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Anyone who has had a few too many drinks on a night out will know the physical effects you can feel when you wake up the next morning. Throbbing headache, dry mouth, nausea and a desire to never again leave the sanctuary of your doona. But hangovers can take on a more sinister form when the physical effects are coupled with anxiety.
Did you know that in Norway they actually have a distinct word for the anxiety that comes with a hangover? Fylleangst refers to the regret, or fear, over what you may have done the night before whilst intoxicated. And despite the fact no other language lays claim to having a word for this specific state, it’s one that many people can certainly relate to.
It involves feeling a deep sense of uneasiness and concern about one’s behaviour the day/night before. The entire next morning is spent in a panic, trying to review things you might have said or done, and what others who were present will think of you. Throw smartphones and social media into the equation and the dread only gets worse. The morning after often begins with a frantic scramble to see if any embarrassing texts were sent or if any photos/videos were posted to social media. It’s not a fun time.
Here are some comments from Beyond Blue forum users:
There is a science behind post-drinking anxiety. When you consume alcohol the chemical balance in your brain is disrupted. Everyone is different, but most people feel more relaxed and less inhibited after a few drinks. The ‘feel-good’ chemical called dopamine is released in greater supply into your brain – resulting in a greater sense of satisfaction than you had before drinking. Alcohol is effectively tricking your brain. You pay little regard to the age-old fact that what comes up, must come down. The next day, your brain is trying feverishly to correct the chemical imbalances from the night before and what do you know – anxiety arises..
So what can you do if you wake up and post-drinking anxiety is taking a hold?
The first thing to know is you’re not alone in this feeling. Far from it. The battling the booze thread in the Beyond Blue forums is well worth a read; you’ll find many personal stories from people dealing with the negative effects of alcohol.
There are also some helpful techniques you can employ to ease feelings of anxiety:
If you find your anxiety post-drinking is regularly lasting longer than 24 hours, or increasing in intensity, go and see your GP. You can learn more about anxiety and take the anxiety checklist here.
For other Gold Coast events and activities visit the Gold Coast Primary Health Network’s website: HealthyGC.com.au