Mental Causes Of Anxiety After Drinking
If you want to moderate its because you believe there is something beneficial in drinking it brings you somewhere or does something for you. It takes you to something that you are looking forward to it.
This is one of the reasons that I, after about 4 months of sobriety, did the ultimate test. Got drunk in a room to see what it was really doing for me and if I was actually missing out on something I wanted to hang on to.
That experience was an eye-opener because the alcohol brought me no pleasure, no happiness. Only a return of all the horrible feelings Id been happy to get rid of. That day I learned that you cannot mistake something good with the relief of something bad. Taking off my ski boots feels really good, but thats only because they were tight, to begin with.
Anticipation Can Lead To Anxiety
When you are wanting a drink having that drink relieves the craving and desire. that by its nature feels good. The act of anticipation simply looking forward to something creates expectation which is a huge part of actual pleasure. Once that is over if you have a rule about when you will drink again you have a period of time of sobriety to get through before you get to do it again. That waiting period can be a huge source of anxiety after drinking.
The Anxiety Of Confusion And Memory Lapses
Both confusion and memory lapses are common for people with hangovers. The confusion may initially result from feeling terrible and not remembering why. After the initial confusion, you may still find yourself unable to think clearly, either due to physical pain or dehydration, and fatigue due to poor sleep quality. This inability to think clearly may lead you to jump to conclusions .
Confusion can also be caused by lapses in your memory. Not being able to recall what happened prior to waking up with a hangover and all its accompanying symptoms can cause a great deal of stress, causing you to speculate about every bad thing that might have happened to you. The list is essentially endless, particularly after a blackout, when you dont remember a period of time – almost anything could have happened. More reasonable concerns include saying things you didnt mean, while more intense fears can come from imagining that you were attacked or abused by someone.
Also Check: How To Help Calm A Child With Anxiety
Traditional Ways Of Treating Anxiety
Many treatment options exist for anxiety.
Treatment may depend on the type of anxiety you have. If you have social anxiety or a social phobia, therapy may work best to reduce your levels of anxiety . If you have generalized anxiety disorder , an ongoing feeling of worry or stress without a specific cause, your doctor may recommend learning behaviors or skills to help you stop avoiding activities because of anxiety , or talking about your anxiety with a therapist.
Your doctor may also prescribe medications.
It Can Intensify Negative Emotions
Alcohol can release pent-up emotions or make feelings of anger and frustration feel more intense, which can cause an impact on your health, friendships, family and work. It can bring about changes in our thinking and we can often experience frustration when we discover our foggy brain doesnt allow us to think as clearly as normal.
Similar to its impact on anxiety, not only can alcohol worsen depression, it can actually cause it too. When the effects of alcohol wear off, it changes our brain chemistry for the worse. In fact, people who drink heavily are more likely to suffer from depression, and alcohol dependence is roughly three times more likely among people with depression.
Read Also: How To Slow Down Heart Rate Anxiety
How Should I Deal With Anxiety After Drinking
There are other healthy ways to get rid of stress. Meditation and yoga are some great ways to feel better as it makes the left prefrontal cortex of your brain more active. Spending half an hour doing physical exercise will also relieve anxiety by encouraging the release of feel-good hormones. You will also be able to sleep better after exercises.
Inhaling certain essential oils may also help change your brain activity and make you feel relaxed. The most effective choices are jasmine, lavender, sandalwood, and rose. You can have a warm bath before going to bed and make it even better by inhaling lavender oil. You can also carry a small bottle of your favorite essential oil and inhale the scent whenever you need to calm your nerves.
Practice Deep Breathing
Learning how to breathe properly will help a lot in reducing anxiety after drinking. Slow, deep breaths help restore your body’s rhythms. Simply seta timer on your cell phone and make it vibrate every 3 hours. When it does, take a break from your work and take five deep, relaxing breathes. Inhale though the nose and exhale through your mouth with a sigh for better effects.
Set aside 15 minutes for “time to worry”. Whenever you start to feel anxious and worry about something, remind yourself that you will take care of it during your “stress session”.
In addition, you can also take a step ahead and prevent anxiety after drinking from happening by:
Change Your Attitude
Cut Back on Drinking
How To Avoid Feeling Anxious
For some people, the best way to avoid the “hangxiety” may be to avoid alcohol altogether, or at least in large quantities, especially if you typically experience a lot of anxiety when youre not drinking, or have a history of panic disorder or panic attacks.
But at the same time, alcohols ability to reduce anxiety in the moment can be helpful in some situations, such as allowing someone with social anxiety to feel more comfortable socializing:
There are times that alcohol is effective in helping an anxious person feel more comfortable in social settings and uncomfortable situations, yet its not a solution to the cause of the underlying anxiety, says clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly.
“Alcohol use is only a short-term remedy and doesnt address the underlying anxious process, Yusko says. Therefore, alcohol use becomes more necessary to feel better.
Over time, the use of alcohol can become a second problem, or serve as an avoidance behavior that actually maintains an anxiety disorder in the long term, Yusko adds. He doesnt believe all anxious people need to stay away from alcohol completely, but does recommend being careful about using alcohol as a way to cope with anxiety.
You May Like: How To Come Down From An Anxiety Attack
Is It Time To Rethink Your Drinks
But moderation isnt always easy. If stopping yourself after a drink or two feels like its getting trickier or impossible, consider rethinking your drinking. And if booze has become your Rx of choice for bad days, its probably time to hit pause.
Theres no harm or shame in evaluating your drinking habits. Its a great way to boost your self-awareness and potentially improve your overall health.
It Can Negatively Affect Your Sleep
A good nights sleep restores our body and minds and is vital to minding your mental health. Because alcohol is a depressant it makes you sleepy at times but the sleep you get after drinking is of a much lower quality than the sleep you get when you are not drinking.
This is because alcohol can reduce the amount of Rapid Eye Movement sleep you get, leaving you feeling drowsy, low in energy and you may find it harder to concentrate the next day.
Recommended Reading: How To Cure Anxiety Disorder
A Hangovers Physical Symptoms Are All Too Familiar To Many People: A Pounding Headache Unbearable Nausea Light Sensitivity Dizziness Hangovers And Post
A hangovers physical symptoms are all too familiar to many people: a pounding headache, unbearable nausea, light sensitivity, dizziness. Hangovers and post-drinking recovery arent always just physical symptoms though.
The extreme anxiety that drinking can induce can start to take your mind into uncontrollable fear. This phenomenon has come to have its own name: hangxiety.
Hangxiety is a new age term for the anxiety that is commonly felt after excessive drinking, but it isnt necessarily a new concept.
What is hangxiety?
A hangover is a state of recovery for the body and brain. The body works to remedy the physical hangover symptoms and the brain works to remedy the post-drinking chemical imbalances that often cause a spike in anxiety.
Hangover-related anxiety can be separate from the physical symptoms during this time of hangxiety, there is generally more panic experienced, even if a person may not have an anxiety disorder to begin with.
Some symptoms of hangxiety:
What causes hangover anxiety?
When youre drinking, alcohol disrupts your brain functionality, releasing an excess of feel-good chemicals like endorphins. The release of all those chemicals in your brain is part of why partying can be such a euphoric experience. However, the party has to end at some point, and youre liable to experience a crash the morning after also known as a hangover.
Why does it feel like no one else feels this way after drinking?
How can I manage hangover anxiety?
How Is Hangxiety Different From General Anxiety
While the anxiety you experience during a hangover can feel like general day-to-day anxiety, hangover anxiety is only related to the effects of alcohol and may be transient, says Sanam Hafeez, Psy.D., a New York City-based clinical psychologist. So while those who are already struggling with an anxiety disorder can certainly be more likely to experience feelings of anxiety after drinking, experiencing hangxiety does not necessarily mean you have an anxiety disorder.
” people experience feelings that mimic anxiety such as faster heartbeat, palpitations, sweaty palms and dizziness, which in turn can induce anxiety, even panic attacks,” explains Dr. Hafeez. “And given the impaired sleep with alcohol, anxiety is further exacerbated, as sleep fosters clearer thinking, rational behaviors, and improved memory and attention all of which when impeded contribute to anxiety as well.”
Read Also: Why Is My Anxiety So High
It Messes With Your Brain
Booze can make you feel liberated and joyful, but too much can have the opposite affect on your mood and disposition. Alcohol interferes with the chemicals, or neurotransmitters, in the brain, says Ashley Loeb Blassingame, a certified alcohol and drug counselor and the co-founder of Lionrock, an online substance abuse recovery program.
More pointedly, alcohol can affect our serotonin levels, which are responsible for feelings of happiness and pleasure. “As the alcohol wears off, anxiety increases because the body is responding to it being sedated and, as a result, tries to find equilibrium,” Blassingame says. “The hyperactivity, created by a chemical reaction to being sedated, leads to increased feelings of anxiety and uneasiness.”
Stop Drinking If You Start To Feel Bad
If you begin to notice any unwanted side effects physical or emotional while drinking, it may be best to call it a night.
Havent had much to eat or drink, besides alcohol? A glass of water and a light snack can help you avoid a bad hangover.
It can also help to unwind with a warm bath, soft music, and other soothing or calming activities before putting yourself to bed.
How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Anxiety
Alcohol acts as a sedative, so it can help you feel more at ease. It may make you feel more socially confident at a party or help you forget your worries.
However, these benefits are short term. When we drink alcohol it disrupts the balance of chemicals and processes in the brain. The relaxed feeling you experience when you have your first drink is due to the chemical changes alcohol causes in your brain. The alcohol starts to depress the part of the brain that we associate with inhibition5.
But these effects wear off fast and the pleasant feelings fade. If you rely on alcohol to mask your anxiety problems, you may find you become reliant on it to relax, which may lead to alcohol addiction.A likely side-effect of this is that the more you drink the greater your tolerance for alcohol will be. Over time you may need to drink more alcohol to get the same feeling. In the long term this pattern of alcohol use may affect your mental health.
Many people believe that having an alcoholic drink will help them feel more relaxed. However, if youre experiencing anxiety, drinking alcohol could be making things worse.
It Stops You From Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms
It is worthwhile to learn healthy coping mechanisms in response to emotions like stress, sadness and anger that do not involve or rely on alcohol. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to get the right support for your individual needs. In fact, a study by the HSE into alcohol-related harm found that those who were engaged in regular heavy drinking were less likely to use positive coping strategies when dealing with anxiety and depression.
If a person repeatedly turns to alcohol when their mood deteriorates, they miss out on the opportunity of discovering the other, more effective, ways of dealing with unpleasant moods. learning new ways to cope can make us stronger, healthier and happier in the long term.
You May Like: How Can I Get My Anxiety Under Control
Is There A Connection Between Alcohol And Anxiety
Alcohol is a common form of self-medication for social anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. In fact, about 25% of people with panic disorder have a history of alcohol dependence.
Not only does anxiety lead to drinking, and drinking lead to anxiety, but the two triggers each other into a spiralling cycle. For example, anxiety makes a person start drinking, which worsens their anxiety, which leads them to drink more, and worsen their anxiety further.
Alcohol causes anxiety because it upsets hormones, brain function, and sleep. When the body and mind havent had the opportunity to rest, a person may feel on edge and irritable. If a person is also taking antidepressants, which is not uncommon for people with anxiety, the combination of the two worsens the condition and can trigger a severe panic attack.
Long-term alcohol abuse can not only induce panic attacks but can also lead to PTSD. This becomes even more true if a person has an anxiety or panic disorder. Alcohol not only contributes to anxiety but rewires the part of the brain responsible for coping with fear. Because of this, a person will hold on to fear-inducing associations longer, and will have a harder time recovering from trauma.
There is also evidence that chronic alcohol abuse can lead to lasting anxiety, even after a person becomes sober.