Hangover & “Hanxiety”
This leads us to the idea of “hanxiety,” a less-than-technical term for the increased anxiety we feel when we wake up with a hangover. Though not a scientific term, it does have a foundation in physiology. When we feel “hanxiety,” we may actually be experiencing signs of “mini-withdrawal.” Because alcohol depresses the nervous system when consumed, this system can be thrown into hyperactivity as the presence of alcohol in the body decreases. This can result in anxiety, restlessness, and even rapid heartbeat. Combine this physiological process with the emotions we feel about our actions while intoxicated (especially if a blackout has occurred and we are not certain about what has happened), and you get “hanxiety.” Sounds fun, right?
When we put all of the pieces together, it makes the hangover a much less mysterious phenomenon. Dehydration and the introduction of a neurotoxin can yield some nasty side effects, cured only by time and rehydration. Instead, we can prevent hangovers and “hanxiety” by reducing or eliminating our alcohol consumption.
Jayawardena, R., Thejani, T., Ranasinghe, P., Fernando, D., Verster, J. C. (2017). Interventions for treatment and/or prevention of alcohol hangover: Systematic review. Human Pharmacology: Clinical & Experimental. 32(5). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/hup.2600
Levine, C. (n.d.). Neurotoxin. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/neurotoxin
Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Hangovers. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hangovers/symptoms-causes/syc-20373012