Experts are weighing in on the reasons drinking alcohol can lead to increased anxiety the following day, and pinpointing the causes of what they have dubbed ‘hangxiety.’
Scientists have discovered the reasons a night of drinking can lead to increased heart rate and difficulty breathing the next day. According to addiction-medicine specialist Dr. Jiseung Yoon, who also works with the online alcohol treatment program Monument, “The anxiety symptoms are from the alcohol leaving your body.”
For many people it lasts until they start drinking again, and it’s a negative cycle,” says Yoon. “For binge-drinkers, it’s a little bit worse because their brain gets sensitized to alcohol: When they drink, their brain is happy, but when they stop drinking for a period of time, the brain reacts [with anxiety symptoms] until they start drinking again,” Joon told Yahoo Life.
Echoing Joon’s remarks, David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, told The Guardian, “Alcohol stimulates Gaba, which is why you get relaxed and cheerful when you drink.”
Nutt explains “alcohol targets the Gaba (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptor, which sends chemical messages through the brain and central nervous system to inhibit the activity of nerve cells.”
The experts agree the best way to avoid ‘hangxiety’ is to either avoid drinking from the start, or only have one or two drinks, which you can typically get through without blocking glutamate, which triggers excitement in the brain.
“Less glutamate means less anxiety.” This is why, he says, “when people get very drunk, they’re even less anxious than when they’re a bit drunk,” Nutt said. Nutt also advises against using ‘hair of the dog,’ or more alcohol, to tame hangover symptoms.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE CONVERSATION