What is anxiety and how to relieve it? Decoding anxiety symptoms after a night of drinking

While the after effects of drinking alcohol are well known, its impact on the mind is a less discussed topic. Hangxiety is the term that describes the psychological symptoms after a night of drinking that often accompany physical ones such as fatigue, headache, nausea, weakness, etc. Alcohol can affect neurotransmitters in the brain that initially work to reduce tension and anxiety, but as its effect wears off, it causes increased anxiety and a sense of impending doom. If you, too, wake up with inexplicable anxiety after a heavy drinking session, you can blame it on anxiety that is sometimes difficult to combat. (Also Read | Holi 2024: How To Beat Bhang Hangover; Insider Tips)

Dr. Chandni explains how distress can be prolonged for chronic drinkers leading to a cycle of addiction. (freepik)

What is anxiety?

Anxiety refers to the combination of anxiety and physical symptoms that occur after consuming alcohol.

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“The sense of shame and embarrassment that leads to this anxiety is sometimes attributed to the previous night’s drinking, but there is also a physiological component. This anxiety is known as ‘anxiety.’ Although it may be a result of unfavorable feeling of regret combined with embarrassing behavior when drunk also has a physiological component,” says Dr. Chandni Tugnait, MD (Alternative Medicine), psychotherapist, life coach, business coach, NLP expert, healer, founder and director . – Gateway to healing.

“We’ve all been there: waking up from a night of overindulgence with a pounding headache, a sick stomach, and an overwhelming sense of regret. But what about that pit of fear and impending doom that descends upon you when the hangover fog clears. This lingering, uncomfortable feeling of restlessness is known as ‘the hangover’, the terrible psychological hangover of the physical hangover,” adds Dr Chandni.

How alcohol affects your brain

Dr. Chandni explains how distress can be prolonged for chronic drinkers leading to a cycle of addiction.

“Alcohol can influence neurotransmitters in the brain, including gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps reduce tension and anxiety. However, alcohol’s interaction with GABA causes its transient exhaustion, which causes an increase in anxiety as its effects wear off Similarly, alcohol affects glutamate, another neurotransmitter, causing excess glutamate after drinking, which contributes to increase anxiety,” says the expert.

“It is easy to say that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption to avoid anxiety. Anxiety can pass for infrequent drinkers the next day. However, chronic drinkers can experience prolonged anxiety due to disruptions in the GABA-glutamate system, as well as withdrawal symptoms and difficulty sleeping. To overcome these symptoms, you think, ‘I need a drink,’ which can further lead to a cycle of addiction,” he adds.

How to manage anxiety

Managing distress requires both proactive efforts to prevent it and reactive techniques to deal with it when it occurs.

Here are some ways to consider, as suggested by Dr Chandni.

1. Prevention through conscious consumption: The apparent solution is to avoid bingeing altogether by setting realistic limits, staying hydrated, and nourishing yourself with good meals while drinking. Being aware of the effects of alcohol and understanding your own specific thresholds will help you avoid anxiety before it starts.

2. Prioritize replenishment: When you wake up with hangover symptoms, fight the urge to lie in bed tossing and turning. Get up and start your body’s recovery by drinking water or electrolyte-rich drinks, eating nutrient-dense foods, and taking a vitamin B complex to replenish depleted reserves.

3. Deploy antidotes against anxiety: Proven anxiety-relieving techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, gentle exercise, and calming aromatherapy can help ease the lingering mental stress of anxiety. Bach flower remedies, such as the “Rescue Remedy” blend, are also very powerful natural anti-anxiety treatments.

4. Resist the temptations of dog hair: As tempting as it may seem, having another drink will only prolong and exacerbate the anxiety cycle in the long run. This short, unproductive cure offers temporary relief, but ultimately sets you up for a more difficult anxiety relapse.

5. Seek professional help: If you experience anxiety regularly or to a severe degree, don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional or join a support group. Chronic hangover anxiety may indicate an underlying problem that requires medical attention.

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