You may know of it as “the Fear” or the “Guilts”, but psychologists have a new name for it – “Hangxiety” – it’s that anxious feeling of dread or doom you might get as you’re recovering from a night out drinking.

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New research has found that very shy people are more likely to have anxiety, possibly at debilitating levels, during a hangover. The findings also suggest that for these people, “hangxiety” might signal a higher risk of alcohol dependence.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD), a chronic condition, is characterized by a person’s inability to “stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” Its symptoms may be either mild or severe, and there are several factors that raise the risk of AUD. These include family history, social pressure, and stress.

The study revealed that people who were “highly shy” experienced a “significant increase” in anxiety the day after drinking.

Enjoying a few too many drinks with your friends at a party can be fun until the hangover kicks in. The hangover is a reminder that fun needs to end now. It has some common symptoms like nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. However, there are many cases that have come forward where people experience severe anxiety with their usual symptoms. This phenomenon has been widely reported and is known as hangxiety. The whole concept is fairly new and there are only theories regarding the cause of hangxiety. 

Cause of hangxiety

There are many theories about how hangxiety is caused, though none of them are backed by any solid proof or data. Here are some of the most theories that might be right about hangxiety. 

Social anxiety

Consumption of alcohol is known to treat social anxiety. It is not uncommon for people to drink alcohol to remove their already existing anxiety. According to this theory, anxiety during hangover is not a new anxiety, but an already established anxiety that is making a comeback after the effect of alcohol has worn off. 

Alcohol detox

According to this theory, hangxiety is just a severe case of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can take up to 8 hours and, in those 8 hours, it can take multiple shapes like restless, anxious, nervous, or jittery. 

Decrease in endorphins

According to this theory, drinking alcohol releases endorphins, and when the effect of alcohol wears off the level of endorphins decreases causing anxiety. Depending on the rate that endorphin levels fall and hangxiety sets in. 

Dehydration

According to the National Institute of Health, USA, lack of water can affect a person’s mood and cause anxiety. While drinking alcohol, people often ignore water. This causes dehydration. If the study is correct, then the lack of water in the system could be a reason for hangxiety. 

How to deal with hangxiety

Handling anxiety is hard, handling hangxiety is even difficult. It is difficult to handle anxiety, when the room is spinning in your head. Here are some of the ways in which you can handle your hangxiety. 

Rehydrate

If hangxiety is really caused by dehydration, then resupplying the water to the body could erase the feeling of anxiety from the system. 

Try to go to sleep

It is best to sleep off the hangover and the feeling of anxiety that follows it. If you are having trouble sleeping, try taking a cold shower, light some candles, try aromatherapy with essential oil or listen to relaxing music. 

Try mindfulness meditation

If hangxiety is making it difficult for you to stand, you can meditate sitting on your bed or lying down. Start with deep breathing, close your eyes and focus on your thoughts and how you feel. Try to put the previous night in perspective and try to remember where you made a mistake that is causing you anxiety.