Why You Need to Keep Tabs on Hangover Anxiety + Remedies and Tips
There are a lot of negative side effects that come with a night out on the town: headaches, nausea, achy joints, and sore muscles. But you may not have considered one other downside of the “morning after,” and that’s anxiety.
Anxiety can strike at many different times, in many different ways, but most people don’t think about anxiety as a possible result of drinking alcohol. In fact, many people might say that alcohol is a good way to help reduce anxiety, but that’s not necessarily the case.
In one scientific study, the research showed that drinking heavily can cause both emotional and physical symptoms the next day. It also claimed that too much drinking can interrupt sleep, distress your mood, and cause you to feel anxious. Another study showed that roughly 7.4 percent of people who reported experiencing a hangover also experienced anxiety.
So why is this? Why does drinking alcohol tend to cause anxiety, both during and after? Well, here are a few reasons why having an extra drink might cause more stress than you’d expect:
Alcohol can disrupt the chemicals in your brain, which are delicately balanced and regulate everything from your energy levels to your mood. When you consume alcohol, these chemicals are thrown out of balance, which can cause all sorts of functions to go haywire. It can cause your body to release hormones at an abnormal level, which can send your stress levels rising.
All this churning and disruption of your brain’s chemical balance creates an environment that is ripe for anxiety.
One of the possible triggers for anxiety can be when you feel like you’ve lost control of a given situation. When you consume alcohol, your judgment, vision, motor skills, and other key functions are impaired. This can cause you to feel like you’ve lost control of your own body and mind, which can lead to feelings of anxiousness.
Although it may feel like you can sleep easier after a night of drinking, the type of sleep you’re getting isn’t as restful as it would be if there were no alcohol in your system. That’s because drinking impairs your ability to fall into REM sleep, the deep sleep that really recharges your body on a cellular level.
Without REM sleep, even if you’re out for a long time, you won’t wake up feeling refreshed. And when you’re tired from a night of poor sleep, it can make you feel fatigued, and ordinary tasks seem more difficult, which can be a source of anxiety.
This is a big reason why one of the only real hangover remedies is going back to sleep.
Another negative side effect of going out for a night of drinking is reduced immunity. Alcohol does a real number on your immune system, which can make you more vulnerable to illness.
Even a mild sickness like the common cold can keep you from performing your necessary tasks the way you’d like to, and this can cause you to feel stressed or overwhelmed. Not to mention the general crumminess that comes from being sick. It’s just another way that alcohol can contribute to anxious feelings.
So, what can you do to prevent anxiety the next time you go out partying? Well, the truth is it can be hard to completely avoid the negative effects of a hangover. Still, here are a few tricks you can try to at least reduce the severity of that “morning after” feeling.
One of the reasons why drinking does such a number on your body is that alcohol is a naturally dehydrating substance. Your body is made up of mostly water, and your cells require adequate hydration to function properly. Making sure you drink enough water, both during your night out and the next day, can help offset the negative effects of drinking, including anxiety.
It’s important to know your own body and know how much alcohol is a safe amount for you to drink. Depending on your weight, tolerance, gender, and other factors, you may be able to drink more or less than your friend or partner. So it’s important to remember not to push yourself, and stick to what you know your body can handle.
When you wake up the next day feeling fine, you’ll be glad you listened to your body’s limits. Keeping track of your consumption can also help you feel more in control, which is always good for combatting anxiety.
It’s important to have a plan of action, in terms of where you’ll be spending the night, how you’ll be getting from place to place (remember not to drink and drive!) and what your obligations are the next day. This can help you avoid some of the more anxiety-inducing elements of a night out.
Rather than waiting until the end of the night to figure out how everyone is getting home, make plans before you leave. That way, you can enjoy your night knowing you’ve taken steps to be safe.
The Natural Conclusion
Unwinding with a fun weekend can actually be a great way to reduce your stress, as long as you stay smart about it. As relaxing as it can be to stay at home, going out and making memories with friends, family, or even just yourself can give you something to look forward to during the week.
It’s true that a healthy balance between work, home life, and your social circle can go a long way towards your overall satisfaction. So don’t let the possibility of anxiety stop you from going out and having fun. Just be mindful, be safe, and enjoy the moment. And if you take just a few steps of preparation, the morning after won’t be bad at all.