For some drinkers, hangxiety—that’s hangover anxiety, for the uninitiated—is almost as reliable as the pounding headache and queasy stomach. It’s the feeling of dread that follows a night of heavy imbibing. That chill, fun vibe that accompanies having a few (or a bunch) of drinks is gone. Now you just feel anxious. Your mind races, maybe your palms sweat, maybe you get a stomachache. Maybe you’re replaying everything you said last night and frantically scrolling through your texts to make sure you didn’t send a message you super wish you hadn’t. Or maybe you just feel really worried and full of dread, even if you can’t think of a specific thing to be worried about.
For some people, these doubts and worries are fleeting—run-of-the-mill nerves from letting their guard down after a few too many drinks the night before. But for others, the anxiety is overwhelming, and it’s not just regret from drinking too much or your mind’s effort to piece together a hazy night. The overwhelming feeling of worry and anxiety after drinking too much is an experience common enough that Reddit has devoted threads to the term: “hangxiety.”
It turns out that hangxiety might in fact be a thing that has both physiological and psychological explanations.