Anxiety after night out drinking?
Anyone who’s experienced a night out drinking is familiar with the hangover – the fuzzy head, the crook stomach, the desire to sleep long into the next century.
But did you know that it can also be quite common to feel a bout of anxiety after a night out drinking, particularly if you are already prone to feeling anxious or experiencing panic attacks?
The anxiety can be triggered as your body works to remove alcohol from your system, with blood sugar levels dropping. Yes, that same chemical reaction that causes you to crave a Macca’s run at 2am can also affect your mood.
Some antidepressant medications also interact with alcohol to increase ‘rebound’ symptoms of anxiety.
Once that anxiety starts to kick in, your brain can go into overdrive. You start thinking (and overthinking) your actions from the night before.
The anxiety-fuelled hangover is so common it has even coined the slang terms “hangover anxiety” and “boozanoia” in recent years, so if you’re reading this thread after a night out with a stomach tied up in knots, then please know you’re not alone.
Here’s three things you can do about it:
1. Be kind to your mind when hung over – You know that the headache will fade and the stomach will settle, the anxious feelings will also subside. Remember, they’re part of the hangover too. Draw on thought-challenging, mindfulness or distraction techniques as you need to: think of them as bacon and eggs for the brain!
2. Get a good night’s sleep – You’ve probably been out late the night before, and even if you slept in when you got home, alcohol disrupts sleep so it won’t have been quality rest. Try to get yourself an early night and allow your body and brain some time to recover.
3. Drink moderately and know your limits next time – Abstaining from alcohol altogether isn’t always a realistic option, but you can learn from your hangover experiences and limit your drinking in future. Slow down a bit, substitute a soft drink in between rounds, set a limit and keep track of how much you’ve had. And don't forget to eat first!
If you’re wanting support around limiting or abstaining from alcohol, then please also join our Battling The Booze thread.
Have you ever experienced ‘hangover anxiety’? Did you try any of the tips above? Do you have any tips of your own? Please share your stories and thoughts in the thread below.
UPDATE 5/9/19: Check out this new Beyond Blue article on hangover anxiety by award-winning journalist and author Jill Stark.
This is so interesting Chris...I've heard of coffee affecting anxiety too.
Even though alcohol isn't a problem for me, simple carbs (sugars) have a similar affect. A book called; 'Potatoes not Prozac' is about addictive factors re anything made of sugar including alcohol. It includes info on when, how, why and what we consume and the resulting chemical reactions from our brains and body.
Great topic! Great info...kudos...Dizzy
Great topic! Very informative.
been there at 1 am with anxiety sickness caused by two drinks! I'm a one drink only girl now. Vodka with a lot of soda water being manageable.
I have to admit also. My vice chocolate (sugar so deliciously disguised!) is a trigger too. So very cruel! Limits are required here too I'm afraid! Sigh.......(head lowered here).
Hi Michael H
Gee I'm glad for the taxi driver too for your sake. You sound as though you have the answers already.
- drink with trusted friends
-alcohol and anti d's cause a downward spiral
Keep away from the triggers. Set boundaries for yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be your best friend to yourself.
This is my first time post and I just wanted to add I have been there too. It took me a number of years to recognise that hangovers cause my severe anxiety. I just had my 35th bday and ended up in hospital the next day hyperventilating and not being able to get out of my mind spiral. Since then I have got drunk only once and again I managed to get myself into a mind spiral the next day. This time I was overseas and stuck in a hotel. I was so scared that I was going to be so anxious that they wouldn't let me on the plane home. Luckily I rang beyondblue even while overseas and after 5 minutes they managed to calm me down to a point of moderate sanity. And my wife also packed a small stuffed toy that I got her years ago. The texture of the toy and the thought of her got me through. I know it sounds silly but it grounded my thoughts. Much like in the movie inception, maybe try this if you get stuck while travelling and getting anxiety.
Coffee also affects my levels of anxiety and now have been on decaf for the last year with great results.
Welcome to our forum. Hopefully you find it useful and supportive. Thanks for sharing your recent experiences. Ending up in hospital sounds scary but sounds like you got things more under control the next time when you were overseas. Glad that you found calling beyond blue helpful - and that you knew you could call from overseas.
I too have reduced my alcohol intake as it really played with my mind the next day. I would over analyse the night before and be hard on myself for over doing it. My last 'big night' was NYE with some friends and my husband. We actually didn't drink too much and made sure we had a lot of food. I was able to go for a swim the next morning which helped too! I am not going to rule out more drinking in the future but I am certainly more conscious and mindful these days.
On the weekend my husband had a big night with the other coaches at his rugby club (where he coaches first grade). He was so unwell on Sunday and it was so hard to see as he has been managing his depression so well. It is just not worth it! He is going to try to stick to two beers at a time. Unfortunately for some of us alcohol doesn't mix well!
I am down to one coffee a day which is working well, the rest of the time I have green tea or simply herbal teas.
Totally! I'm currently not drinking any Coffee and alcohol.
i dont drink much these days anyway but I notice pretty bad anxiety the next day even after 2 drinks! So not worth it!
Coffee I drink on and off. The moment I feel my anxiety is increasing I cut out coffee for a period of time. Inevitably i start drinking it again but at least I'm mindful of what it's effects are and manage and cut back when necessary.