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Hangover Anxiety Explained

This article explores the reasons behind increased anxiety after drinking, known as hangxiety, due to the physiological and psychological effects of alcohol. It highlights the potential negative long-term impact of excessive alcohol consumption on anxiety and mental health. 

Why is my anxiety so bad after drinking?

Anxiety after drinking (also called hangxiety) can be due to several factors, including the physiological and psychological effects of alcohol on the body and brain.While alcohol may temporarily alleviate anxiety for some, it is not a sustainable or healthy coping mechanism. In the long term, excessive alcohol consumption can worsen anxiety and lead to other mental health issues and physical health problems. If anxiety is a persistent problem, help from a mental health professional can provide appropriate support and coping strategies. Here are some reasons why anxiety may get worse after drinking:

Chemical Imbalance: Alcohol is a depressant that initially may create a sense of relaxation and euphoria. However, as it is metabolized in the body, it can lead to an imbalance of neurotransmitters, particularly GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which is responsible for calming the brain. When alcohol’s effects wear off, GABA levels may drop, leading to increased feelings of anxiety and restlessness.

Dehydration: Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes increased urination and can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause physical symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, which can contribute to feelings of anxiety.

Impact on Sleep: Alcohol disrupts normal sleep patterns, leading to a reduction in sleep quality and duration. Poor sleep can exacerbate anxiety and make it harder to cope with stress and daily challenges.

Social Anxiety: For some individuals, drinking in social situations may initially alleviate social anxiety. However, as the effects of alcohol wear off, the person may experience a rebound effect, leading to increased anxiety and self-consciousness.

Memory Loss: Heavy alcohol consumption can result in blackouts or memory loss, leaving individuals unsure of their actions or conversations during drinking. This uncertainty can trigger anxiety about potential embarrassing or harmful behaviors.

Alcohol Withdrawal: If a person is a heavy or frequent drinker, they may experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, when they are not actively drinking. The fear of experiencing withdrawal can contribute to heightened anxiety.

Pre-existing Anxiety: Individuals who already struggle with anxiety disorders may find that alcohol exacerbates their symptoms rather than providing relief. Alcohol can interfere with the brain’s natural ability to regulate emotions, leading to increased anxiety in susceptible individuals.

Personal Factors: Personal factors, such as genetics, tolerance to alcohol, and individual brain chemistry, can influence how someone responds to alcohol and its effects on anxiety.

Does alcohol cause rebound anxiety?

Alcohol can cause rebound anxiety. Rebound anxiety is a temporary increase in anxiety symptoms that happen after the effects of alcohol wear off. While alcohol may initially provide a sense of relaxation and relief from stress, it is a depressant that affects the central nervous system. As the body processes alcohol and its effects wear off, the brain and body may experience a rebound effect, leading to increased feelings of anxiety, restlessness, and agitation.Several factors contribute to alcohol-induced rebound anxiety:

Neurotransmitter imbalances: Alcohol affects neurotransmitters in the brain, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin, which help regulate mood and anxiety. When alcohol is no longer present in the system, the balance of these neurotransmitters can be disrupted, leading to increased anxiety.

Dehydration: Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can contribute to feelings of anxiety, as it affects various bodily functions, including hormone regulation.

Sleep disruption: Alcohol consumption can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to poor-quality sleep or sleep disturbances. Lack of restful sleep can contribute to increased anxiety levels.

Withdrawal effects: For those who regularly consume alcohol, rebound anxiety can also be a symptom of alcohol withdrawal. When the body becomes dependent on alcohol, abruptly reducing or stopping alcohol consumption can trigger withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety.

Interference with stress response: Alcohol can interfere with the body’s stress response system, leading to heightened stress and anxiety once its effects wear off.

Be aware of the impact of alcohol on your mental health, especially if you experience anxiety. While alcohol may provide temporary relief, it is not an effective long-term solution for managing anxiety and can exacerbate symptoms in the long term.

Is it normal to feel depressed days after drinking?

Alcohol is a depressant so feeling depressed days after drinking is common for some individuals due to alcohol’s impact on neurotransmitters,  and other reasons.  While this experience is widespread, it varies based on factors like alcohol tolerance, genetics, and overall mental health. If these feelings significantly affect daily life, reevaluating one’s relationship with alcohol may be beneficial. Counseling can address the root causes of depression and help you examine your connection with alcohol.  Alcohol use disorder and mental health issues like depression are often co-occurring and need simultaneous treatment. 

Why is my hangover anxiety getting worse?

Hangover anxiety can worsen due to alcohol’s rebound effect. If hangover anxiety becomes problematic, or if your alcohol use is increasing, this may be why your anxiety is worsening. It’s wise to reevaluate your alcohol consumption.

How long does anxiety last after a hangover?

The duration of anxiety after a hangover can vary widely depending on the individual, the amount and type of alcohol consumed, and other factors. Hangover anxiety may last for a few hours to a day in some people, while others may experience it for several days. As the alcohol is metabolized and the body recovers, the anxiety generally tends to subside. 

How do you calm down when you have hangxiety?

What is hangxiety? Hangxiety is a slang term for the combination of being hung over and having anxiety. Some strategies that may help calm down and cope with hangxiety are:

Hydrate: Drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body after alcohol consumption. Dehydration can worsen anxiety symptoms, so staying hydrated is essential.

Rest: Get enough rest and sleep to allow your body and mind to recover from the effects of alcohol. Rest can also help reduce anxiety.

Deep Breathing: Engage in deep breathing exercises to calm your nervous system and as a potential hangxiety cure. . Take slow, deep breaths, hold for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly. This reduces anxiety and promotes relaxation.

Avoid Caffeine: Coffee or other caffeinated beverages may make anxiety worse. Choose a decaffeinated options or an herbal tea to promote relaxation.

Eat Nutritious Foods: Eat a balanced meal with nutrient-rich foods to support your body’s recovery. Avoid heavy or greasy meals, as they may increase discomfort.

Avoid Alcohol: Avoid alcohol during your hangover recovery to prevent further dehydration and potential worsening of anxiety symptoms.

Exercise: Engage in gentle exercise, such as a short walk, to release endorphins and improve mood. Avoid intense workouts, as they may strain your body further.

Mindfulness or Meditation: Practice mindfulness or meditation to focus your mind and reduce anxiety.

Reach Out: Share your feelings with understanding and supportive friends. Talking about your hangxiety can help you process your emotions.

Limit Stressful Situations: Avoid stressful situations or activities that may trigger anxiety while you are experiencing hangxiety.

Acceptance: Recognize that hangxiety is a temporary feeling that will pass as your body and mind recover. Practice self-compassion.

Seek Professional Help: If hangxiety or anxiety becomes a recurring problem or interferes with your daily life, a mental health professional at Recovery Beach can provide guidance and support.

How to get rid of hangxiety?

If you want to know how to get rid of hangxiety, start by moderating your alcohol intake and knowing your limits. To manage hangxiety, hydrate, rest, eat well, and avoid caffeine after drinking. Practice relaxation techniques,and limit stress.

How do I stop alcohol anxiety?

Take proactive steps to stop anxiety that arises after drinking. Here are some suggestions that may help:

Moderate your alcohol consumption: Limit the amount of alcohol you drink and pace yourself to avoid excessive intoxication, which can exacerbate anxiety symptoms.

Take breaks from alcohol: Give yourself regular alcohol-free days to help your body and mind recover and reduce the risk of developing alcohol-related anxiety.Avoid mixing substances: Refrain from mixing alcohol with other drugs or medications, as this can lead to unpredictable reactions and worsen anxiety.

Avoid mixing substances: Refrain from mixing alcohol with other drugs or medications, as this can lead to unpredictable reactions and worsen anxiety.

Address underlying issues: If you consistently experience feelings of anxiety after drinking, it may be worth considering your relationship with alcohol and its impact on your mental well-being. Our therapists at Recovery Beach can help you determine if you need help with alcohol use disorder and anxiety. 

Seek support: Talk to friends ,or loved ones or a therapist about your feelings of anxiety.

Eat before drinking: Having a meal before drinking can slow the absorption of alcohol and reduce its impact on your body.

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water while consuming alcohol and after to stay hydrated, as dehydration can contribute to anxiety.

Practice relaxation techniques: Engage in relaxation exercises like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to reduce anxiety levels.

Get enough sleep: Prioritize getting adequate rest after drinking, as lack of sleep can contribute to feelings of anxiety.


If you realize that alcohol is consistently contributing to your anxiety level or affecting your overall well-being, and you are having trouble controlling your alcohol use, let our Recovery Beach professional evaluate you for anxiety and alcohol use disorders. We can create an individualized  treatment plan specific for your co-occurring disorders that will help you achieve recovery and relieve your suffering. Get started today at Recovery Beach and let us help you heal your mind, body and spirit.

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