Anxiety sucks, and if you deal with it, chances are you’ve kicked back with a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail in an attempt to mellow out and relax your nerves. What you may not realize is that while alcohol might chill you out in the moment, you can end up feeling even worse in the aftermath.
It’s called hangover anxiety. While alcohol acts as a mild sedative, once those effects wear off, you can start experiencing minor withdrawal symptoms like exacerbated anxiety or depression, according to DrinkAware. While you might not notice the psychological effects if your anxiety or depression are mild, for those who suffer more severely, the after-effects of drinking can be really serious.
You could also feel anxious if you don’t remember the night before. Depending on how drunk you got the night before, you might feel anxious the next morning about what you did or said when you were drinking. Did you text your ex? Say something inappropriate to your co-worker? Sleep with a random stranger? If your memory is foggy due to the amount of alcohol you drank, this can seriously raise your anxiety levels.
It could lead you to drink more. If you’re feeling anxious when the effects of the alcohol wear off, you might think that having another drink will help alleviate those feelings, causing the cycle to begin again. It’s a vicious circle that can become seriously problematic.
Hangover anxiety is so bad for some people that they’ve sworn off alcohol altogether. UNILAD spoke to a former music industry vet who had to quit her job because the job required her to regularly stay out drinking, leaving her with hangovers that seriously increased her anxiety. “A lot of people say that the anxiety you feel the morning after drinking is purely caused by feelings of regret about embarrassing things you might have done when drunk or don’t remember. This isn’t the case for me,” she explained. The anxiety after drinking was so bad that it even left her with intrusive thoughts about dying. “My panic often centers around health so you can see how feeling like you’ve inflicted feeling like crap on yourself can trigger thoughts about death,” she said.
Giving up alcohol might not be a bad thing. Our bodies don’t actually NEED alcohol. In fact, the negative effects of drinking have been well-documented, and they range from behavioral changes and slurred speech to more serious conditions like liver and heart disease, cancer, and infertility. Swearing off alcohol will allow you to avoid these things and could help keep your anxiety in check. It’s certainly worth a try.
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