You got a case of 'hangxiety'? Here are some cures that'll stop you stressing about your drunken exploits

Image: 123RF/Jeffery Cleveland

You wanted to relax after a gruelling week of work but landed up attempting to single-handedly drink the entire contents of the bar. Tried to drown your sorrows after your significant other dropped you? Celebrated that promotion with a bottle of tequila? Whatever the reason for your overindulgence, the result is the same – you wake up with hangxiety.

That tried-and-trusted well of millennial slang Urban Dictionary defines “hangxiety” as “the feeling of overwhelming guilt, stress and worry you experience the day after a drinking binge”.

Wondering what you did or said - or who you phoned – sends you into a downward spiral of anxiety, desperate to retrace your steps by scrolling through your social media accounts and phone logs. Checking your bank balance and transaction history is bound to induce an even bigger bout of angst.

Alcohol is a mood-altering substance. Initially it increases the feel-good chemicals in your brain, which help you feel happy. At the same time, it slows down your nervous system activity. This makes you less anxious and is the reason why you cast off those inhibitions so readily.

While this initially works to relax and help you unwind, giving you a boost while you indulge, it starts working in the opposite manner once the effects of the alcohol wear off. This results in an imbalance of the chemicals in your brain, which can cause feelings of anxiousness or sadness.

Hangxiety can affect even those who have never suffered from anxiety

Hangxiety can affect even those who have never suffered from anxiety but the effects can be more pronounced for those who are no stranger to it. Warnings abound against the consumption of alcohol if you suffer from depression.

A study published in Personality and Individual Differences found that very shy people are more likely to experience hangxiety, and that the phenomenon could be linked with a higher risk of developing an alcohol problem. 

So if you regularly experience hangxiety, you should probably consider a break from the booze, while you take stock of your wellbeing.

While there are many reputed remedies for hangovers, ranging from drinking copious amounts of water to a greasy burger, you just might have to ride out your hangxiety. Odds are, you are not at the forefront of your fellow revellers’ minds as they battle their own hangover or hangxiety.

As for your bank balance, that damage is done and you might have to consider giving up the next bender for some overtime. Whatever you do, don’t go for the hair of the dog to help you relax!

Apps to help stop hangxiety 

While drinking in moderation is the obvious cure for hangxiety, advances in technology might help to limit your drunken impulses. Check out these phone apps which promise to safeguard you from drunk you:

Bacco – Drunk Mode (available for download on Android). You can select which apps to block and which words can’t be texted. You can disable this lock by undertaking three tests which will check your concentration, reflexes and balance to prove that you’re sober. If you pass these tests, “drunk mode” will be disabled.

Drunk Text Blocker (available for download on Android). Use it to block selected apps for a pre-determined time of your choice.

Drunk Mode – Call Blocker (available for download on IOS). This app has a few weapons in its arsenal. You can use it to find your inebriated friends using GPS and it stops you from drunk dialling by hiding selected phone numbers for up to 12 hours. The cherry on top is it allows you to track where you went the previous night – perfect to piece together the puzzle.

Drunk Mode Keyboard (available for download on IOS). This app prevents you from typing and sending ill-advised messages for a pre-selected amount of time.

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