Prangxiety: The existential crisis that makes your hangover feel like the end

The worst part of the night out is the morning after


We've all been there – it's 8am after a night out and you've woken up dreading what you might have done the night before. You'll frantically text the group chat asking if anyone is up and then text them all individually when they don't reply. In the kitchen is the half eaten pasta from last night, your makeup is all over the bathroom and there's 25 unread WhatsApps on your phone asking if you got home safe. Why do they need to ask that? What did you do? You've got hangxiety – congratulations.

The fear of the unknown, and the dreaded hangover is the most hellish combination there is. The emotional rollercoaster of guilt takes over, you crave reassurance, and when the read receipts of your messages start coming through, it's the best moment of your life. Occasionally you might feel like you missed the anxiety feeling, then it'll arrive at 4pm and hit you like a tonne of bricks. When you've sat in your flat all day, slowly freaking out, and nothing your group chat says makes you feel better, and you ponder your existence – that's when you have prangxiety.

What is hangxiety? How does it become prangxiety?

Hangxiety is the feeling of anxiety you feel when you're hungover. You wake up, and think everything is okay and then get this sudden sinking feeling of guilt, paranoia and anxiety. Once it's there, it's a constant feeling for the whole day. The blackout of the entire night comes right back to haunt you. What the hell did I do last night? Why do I feel so hideous this morning? Am I going to survive the day?

Image may contain: Disco, Bar Counter, Pub, Night Club, Club, Party, Human, Person

Regrets

Prangxiety is just a step further. You're not even scared of anything exactly, you're frightened of the entire situation you're in. It's like nothing else you've ever felt. It's not just being hungover and feeling anxious, it's being frantic, and genuinely fearing what might have happened.

Image may contain: Text, Word, Bird, Animal

Why do I feel paranoid and anxious after drinking?

The sensation of hangxiety isn't just a theory though, there has been scientific research into why hangover anxiety happens, and what is actually happening to our bodies when we feel anxious after drinking.

But why does a night out leave you feeling this way? Laura Whitehurst from Anxiety UK told The Tab it's to do with adrenaline levels in the body.

"When we drink alcohol, we tend to lose our inhibitions, and the self-critical part of our brain isn’t speaking to us as much. As the alcohol leaves our system in the early morning, our adrenal systems start to reactivate to help us remove the toxins from our bodies, and therefore leaving our adrenaline pumping harder."

This process is what makes us feel on edge, anxious or paranoid.

Image may contain: Female, Clothing, Apparel, Drinking, Drink, Beverage, Human, Person

According to Drink Aware, during alcohol's anxiety hangover, you begin to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms similar to the feelings people who are dependent on alcohol may have. These symptoms can be psychological such as feeling depressed or anxious – this is because you are withdrawing from alcohol.

Drink Aware says the feelings of anxiety or agitation may be barely noticeable for some, but those who already suffer from anxiety can have worse symptoms.

If you’re prone to social phobia, you might find yourself feeling worried about what you said or did the night before. If you suffer from generalised anxiety disorder, you may wake in the middle of night when you're hungover, and lie awake worrying and feeling stressed.

How long does hangover anxiety last?

Hangover anxiety begins when the sedative effects from alcohol starts to wear off. According to research, the symptoms of hangover anxiety should be short term and it shouldn't last any longer than a day. If you're pranging out for more than a day, you can't blame the alcohol.

Image may contain: Blanket, Furniture

Feeling it

How to get rid of hangover anxiety – is there a cure?

Tips for how to cure the feeling of hangover anxiety include slow breathing, staying hydrated, exercise and fresh air, like going on a walk, and plenty of sleep.

Or failing that you can just get your mates to tell you exactly what you did the night before, and hope it isn't anything too bad – like starting a group chat with all of your exes or getting a VK tattooed on you.

How to prevent hangover anxiety and the dreaded prang

Tips for preventing hangover anxiety include drinking lighter drinks like vodka over dark rums and red wine for example, because apparently there is scientific proof that dark spirts and drinks make you feel worse the day after. Have drinks that contain less sugar or have diet mixers – because the sugar levels are what make you feel jittery and exhausted, which contributes to anxiety. Drink loads of water before and after the sesh and avoid gin – which famously might make you fitter, but also makes you a psychopath, or literally just drink less. Some prosecco claims to be hangover free, so that could be worth a try.

You could also try being less of a hotmess and doing things on a night out that you're defo going to regret the morning after.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

How to get to sleep after a big sesh, according to what you’ve taken

Why does tequila make me so drunk? All the myths of tequila answered

Every hangover cure you’ll ever need