Cheers to Tears: Dealing with Post-Party Hangxiety


Whether you drank last night to relieve stress, take the edge off, or “just because,” today you may feel worse than you did before thanks to hangxiety. 

What is hangxiety?

If you have ever been hungover, chances are you have suffered from hangxiety. The term is a combination of the words “hangover” and “anxiety.” Hangxiety involves feelings of anxiety that typically occur the day after consuming alcohol. The symptoms can vary based on how much alcohol was consumed the previous day/night. Aside from the common physical hangover symptoms, like headaches and nausea, hangxiety can feel like a never-ending loop of exhausting nervousness that never goes away. 

There’s tons of science to explain why hangxiety may make you feel like you are going to die, even if you’re safe at home in the comfort of your own bed. It is typically caused by three factors: increased cortisol levels, decreased GABA in the brain, and an increased heart rate. 

What does hangxiety feel like?

In my experience, horrifying hangover anxiety was accompanied by a racing heart, fatigue, nausea, restlessness, and overall psychic discomfort. Hangxiety is a painful beast, and something that we hear more and more about on social media after one partakes in a night of too many spirits. The good news is, you’re certainly not alone in feeling a sense of doom as a result of last night’s bender.

For me, hangxiety could be absolutely paralyzing. I often found that I was too exhausted to get out of bed, but too anxious to stay in it. As I got older, I noticed that my hangxiety symptoms became progressively worse and more unbearable. So while I could power through a day hungover in my 20s and early 30s, the hangxiety became more and more unmanageable and all-consuming as I got older. 

Hangxiety aggravators

Aside from issues like dehydration and brain dysregulation, other issues would compound my hangxiety, making my symptoms worse. Perhaps I was also freaked out about something that happened the night before or I was feeling regret over something I said or did. More times than not,when alcohol was involved, last night’s details were hazy (if I even remembered them at all). So on top of the physical symptoms of hangxiety, I also suffered from nagging mental anguish and despair while ruminating over my potentially questionable behavior. 

Hangxiety can also present as low mood or feelings of depression. Often, one has little energy after overdoing it with alcohol and may find themselves unable to get off the couch. This lack of energy and motivation may make you feel as though your day is ruined. Hangxiety can also be accompanied by all the classic hangover symptoms including headache, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, sweating etc. It’s just all around no fun.

Is there a cure for hangxiety?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for hangxiety except, of course, not drinking. Exercise can help burn off some nervous energy or provide the needed motivation to get off the couch and move around. Dehydration is often a big factor as well and many people use drinks like Pedialyte or Gatorade to help restore electrolytes and re-hydrate the body. Eating a light meal can help too, though sometimes it can be difficult to eat when anxious. We encourage you to try to eat something, even if you don’t feel like it. Sleeping it off is always an option too, if you can. 

However, I have found the only real cure for hangover anxiety is time. I have survived 100% of my hangxiety episodes. In my experience, I learned it eventually goes away. How long it takes to subside is purely unique to each person but it does always go away. 

What’s next?

Hangxiety sucks. In fact, next-day nightmare hangxiety was one of the main reasons why I got sober — I just couldn’t tolerate that pain anymore. However, it did always pass. So, the good news is while you may be suffering now, you aren’t going to feel like this forever. The other good news is that anxiety can’t kill you. Just go easy on yourself, drink some Pedialyte, and eat something. This, too, shall pass. 

***Disclaimer : While anxiety can’t kill you, some withdrawal symptoms from long-term alcohol abuse can. Always talk to your doctor if you have a history of alcohol abuse or if you drink on a daily basis and suffer from paranoia or runaway anxiety. It could be a sign of a more serious, life-threatening withdrawal symptom. Alcohol withdrawal should always be medically supervised. 


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