Close Menu

Woman explains the science behind ‘hangxiety’ and why it’s a ‘real thing’

A woman has explained why you might wake up with a crippling sense of dread after a heavy night of drinking in a now-viral video that explains the science behind ‘hangxiety’ and why it occurs. 


Hangxiety is a real thing. #hangxiety #learnontiktok #sciencefacts #learnwithme

♬ original sound – Soph’s Notes

Let’s face it, we’ve all woken up after a particularly indulgent drinking session uttering those immortal words “I’m never drinking again.”

Of course, this is often not the case – rather it’s likely a symptom of the brutal hangover and creeping sense of anxiety that sometimes occurs the morning after a big night out.

Now, one TikToker has explained the science behind what has become known as ‘hangxiety’, and why it occurs.

“If you’ve ever felt super anxious when you’re hungover, then don’t worry, a lot of people do.” Sophie Ward, who goes by Soph’s Notes on TikTok, said.

Hangxiety is a real thing caused by real chemical changes in your brain.

When you drink, chemicals in your brain are affected, namely glutamate and GABA [Gamma aminobutyric acid].

These normally have opposing effects on the brain – glutamate making it more active, and GABA making it less active.

She continued:

Drinking alcohol simultaneously increases the amount of chill GABA we have whilst decreasing the amount of wired glutamate.

This means your brain is acting in super slow mo, giving you slower reactions and lower inhibitions.

The morning after your brain tries to rebalance – it becomes super sensitive to glutamate, which makes it hyperactive and you anxious, while becoming less sensitive to GABA, which would normally step in to chill you out.

It’s basically the reverse of what was happening while you were drinking and is a recipe for hangxiety.

So if you wake up feeling like the worst person in the world and with a myriad of unspecified wrongdoings against your name, then be reassured that it might well just be a strong case of hangxiety.

As Sophie concludes:

So, no, you’re not the worst person in the world who only did embarrassing things last night and now everybody low-key hates you.

You’re just a bit chemically unbalanced. But hopefully next time it’ll help you to know that.

Further Reading: for an in-depth explanation of alcohol’s role in inducing anxiety after drinking, you can read more here.

We previously reported on Researchers from the University of Helsinki’s attempts to establish a hangover cure. You can read more about their attempt here.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No