in reply to RadioAktaVite
    I had to quit alcohol and coffee too .. the alcohol would make me feel so much better and relaxed while drinking it but the hangovers I'd have bad anxiety to the point where I'd almost have to call an ambulance had I not had medication to calm me down :(
    1 person found this helpful
  8. mindsuccess
    mindsuccess avatar
    1 posts
    2 May 2017

    Hi Everyone,

    This is my first time post and I just wanted to add I have been there too. It took me a number of years to recognise that hangovers cause my severe anxiety. I just had my 35th bday and ended up in hospital the next day hyperventilating and not being able to get out of my mind spiral. Since then I have got drunk only once and again I managed to get myself into a mind spiral the next day. This time I was overseas and stuck in a hotel. I was so scared that I was going to be so anxious that they wouldn't let me on the plane home. Luckily I rang beyondblue even while overseas and after 5 minutes they managed to calm me down to a point of moderate sanity. And my wife also packed a small stuffed toy that I got her years ago. The texture of the toy and the thought of her got me through. I know it sounds silly but it grounded my thoughts. Much like in the movie inception, maybe try this if you get stuck while travelling and getting anxiety.

    Coffee also affects my levels of anxiety and now have been on decaf for the last year with great results.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Blue Jane
    Champion Alumni
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    Blue Jane avatar
    195 posts
    2 May 2017 in reply to mindsuccess

    Hi mindsuccess

    Welcome to our forum. Hopefully you find it useful and supportive. Thanks for sharing your recent experiences. Ending up in hospital sounds scary but sounds like you got things more under control the next time when you were overseas. Glad that you found calling beyond blue helpful - and that you knew you could call from overseas.

    I too have reduced my alcohol intake as it really played with my mind the next day. I would over analyse the night before and be hard on myself for over doing it. My last 'big night' was NYE with some friends and my husband. We actually didn't drink too much and made sure we had a lot of food. I was able to go for a swim the next morning which helped too! I am not going to rule out more drinking in the future but I am certainly more conscious and mindful these days.

    On the weekend my husband had a big night with the other coaches at his rugby club (where he coaches first grade). He was so unwell on Sunday and it was so hard to see as he has been managing his depression so well. It is just not worth it! He is going to try to stick to two beers at a time. Unfortunately for some of us alcohol doesn't mix well!

    I am down to one coffee a day which is working well, the rest of the time I have green tea or simply herbal teas.

    Blue Jane

    Blue Jane

  10. Peace Seeker
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Peace Seeker avatar
    63 posts
    2 May 2017 in reply to Chris B

    Totally! I'm currently not drinking any Coffee and alcohol.

    i dont drink much these days anyway but I notice pretty bad anxiety the next day even after 2 drinks! So not worth it!

    Coffee I drink on and off. The moment I feel my anxiety is increasing I cut out coffee for a period of time. Inevitably i start drinking it again but at least I'm mindful of what it's effects are and manage and cut back when necessary.

    1 person found this helpful
  11. Maddison24
    Maddison24 avatar
    1 posts
    1 August 2017

    Thank you for all of your replies - I'm currently in the learning stages of my anxiety after being put through the absolute ringer from doctors who have blamed every medical issue under the sun EXCEPT anxiety (underweight and magnesium deficiency being the main ones).

    My anxiety comes out in the form of a racing heart and palpitations which can be very distressing.

    So far I've cut out coffee, cigarettes and marijuana (I am a former daily smoker) and am now considering alcohol too as it always makes my heart feel like it's beating out of the control, to the point where I've admitted myself to hospital 3 times in the past 12 months only to be told there is nothing wrong with me and there is nothing they can do.

    Hospital makes my anxiety completely disappear although I do feel very upset/stupid when they give me the "nothing is wrong"spiel. The last doctor who saw me in ER has suggested taking anti-anxiety medication - does anyone have any advice about this or the medication itself? I am also starting cognitive therapy next week.

    I'm nervous about the social aspects about not drinking and how it might alienate me from my friends.

  12. james1
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    james1 avatar
    3038 posts
    1 August 2017 in reply to Maddison24

    Hello Maddison,

    Welcome and nice work taking all those positive steps in managing your anxiety with the appointments and cutting coffee/cigs/marijuana.

    I haven't had anti-anxiety medication but I have had antidepressants and the two are often similar/the same.

    It's hard for us to say what'll happen with the medication because people's bodies react differently, but I can assure you that as long as you keep good dialogue with your doctor, side effects can be managed. In my case, I was just very honest to my doctors that I didn't want to be dependent on them and so we made sure that the medication was just enough that I could continue my actual therapy properly. We kept a relatively low dose and I just had regular appointments with my psychologist until I could come off the medication (off them now).

    Is your name referring to your age? I'm 25 and basically all my friends drink socially, but we always have a bunch who don't. I know it's easy for me to say as an outsider, but good friends won't care if you're not drinking especially if it does make your heart out of whack. I think most of the time we are more afraid of being left out when, in fact, nobody but ourselves really mind. The non-drinking is only a problem if you make it a problem :)

    So I'd say go for it. Order the glass of OJ on the rocks and rock everyone's socks off with your ability to walk and talk straight. And if you are nervous, you can ask a close friend to also not drink with you :)


    1 person found this helpful

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