Home  >  My Life  >  Work and Play

Hangxiety: What It Is, 21 Signs, Reasons & Ways to Deal with Post-Party Anxiety

Everyone knows what a hangover is, but have you heard of hangxiety? You might have even had it – that post-party anxiety we all face. But if you don’t know how to deal with it, then read on.

post party anxiety hangxiety

Waking up after a night of partying often comes with nausea and a headache. But along with that can come hangxiety, or post-party anxiety, which is the feeling of regret, anxiety, or even paranoia.

Being worried about what you said or did the night before when your memory is now a little foggy is a real fear for a lot of people. Did you call your ex? Did you post something offensive online? Did you share a secret that was totally inappropriate with your group of friends?

We all face some version of this after a wild night, but how can you have fun without that fear?

What is hangxiety?

First of all, what is hangxiety *or post-party anxiety*? At first, you may think it is feeling exhausted after going out and socializing, but in fact, it is the fear and dread that sets in once the partying is over.

With the consumption of alcohol comes the lowering of inhibitions. Essentially, you let loose and let your guard down. But the next morning, when the alcohol is leaving your system, you feel not only sick but also intensely fearful of what you may have done whilst in that state.

And this feeling is becoming more and more common. In fact, it has more recently led to many people cutting back on their alcohol consumption, leaving parties early, or just avoiding going out altogether. [Read: Sabotaging your happiness – 12 ways you could be ruining your own life]

Why does hangxiety happen?

It makes sense that you would feel nervous that you made a fool of yourself when you can’t remember the night before. If you are already prone to anxiety, the calmness that alcohol gives you intensifies the anxiety afterward.

Think about it. You are anxious to go to a party on Friday night. But you go and have a drink. You feel better, it is easier to socialize, and you have a good time. So you have a few more drinks. But, the calmer you feel that night, the stronger the anxiety comes flying back the next day or even for the entire rest of the weekend.

For someone who deals with anxiety, not only is that feeling coming back, but you worry nonstop about what you may have done or what may have happened when you weren’t on edge.

Think of it as the anxiety bouncing back. You subsided it with alcohol, so now it shoots back full force to not only make you feel anxious about what is to come but also what already happened. [Read: How to decipher the difference between social anxiety and shyness]

What kind of people experience hangxiety? 

Research suggests that people who struggle with general anxiety are more susceptible to hangxiety. This also includes people who have any kind of social phobia or who happen to be particularly shy.

Another personality trait that makes someone have a tendency toward hangxiety is neuroticism. This is because all of these are linked to mood changes during a hangover.

In addition, those who are dealing with negative life events, depression, guilt from drinking, and anger when they are drunk are very likely to experience hangxiety as well. All of these factors, when they are combined, explain why they can affect people differently and why it’s important to take hangovers seriously.

What are the reasons some people experience hangxiety?

As we suggested, a lot of the reasons people experience hangxiety are because of their personality traits such as shyness, social phobia, or neuroticism. But there are a few other reasons that people experience it too.

1. Stress

If someone’s life is particularly stressful, then they might be prone to drinking to excess to calm down. Or, if they are trying to work through some traumatic event, they are also likely to have problems with alcohol. [Read: How to reduce stress – 17 fastest hacks to a calmer, happier life]

2. Family history of mental health conditions

If someone has a family with a genetic predisposition toward mental health issues, then they also probably run the risk of experiencing hangxiety. These issues include anything from depression to neuroticism.

3. Social anxiety

People who have general anxiety also might have social anxiety. In other words, they feel uncomfortable around people and in social situations. So, in order to feel better, they drink to ease their concerns. [Read: Signs of social anxiety that hold you back and how to overcome it]

4. Dehydration

A big reason that people experience hangovers, in general, is because of dehydration. Alcohol dehydrates the body, and that is why a person feels sick after a long night of drinking.

5. Sleep deprivation

When someone has partied for a long time, they probably didn’t get enough sleep. Even if they did, it wasn’t quality sleep because of the alcohol consumption. And sleep deprivation decreases people’s cognitive and mental abilities.

6. Regrets over the things you spoke while drinking

Part of the problem with someone who experiences hangxiety is that they feel like they might have said or done things they regret when they were drunk. Some might not even remember what happened. Either way, they will probably have regrets. [Read: How to forgive yourself and free yourself of the weight of guilt]

7. Alcohol intolerance

If someone doesn’t handle alcohol well or is a “lightweight,” they might be more susceptible to having hangxiety. Everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, so this is another contributing factor.

Symptoms of hangxiety

Now that you know the reasons why some people experience hangxiety, here are some symptoms to look out for next time you are drinking.

1. Depression

If you wake up the next morning after drinking and are more depressed than you usually are, then you might have hangxiety.

This might not be something that will last and change your life, but you won’t feel well, and you’ll have regrets, and this can cause depression. [Read: Nothing makes me happy – secrets to make happiness your default state]

2. Anxious

When you don’t know what you said or did when you were drinking, that can make you anxious. You might try to remember and/or replay the night in your head. When you do, this causes more anxiety.

3. Panic attacks

Because you feel anxious, this could also lead to a full-blown panic attack. Even if you have never had a panic attack before, one could strike you when you are experiencing hangxiety.

4. Embarrassment

This is a big symptom of hangxiety. When you think that you might have made a fool out of yourself while you were drinking, you might be very embarrassed.

You might have anxiety thinking of facing the people that you were with the night before because you regret your actions. [Read: How to stop being shy – 20 ways to kick your shyness to the curb]

How to deal with post-party anxiety 

Being able to go out and enjoy yourself without this paralyzing feeling of fear the next morning is something we all want to achieve. But how can you do one without the other?

1. Ask a friend to monitor your drinking

The best way to deal with hangxiety is to prevent it altogether. But while you’re out having a good time, you may not be thinking about how you’ll be feeling tomorrow.

If you anticipate hangxiety, reach out to a trusted friend you are going out with. Ask them to watch how much you’ve been drinking. Then, they can cut you off before you do anything you may regret later on. 

2. Try something else to calm your pre-party nerves

Are you nervous you’ll run into your ex at tonight’s party? Or maybe you have a touch of social anxiety? Well, instead of grabbing a drink to calm those jitters, try something else.

Maybe have a chamomile tea or do some yoga before you head out. Even listen to a calming song on your phone before you get out of the car. Besides, looking to alcohol to give you a good time or calm your nerves is a good way to create an irreversible problem. [Read: How to build self-confidence: 16 ways to realize you’re worth it]

3. Don’t drink more to calm the hangxiety

You have anxiety. So you drink to stop it. But then you wake up the next day with anxiety because you drank so much. It becomes a vicious cycle and can lead to a real drinking problem.

If you want to have one or two drinks while you’re out, no problem. Just know your limit. If you had five or six drinks last time you had post-party anxiety, make sure to keep it under that number next time you go out on the town. [Read: How to be less awkward and overcome your social anxiety]

4. Block certain apps from your phone before going out

If your post-party anxiety is mostly related to what you may have texted, who you may have called, or what you may have posted, block certain apps before you go out.

There are a number of apps that help with this. Or you can turn your phone on airplane mode. Or set your social media apps to only work when on WiFi. You could even hand your phone off to a trusted friend if need be.

5. Learn to have fun without drinking

This is hard for a lot of people. It might not sound possible, but it is not only possible but even better to have fun without alcohol. You probably think this sounds like your grandma, but hear us out.

Having fun without drinking lets you enjoy the moment. It lets you create memories. It lets you be carefree without the fear of embarrassing yourself.

6. Use regular hangover remedies

Hangxiety is not just anxiety. Usually, it also contains some aspect of a hangover. Curing the physical aspect is the first step. Before you deal with the fallout of a text to your crush or a blowout email to your boss, work on physically feeling better.

Take a shower, drink plenty of water, make a smoothie, or down a raw egg and hot sauce mixture. Whatever works for you, do it. From there, focus on how to troubleshoot whatever you may or may not have done the night before.

7. Meditate

This can be used before or after post-party anxiety. Meditate before going out to get yourself in a healthy headspace. This way, you can enjoy a beer or glass of wine without wanting more and more.

Or if it is too late for that, meditate upon rising so you can calmly face the incoming memories *or lack thereof*. [Read: How to calm your nerves in any situation]

8. Exercise

Yes, exercise sucks. But it is proven to perk you up. We’re not saying you need to join a gym or go for a run. But even getting outside for some fresh air and a brisk walk with your AM coffee is a good way to deal.

It is amazing what being outside can do to clear your mind. Even if you do have something from last night to worry about, this will help you deal with it with a lot more grace.

9. Counter alcohol with water and food

Throughout your partying hours, make sure you are eating and drinking plenty of water. If you balance off each drink with a bottle of water and make sure you eat before heading out for the night, your body will not be as severely dehydrated in the morning.

Plus, you should wake up with full memory of the night before. Just eat and stay hydrated to prevent the hangover and the anxiety. [Read: Quick ways to go from sloshed to alert]

10. Trust yourself

If it is too late and you found this feature because it is the morning after, and you are already facing the loss of memories and uncertainty of your actions from 12 hours ago, try to relax.

Trust that during the party, you foresaw this moment and kept things appropriate. You can reach out to friends and check social media to fill in the blanks. Just try not to panic. There is nothing you can do about what has already been done.

[Read: How to avoid the awkward drama of drunk texts]

Knowing how to deal with post-party anxiety, or hangxiety, is becoming a prerequisite for going out these days. No one wants to wake up the next day feeling anxious about the night before, right? So, just use these tips to guide you through your next night out.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life. And while you’re at it, check out MIRL, a cool new social networking app that connects experts and seekers!

Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...