By We Level Up NJ Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: February 3, 2023
What is Hangxiety Or Hangover Anxiety?
Post-drinking guilty feelings accompanied by stress have come to be known as “hangxiety”. But what exactly causes “hangxiety”? Hangxiety is a term that describes the feeling of anxiety or stress people might feel after drinking too much alcohol. It is caused by a hangover that can linger even after the effects of the alcohol have worn off. Symptoms of hangxiety include feelings of guilt, anxiety, irritability, depression, and mood swings. It is important to practice responsible drinking and to seek help if you feel that you may have a problem with alcohol consumption.
Are You Feeling Hangxiety?
Hangxiety or hangover anxiety is a real phenomenon. Hangxiety describes the anxiety some individuals feel after binge alcohol drinking. Many people know the feeling firsthand. It’s the feeling of dread, that comes from suffering from a hangover while feeling anxious or even ashamed of your activities the night before. It’s often caused by a combination of dehydration, exhaustion, guilt, and other emotional and physical effects from drinking. It’s important to be aware of how your body feels after drinking, as this can help you to be more mindful of any anxious feelings or physical symptoms the next day.
The hangxiety definition stems from a combination of the terms “hangover” and “anxiety,”. “Hangxiety” refers to the experience of feeling the physical effects of alcohol related to a hangover (headache or stomach ache, tiredness, nausea, etc) , compounded by psychological uneasiness. It is the feeling of being “on edge” after drinking. It is also the feeling that “something’s not right” and being paranoid or flat-out scared and can’t explain why.
Hangxiety is a phenomenon that can happen on an occasional or more regular basis, as it can be connected to several factors. The most common reason (and obvious) is reduced dopamine secretion. Known as the “happy hormone,” dopamine is produced by the brain and used to send messages among nerve cells, regulating our anxiety levels. And the greater the alcohol consumption, the greater the drop in dopamine, which can lead to feelings of anxiety.
Cortisol may also play a role in the emergence of feelings of “hangxiety.” Unlike dopamine, this hormone, which is linked with carbohydrate regulation, can increase stress if it is secreted in too large amounts. Excessive alcohol intake will lead to an overproduction of cortisol and may therefore lead to stress and anxiety.
Symptoms of hangxiety can include feeling overwhelmed, rapid heart rate, racing thoughts, sweating, difficulty concentrating, and dizziness. Anxiety can also manifest itself in the form of physical symptoms such as nausea, headache, and fatigue. If left unchecked, these symptoms can turn into a full-blown panic attack.
Hangxiety can also involve feelings of guilt or shame about not being productive, or feeling like you “should” be able to do more. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by these feelings, it can be helpful to break tasks down into smaller pieces or take breaks during the day to give yourself a chance to rest and restore. It can also be helpful to reach out to friends, family, and professionals who can help provide support and guidance.
Hangxiety is not only a physical reaction, but it can have psychological triggers as well. People who have had a past traumatic experience while under the influence of alcohol can have lingering feelings of anxiety that are triggered by the act of drinking. These feelings can be further exacerbated if the individual is not surrounded by a supportive community or network of friends or family.
Does alcohol help anxiety? Heavy drinking causes an influx of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), making a person feel calm and relaxed. This becomes a “crutch” for chronic drinkers. When alcohol is taken out of the picture and the effects of alcohol withdrawal kick in, GABA is no longer present. Thus, the feeling of calmness is also taken away, leading to hangxiety.
The co-occurrence of alcohol and anxiety disorders is relatively common . The research found that 20% of those with social anxiety have an alcohol misuse problem. The abuse of alcohol and anxiety often make each other significantly worse. This is especially problematic as the two are often closely linked. How to help hangxiety? As with many dual-diagnosis conditions, alcoholism and anxiety commonly exist together within the same person. Anxiety is a reason many people drink and a result of drinking. It becomes a vicious cycle. Drinking alcohol can make an anxious person feel worse.
Here’s an illustration of a typical cycle:
- A person drinks alcohol
- They initially feel calm as the alcohol affects the brain
- They feel anxiety as a symptom of alcohol withdrawal as the body processes the alcohol
- They may want to drink again to try to relieve their anxiety
- But this only starts the process from the origin. As the initial calming effect disappears, the person can feel anxiety after quitting drinking alcohol build again as the effects wear off
The more alcohol consumed, the greater the tolerance will be. Over time there is a need to drink more alcohol to feel the same effects. Over time this may negatively affect mental health, resulting in a higher level of anxiety and depression after drinking. Anxiety disorder makes an individual start drinking alcohol, which worsens their fear, leads them to drink more, and worsens their anxiety further. It’s a never-ending vicious cycle of alcohol and stress.
Are you wondering how to get rid of hangxiety? While there is no failsafe “hangxiety cure” there are activities you can do to lessen hangxiety symptoms and increase your overall sense of well-being. Some possible strategies include: engaging in relaxation techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, yoga, and other forms of exercise; getting enough sleep; eating healthy foods; and engaging in supportive therapy.
- Anxiety Symptoms
- Anxiety Treatment
- Physical Effects of Alcohol
- Does Alcohol Help Anxiety?
- Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal
- Alcohol And Anxiety Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorder
- Effective Addiction CBT Therapy
- Dual Diagnosis Link to Addiction, Deadly Risks, Signs, Statistics, & Treatment Options.
- MAT For Alcohol Addiction And For Comfortable Recovery
- Effective Treatment For Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol & Anxiety Statistics
Alcohol use disorder and anxiety are frequent co-occurring disorders that can be extremely distressing and have a negative impact on daily functioning. A pre-existing anxiety disorder can influence an alcohol use disorder because it can make an anxiety disorder worse, cause new anxiety symptoms, or have the opposite effect (as many individuals use alcohol as an unhealthy coping mechanism).
According to a recent survey, 65% of respondents reported ‘high levels’ of psychological distress due to prolonged periods spent at home. Additionally, 81% of respondents indicated they experienced ‘moderate levels’ of anxiety or depression while stuck at home.
Isolation has become a new reality for many, and research shows that spending too much time alone can have a profound effect on our mental health. In addition to feelings of loneliness and boredom, some individuals may even experience a decrease in motivation and energy levels, difficulty sleeping, and an increase in negative emotion. It’s important to take time for self-care, foster relationships with friends and family, and stay active in order to combat the effects of prolonged isolation.
In 2019, 85.6% of people said they had drunk alcohol at some point.
25% of those who sought treatment for panic disorder also had a history of alcoholism.
Source: Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
People with AUD aged 12 and older received treatment for it 7.2% of the time in the previous year.
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Why Does It Happen?
Why do I get hangxiety? And what causes hangxiety? Hangxiety is an unofficial, non-medical term for hangover anxiety, but it’s still real. In more official terms, hangover anxiety or hangxiety is a symptom of alcohol withdrawal. While withdrawal is often thought of as something that happens after someone who drinks heavily stops suddenly, it can also occur on a more mild scale after just one long night of drinking. If you have a history of depression and anxiety, alcohol will worsen it.
What causes hangover anxiety? The reason this happens all has to do with alcohol’s impact on the brain. Alcohol intake changes levels of brain chemicals such as serotonin, which regulates mood and anxiety. Though alcohol depresses the central nervous system and can have a calming effect initially, anxiety can spike back up when those feel-good effects go away. So, even though a few strong drinks might put your mind at ease for a night, you may get bombarded with dread and regret when you wake up the next morning.
How Long Does Hangxiety Last?
How long does an anxiety hangover last? The duration of its effects on hangxiety varies depending on the individual and how their bodies react to alcohol. Hangxiety can linger 14 to 16 hours after the first hangover symptoms. So, while the hangover anxiety may not stay long, it is not always the case. If you are wondering, “how long can hangxiety last?”, the answer is that anxiety can persist for 3 to 7 days in those addicted to alcohol.
Experiencing hangxiety for days? How long does hangover anxiety last? Some people have had Hangxiety lasts for days. The uneasiness associated with a hangover lasts as long as it takes the body to restore normal chemical levels. How to help with hangover anxiety? If you find your hangxiety is lasting longer than a day, you need to make an appointment with your doctor. Chronic stress and anxiety can significantly damage your health and quality of life.
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How to deal with it?
How to deal with hangover anxiety? And how to get rid of hangover anxiety? When you experience hangxiety often because you are drinking regularly, it’s time to do something. You can start by speaking to your doctor about it, as they can recommend various treatment methods, including therapy or medication. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your primary care provider about this, there are plenty of other options for you and resources for getting sober.
How to get over hangxiety? For those who have been experiencing hangxiety often, the first thing to do is stop drinking, as alcohol is why you have hangxiety. Some people can quit drinking completely on their own or with the help of their family and friends. How to treat hangxiety? One of the best ways to guarantee success is by reaching out to treatment professionals that have experience helping people get clean and sober. Depending on the severity of your addiction, inpatient care may be your best option. Hangxiety treatment may include prescribed medication from a medical professional as well as getting enough food and water.
How To Stop Anxiety After Drinking Alcohol?
There are a few things you can try to stop anxiety after drinking alcohol. To stop anxiety after drinking alcohol try to:
- Take deep breaths: Try taking slow, deep breaths to help calm your body and mind.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Try techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation or mindfulness meditation to help you relax.
- Get some exercise: Physical activity can help reduce anxiety and improve your mood.
- Try to get some sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep can help you feel more rested and refreshed, which may help reduce anxiety.
- Talk to someone: Sometimes, just talking about your feelings can be helpful. Consider talking to a friend, family member, or mental health professional.
- Drink plenty of water: Alcohol can cause dehydration, which can contribute to feelings of anxiety. Drinking water can help hydrate your body and may help reduce anxiety.
- Consider taking a medication: If your anxiety is severe or persists despite trying other methods, your healthcare provider may recommend taking a medication to help reduce your anxiety.
It’s important to recognize that drinking alcohol can raise the risk of developing anxiety and additional mental health issues. If you’re struggling with anxiety and alcohol use, and don’t know how to stop anxiety after drinking, it may be helpful to seek help from a mental health professional or substance abuse treatment program.
Symptoms of hangxiety vary from individual to individual, like with all other illnesses and disorders. Some of the common signs and symptoms of hangxiety are as follows:
- Muscle ache
- Stomach pain
- Light and sound sensitivity
- Increased blood pressure
How To Avoid Hangxiety?
How to get rid of hangxiety fast? And what is the best hangxiety cure for hangover anxiety? There are ways to prevent hangover anxiety. A list of possible hangover anxiety or hangxiety cure methods include:
- Keep a log of anxiety episodes that follow drinking. This may help you understand whether certain situations or quantities of alcohol cause you stress.
- Drink plenty of water. Hydrate during and after alcohol consumption and avoid coffee and other stimulants that may enhance anxiety.
- Do not drink too quickly. Try to stick to one alcoholic drink per hour. If you tend to drink soon, try enjoying a simple drink on the rocks that is better suited for sipping. The more alcohol you drink in a short period, the worse the hangxiety will be.
- Avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Have a snack or quick meal before you want to drink. You can always eat while drinking or before bed if that does not fill you up.
- Only drink with trusted friends. Avoid people and places that may encourage the behavior you regret the next day. You may also prevent hangover anxiety by reducing or eliminating alcohol.
- Set yourself a limit. When you are in the moment and having fun, you may feel fine to keep drinking. However, those drinks will eventually catch up to you. Set a limit and stop drinking when you’ve reached that limit.
How to relieve hangover anxiety? The best thing for hangover anxiety is getting enough food, water, and sleep while taking over-the-counter medicine.
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How To Reduce Hangover Anxiety?
How to ease hangover anxiety? While the symptoms of a hangover vary from person to person, one of the most common complaints hangover sufferers have is a feeling of “anxiety.” How to prevent hangxiety? Anxiety is a normal reaction that we all have to new or powerful stimuli in our lives. When we feel anxious, we must remember that it is an appropriate response to the situation. However, the problem is that when the hangover sets in and our brain is confused, it may lead to an overreaction to these stimuli, leading to anxiety.
How to relieve hangxiety? A few ways of reducing hangover anxiety are:
- Limiting alcohol intake
- Hydrating and eating
- Taking some medicine
- Exercise and meditate
- Seeking professional help
Xanax for Hangover
How to stop hangxiety? If you have been prescribed Xanax for hangxiety, you should not drink alcohol to prevent worsening anxiety, especially if you take Xanax and alcohol simultaneously. Alcohol and Xanax hangovers can lead to many negative effects, like harsh breathing. There are alternatives to Xanax that do not result in harsh breathing and death if you drink alcohol. For example, suppose you are taking other antidepressants. In that case, you can take a small amount of alcohol along with them and get similar relief from these drugs as you would with Xanax.
Ativan for Hangover Anxiety
Lorazepam for hangover anxiety? Lorazepam, more commonly referred to as Ativan, is a prescribed drug that can potentially be abused. Alcohol is one of the drugs that is frequently abused along with benzodiazepines like Ativan. Since both Ativan and alcohol depress the nervous system, combining them can be fatal and result in decreased breathing, profound sleepiness, coma, and death. If Ativan has been prescribed for you, you might want to avoid alcohol.
Ativan hangover symptoms may include the following:
- Increased pulse
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Excessive sweating
Valium for Hangover
Valium is a medication used to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal, and seizures, so it is safe to take Valium as a recreational drug and drink it occasionally. The risk is not just from alcohol but also the drug interaction between the two. If you are experiencing a Valium hangover, you should be wary of operating machinery. The primary benefit of taking Valium is that it gives you a sense of less anxiety. However, the primary risk is that you will increase your breathing difficulties by taking Valium with alcohol. Other medications like Lexapro alcohol hangovers, Sertraline and alcohol hangovers, Cymbalta and alcohol hangovers, and Zoloft and alcohol hangovers are effective at dealing with Hangxiety.
How To Get Rid of Hangxiety Fast?
How to cure hangover anxiety? Counseling, such as hangover supportive therapy, maybe the most effective strategy to reduce your anxiety if you suffer from social anxiety or phobia (combined with a medication such as sertraline or Zoloft). Suppose you have a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), marked by an unexplainable sensation of concern or tension. In that case, your doctor may recommend cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) or talking to a therapist about your anxiety.
Best Hangxiety Cure Pills
Your doctor may be open to offering you the best hangxiety pills medications on the market. A doctor may prescribe hangxiety pills such as Duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), or paroxetine as antidepressants (Paxil). He or she may prescribe alprazolam (Xanax), Diazepam (Valium), and Lorazepam when it comes to benzodiazepines (Ativan). Each type of anxiety medication acts uniquely. To find out which drug is best for you, visit your doctor.
Several of these drugs may interact with alcohol. Before taking any of these medications, discuss your alcohol use with your doctor since side effects can be serious or fatal. Alcohol-induced anxiety, hangxiety, can be reduced by changing one’s lifestyle. Alcohol anxiety can be treated but not always cured.
How To Cure Hangxiety?
How to calm hangover anxiety? And how to stop hangover anxiety? While a hangxiety cure can transpire after just one night of drinking, it can also signify that you may be drinking too much. Aside from asking how to sober fast, start by asking yourself why you’re drinking. How to deal with hangxiety? One criterion for diagnosing an alcohol use disorder is to continue drinking even though it makes you feel depressed or anxious or adds to another health problem. If you are frequently experiencing anxiety and are having trouble cutting back on drinking, it’s worth consulting a medical professional .
There is a strong link between mental health conditions, such as anxiety, and alcohol abuse. Individuals who struggle with mood disorders like anxiety are more susceptible to developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol, often to self-medicate symptoms of their underlying mental health condition. These co-occurring disorders can make each other worse without proper treatment.
How to overcome hangxiety? To determine the most effective ways to treat hangxiety, it’s crucial first to get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When a mental health professional has evaluated the symptoms, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes effectively cope with functional.
Detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of alcohol withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug abuse. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.
Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide the necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.
Psychotherapy for Depression and Anxiety
Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of depression, including:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves changing both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
- Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
- Solution-focused therapy is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.
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Substance abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorders and substance abuse. Dual-diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. This strategy treats both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both diseases done by the same team or provider.
Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.
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Hangover anxiety or hangxiety is a symptom of alcohol withdrawal. The development of alcohol tolerance and withdrawal are indications of alcohol addiction. Contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today if you or a loved one are struggling with long-term addiction and a co-occurring mental health condition such as anxiety and depression. Our New Jersey Level Up rehab center can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your needs.
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 NIAAA – https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh22-1/38-43.pdf
 NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3860396/
 NIH – https://medlineplus.gov/anxiety.html
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