Hangxiety and What You Can Do About It

What is hangxiety?

Hangxiety is a combination of the words hangover and anxiety. It’s the feeling you get after a night of drinking that goes beyond the more common physical symptoms of an upset stomach ache, headache, and the feeling that everything around you is brighter and louder than it has a right to be. You may feel on edge, stressed, and worried.

Why does it happen?

When you drink alcohol, it slows down your nervous system, lowering your inhibitions. Alcohol is both a sedative and a depressant. 

Your memory is also affected, as those foggy recollections demonstrate. As the alcohol wears off, your brain works to balance its effects. This may make those anxious feelings worse, particularly if you are someone who already deals with bouts of anxiety – and likely one of the reasons you use alcohol to escape its effects. This creates a cascading effect of further worry and unease. While drinking alcohol may seem to help numb emotional pain, it doesn’t make it go away.

You may also be feeling hangxiety’s effects more deeply if you’re dehydrated. Dehydration is known to affect your mood, including your level of anxiety. Alcohol also affects the quality of your sleep, again influencing moods.

How long does hangxiety last?

It might last until you reconnect with friends to create a clearer timeline of the night’s events and recover your texts, or the time it takes for the alcohol to leave your system.

How can I deal with hangxiety?

Rehydrate, rest, and connect with trusted friends. If there were a few of you drinking, they may have a few regrets too, or they may not even recall what has you in knots. It can also be a matter of putting things into perspective. Eat a light meal, avoid caffeinated drinks, and any additional alcohol as a solution. 

When is hangxiety a bigger concern?

Hangxiety may be nothing more than a bad morning, or it may suggest something more serious. Maybe you have noted that you have to drink a bit more to feel the same relaxation. Or you’re turning to alcohol to ease tension every day, rather than once in a while. If this is a pattern that has become familiar, it is a signal time to seek help.

Talk to someone who’s been where you are at Renascent. We’re here to help. Give us a call at 1-866-232-1212

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.