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Learn How Heavy Drinking Can Lead to Both a Hangover and Anxiety
Raise your hand if you have ever had deep regrets after a night of heavy drinking. Yep, pretty much all of us have suffered through the aftermath of a bender. When feeling sick as can be, along with a good dose of anxiety, you experience “hangxiety.”
Hangxiety is just what it sounds like. It’s the combo of both a hangover combined with feelings of anxiety. The anxiety piece is what sets this apart from a normal hangover. Not every person will feel the anxiety. So what makes the difference? Why do some get the added anxious state of mind after a night of drinking?
Alcohol affects each person in a unique way. Each person’s chemical makeup deals with ethyl alcohol differently. The symptoms of anxiety may arise due to brain chemistry changes that some people experience. Keep reading to learn more about this after affect called hangxiety.
What is Hangxiety?
This condition happens because alcohol causes the release of dopamine into the pleasure center of the brain. At first it causes a rush, and the GABA leads to a pleasant, relaxing feeling. But that doesn’t last long. Soon, the dopamine levels drop and that sparks feelings of anxiety. Then the anxiety causes sleep issues, so that only adds to the problem.
People who struggle with a mental health issue like anxiety or depression are more prone to the hangxiety response after drinking. This could be a genetic thing. It might also be related to problems caused by heavy drinking itself, such as the feeling of being anxious or depression after quitting drinking. Learning to relax without drinking is a big part of getting past the problem.
Why Drinking Alcohol Leads to Anxiety
It is ironic that people try to reduce anxiety with alcohol, yet end up feeling more anxious. It’s true that heavy drinking causes symptoms of anxiety. There are many ways the effects of alcohol can make you feel anxious. These include:
- Drinking can cause your heart rate to increase, and that can make you feel like you are having a heart problem.
- Drinking causes low blood sugar, leaving you feeling dizzy, weak, confused, and anxious.
- Drinking can make you dehydrated, which causes nausea, weakness, and feeling lightheaded.
- Drinking can cause you to feel hyper, making you feel shaky and causing sleep problems.
Alcohol problems often happen with an anxiety disorder. It could be that the anxiety was there first, and the drinking only makes it worse.
Do You Have Hangxiety Often?
If you are having these episodes often that is a warning sign. It means you are forming unhealthy habits that will impact your health, and not in a good way. Both the hangover and the anxiety are signs of distress. Combined they signal a problem that needs to be addressed.
Of course, the best way to reduce the hangxiety events is to stop drinking to excess. This makes sense, but isn’t always easy to do. This is true when drinking is a reflex habit for dealing with a mental health issue. Over time you condition yourself to numb these feelings with alcohol. In order to stop the hangxiety you must tackle the reason for drinking too much.
What is an Alcohol Use Disorder?
Even if your problem drinking is a fairly new condition, it should be paid heed. Your body is trying to tell you something. It is feeling the effects of the toxins that enter your body when you drink. When you no longer can control the drinking, and just can’t stop once you start, that is a sign you have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Signs and symptoms of an AUD include:
- Obsess over when you can drink next and how to obtain the alcohol.
- Can’t quit drinking even if you want to.
- Withdraw from family or friends.
- Drinking more and more alcohol.
- Have blackouts.
- Lying about how much you drink.
- Hiding alcohol around the house.
- Stop doing the things you used to enjoy.
- Have mood swings.
- Losing interest in personal appearance and hygiene.
- Drinking when you’re sad or stressed.
- Feel irritated, annoyed.
- Can’t concentrate.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Keep drinking even though it is causing major problems
- Alcohol cravings.
- Heavy drinking for a few days in a row.
- When you don’t drink you have withdrawal symptoms.
How to Get Help for an AUD
When it becomes clear that an AUD has formed, a treatment program is called for. Treatment is the only proven way to change the behavior patterns that lead to the alcohol abuse. Because there are two issues to treat, the AUD and the alcohol problem, a special dual diagnosis program is the answer.
Treatment will focus on changing the responses to the triggers that cause you to drink. Using CBT and DBT you will learn new coping tools that help manage these thought patterns. Alcohol rehab also includes the addiction education piece. These are classes that teach you how alcohol impacts the brain and leads to addiction. Part of this part of treatment will include the 12-step program.
But without addressing the anxiety all of this effort will fail. For this reason, you will need to learn healthy ways to manage stress. Treatment programs now teach clients how to relax using yoga, art therapy, massage, and meditation. Together a well-rounded rehab program will help you move past the AUD and into a healthy lifestyle.
LifeSync Malibu Treats Alcohol Use Disorders
LifeSync Malibu is your best resource for an alcohol problem. When you find yourself feeling both hungover and anxious way too often, it may be due to an AUD. Chronic drinking will lead to an alcohol problem eventually. If you suspect you have become dependent on alcohol, reach out to LifeSync to get back on track. Our team offers the highest level of addiction therapy, helping you reclaim your life. Give our team a call today at (866) 491-4426.