“Hangxiety”: post-brush anxiety, a vicious circle


While the majority of people can afford to stick their necks out and sometimes abuse the good things in life, no one can is completely immune to the risk of one day suffering from hangxiety and falling into its vicious circle.

What exactly is hangxiety? The English portmanteau word designates the anxiety felt during the aftermath of wakefulness, which comes in two typical forms: on the one hand, we find people who live with anxiety and who seek to relieve it by lifting the elbow; on the other, we find people who experience symptoms of anxiety because of their consumption of alcohol, a central nervous system depressant, explain to us two experts in the abuse of this substance.  

Louise Nadeau, professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of Montreal recognized for her research in drug addiction, affirms that the data is clear:  self-medicate with alcohol, and when you drink too much, you feel more guilt, so you have more depressive symptoms and you continue to treat that psychological distress with alcohol.”  

< p>“But the problem is that anxiety is also one of the effects of alcohol,” adds Anne Elizabeth Lapointe, general manager of Maison Jean Lapointe, who also observes the cycle of  self-medication with alcohol. “So yes, there is anxiety that can appear in the days following the consumption of alcohol,” she points out.  

Madame Lapointe indicates that several factors can be taken into account to make our hangovers anxiety: it can range from questions we have about our behavior the day before to coffee – a stimulant – that we take to cheer us up the next day, through physical symptoms such as headache, lack of sleep, dehydration, an overworked digestive system or muscle inflammation.  

That, the actress and author Éliane Gagnon, who will soon celebrate six years of sobriety, remembers it very well. she apologizes for the use of the expression, which remains well chosen all the same. and negative” when you're hangover and it's not easy to be in a good mood with an urge to vomit. “It's really a spiral that takes you down,” she explains.

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Spiral. This is the word that comes up in all our conversations, because it illustrates better than the vicious circle this idea that we are falling more and more. When we are in this spiral, we have not simply had a risky consumption that made us worry the next day and review our relationship with alcohol. We have fallen into the progression of addiction, and we often don't realize it until we hit a wall. This is what happened to Eliane. Literally. A drunken car accident allowed him to “wake up in time” and go to treatment, an unfortunately fairly standard journey.  

So, how to prevent hangxiety or to cure it? If one does not suffer from addiction, it will be necessary to avoid risky behaviors related to consumption and find strategies to combat anxiety, such as cognitive therapy, relaxation methods and the habit of confiding in loved ones about our moods, advises Dr. Nadeau. 

But if you have a substance abuse problem, it must be treated in addition to anxiety, because the risks of relapse are greater if not treated as well. “If the anxiety persists after withdrawal, it is understood that the person probably has an anxiety disorder and that is where medication or psychotherapy goes. be recommended,” explains Anne Elizabeth Lapointe. 

“Once you stop using, that's where the bugs come out. You have to go to the source. Why did you drink? Why do you want to run away?” concludes Éliane Gagnon, who discovered her anxiety after she quit drinking. 

The 28 Day Challenge comes shortly after the holidays and it's not no coincidence. It's a time to question our consumption, to take stock. What if, this time, we take the opportunity to reflect on our hangxiety?

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