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.
Check out this new Beyond Blue article on hangover anxiety
by award-winning journalist and author Jill Stark.