We all know that feeling: you wake after a big night on the vodka sodas and feel that fear in the pit of your stomach.
You spend the next hour going over everything that happened the night before and worrying about what you did and what you said. Then you worry about stuff that happened three years ago and the spiral sucks you into the “hangxiety” vortex of hell.
And if your memories of the night before are a little hazy, that worry can skyrocket.
But take heart, it’s not just you – and if you’re someone who suffers from shyness those feelings can be a whole lot worse.
Shy people are more likely to experience hangxiety – and the shier you are, the worse you’re likely to feel, according to a new study published in JAMA Network Open.
The study, from University College in London, took note of 97 people’s shyness and phobia levels and then asked some of them to drink and some of them to abstain. Then researchers took note of each person’s hangover anxiety levels and found that those who reported being more shy also experienced more anxiety.
Beth Marsh, a research assistant in the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at the university reported, “A significant increase in anxiety the day following drinking was observed in highly shy participants.”
The kicker is that shy people were more likely to develop a drinking problem (that is, regularly drinking more than the recommended amount) – presumably because alcohol helps them to get over their shyness. Talk about a Catch-22.
Why the fear?
Despite often having an initial uplifting effect, alcohol is a depressant – that’s why it can leave you feeling off the next day. And when your body starts to burn through the alcohol and the levels start to abate, that’s when your tide really goes out and you start to experience withdrawal – that means low moods, sadness and anxiety.
For most of us we can just ride the wave and be fine in a few hours, but for others who experience shyness or social phobias, that feeling can be crippling.
How to get through hangxiety
You’re not going to like this but there’s no magic bullet to making you feel better – and you should definitely not go for the hair of the dog option. That only prolongs the problem. The only thing that will help is time.
In the meantime, there are a few things you can do while you wait it out:
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