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Alcohol Can Also Be Stimulating

<p>Alcohol can also be stimulating, according to <a href=”https://www.yalemedicine.org/doctors/john_krystal/” target=”_blank”>Dr. John Krystal</a>, the chair of the department of psychiatry at Yale Medicine.</p><p>Some people may find that a glass of wine or beer will cause them to feel more stimulated. Krystal says this may be due to alcohol’s ability to increase norepinephrine levels in the body, which is a chemical involved in our body’s “fight or flight” response to fear or stress.</p><p>This rush of norepinephrine can play out in a couple of ways.</p><p>”While some people may find the effects of norepinephrine to be pleasurable, others — particularly people with symptoms associated with panic disorder or PTSD — may be very sensitive to the ability of norepinephrine to trigger anxiety,” Krystal said.</p>

It Interferes With Our Sleep

<p>Alcohol also disrupts the quality of our sleep and can completely deregulate our sleep-wake cycle.</p><p>”People may find that drinking alcohol helps them to relax and to fall asleep. However, alcohol reduces the restful quality of sleep and when their blood alcohol levels drop, they may experience more difficulty getting back to sleep or maintaining sleep,” Krystal said.</p><p>And when we don’t get the sleep we need, our mood can take a hit.</p><p>When we drink alcohol, our rapid eye movement, or REM sleep, is reduced. This matters because it’s the most important, restorative part of our sleep.</p><p><a href=”https://www.pnas.org/content/113/9/2538″ target=”_blank”>Research</a> shows that poor REM sleep has been linked to a higher risk of depression and anxiety. On the flip side, <a href=”https://news.berkeley.edu/2018/11/06/chronically-anxious/” target=”_blank”>a deep, restorative sleep</a> may actually calm an overactive brain and mitigate feelings of anxiety.</p><p>”Sleep is important in mood regulation and being thrown off suddenly can increase feelings of anxiety,” said <a href=”https://www.northwell.edu/find-care/find-a-doctor/psychiatry/dr-jessy-warner-cohen-phd-11362380″ target=”_blank”>Jessy Warner-Cohen</a>, PhD, a senior psychologist at Northwell Health.</p>

Here’s How Long It’ll Last and What to Do About It

<p>According to Holt, whereas a hangover will usually stick with you for a few hours, that post-drinking anxiety may linger for a couple of days.</p><p>However, if you struggle with anxiety or have an anxiety disorder, that anxiety may last longer and end up being more severe than it was before drinking alcohol.</p><p>If you start to feel more anxious after drinking, it’s probably worth taking a break from it. Give your GABA system a rest and find a healthier way to soak up those endorphins.</p><p>”There are natural ways of reducing anxious feelings. Exercise is a great one. Even if you’re feeling sluggish, going for a brisk walk can naturally uplift your mood,” Warner-Cohen said.</p><p>Sleep is another big one: Take a nap if you can or aim for an earlier bedtime.</p><p>”Getting an actual full night’s sleep that includes REM sleep is very important to help people feel restored the next day, less anxious, less depressed, and more capable of getting done what needs to be done,” Holt said.</p><p><a href=”https://www.healthline.com/health/breathing-exercise” target=”_blank”>Deep breathing exercises</a> can also help soothe your nerves. There’s plenty of <a href=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6137615/” target=”_blank”>evidence</a> pointing to deep breathing’s ability to boost feelings of comfort and downplay symptoms of anxiety, arousal, and confusion.</p><p>Many health experts recommend the <a href=”https://www.healthline.com/health/4-7-8-breathing” target=”_blank”>4-7-8 method</a>, in which you slowly inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and gradually exhale for 8 seconds.</p><p>Listen to your body — you know it better than anyone else.</p><p>If you feel the anxiety building, or strong, persistent urges to drink, reach out for help. There are a lot of treatments available for both anxiety and alcohol use disorders that are worth looking into if you sense an issue unfolding.</p>

The Bottom Line

<p>With the holidays upon us, you may notice that all that spiked eggnog and champagne toasts may not only give you a painful hangover, but severe symptoms of anxiety as well.</p><p>This is because alcohol can have a very powerful effect on the systems that regulate our mood and mental health.</p><p>Though the anxiety may linger for a few days, sleep, exercise, and deep breathing exercises can help you overcome the anxious aftershock that follows a few days of heavy drinking.</p>

Reposted with permission from Healthline. For detailed source information, please view the original article on Healthline.

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