Why you get the FEAR after a boozy night out – and shy people are more likely to suffer 'hangxiety'

Why you get the FEAR after a boozy night out – and shy people are more likely to suffer 'hangxiety'

Beer fear, "hangxiety", whatever you call it, it's the real deal and it can leave your mind racing, and your stress levels skyrocketing.

As your head pounds and the waves of nausea crash over you it's hard not to worry about what you did last night, especially if some memories are a bit fuzzy.

New research from University College London has found that shy people are more likely to experience the fear – and the shier you are the worse it can be.

Beth Marsh, a research assistant in the Department of Clinical, Educational, and Health Psychology at the university, spoke to 97 people, asking some of them to drink and others to stay sober.

They also took note of volunteers shyness and social phobia levels.

After they'd had a few drinks, they compared hangover anxieties to baseline anxiety levels and found that those who are normally shy were more likely to feel the fear.

"A significant increase in anxiety the day following drinking was observed in highly-shy participants," Marsh wrote in the study.

What's more, they also found shy people were more likely to develop a drinking problem – most likely because booze acts as a good social lubricant for them.

Alcohol misuse is defined as regularly drinking more than the recommended amount.

The NHS suggests we drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week.

That's six pints of beer or six medium glasses of wine.

So, what is the fear?

It's no secret that alcohol affects your mood, boosting your confidence and making you feel on top of the world.

But, alcohol is a depressant so as the next morning comes around it will leave you feeling low, anxious and exhausted.

It's when the levels of alcohol in your body start to decline that's the low mood kicks in.

As your body processes the alcohol in your system you actually begin to experience the same withdrawal symptoms as someone with a drinking problem, according to Drink Aware.

The psychological symptoms include depression and anxiety.

Some people may barely notice the feelings of worry but for others, especially those who already suffer with the mental illness, it can be crippling.

If social phobia is something that you experience, you may find yourself lying in bed worrying about what you did or said the night before.

Or you may even wake during the night as the alcohol wears off, often laying awake with the fear.

Nicola Smith, senior health information officer working with Cancer Research, told Women's Health: "Feeling low or anxious might be one of the negative effects you feel after drinking too much because alcohol is a depressant – meaning it dampens the chemical messages travelling around our brains.

"As well as avoiding the dreaded hangover, changing your habits to drink less alcohol over the long term will reduce your risk of serious health conditions like cancer."

How can you get through 'hangxiety'?

Unfortunately, the only thing that will make hangover anxiety go away is time, according to the Calm Clinic.

If you do remember your actions the night before, the chances are you did something you regret.

Or if you don't remember, you're going to start panicking about what you might have done.

Luckily, there are three simple steps to help you get through:

How to avoid 'hangxiety'

The best way to avoid "hangxiety" is to not drink at all, but anyone with an active social life knows that's not always possible.

So you do the next best thing, you manage how much you drink.

Keep an eye on how much you are drinking and how it makes you feel the next day.

You shouldn't be drinking anymore than 14 units of alcohol per week, according to NHS guidelines.

Be careful you don't get caught in a vicious cycle of drinking to ease your anxiety, then feeling worse the next day.

If you are drinking more than and you are struggling to cut back, try speaking to your GP about ways to booze less.


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