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Very Shy People More Likely to Have Anxiety During a Hangover

Very shy people are more likely to experience “hangxiety” — anxiety during a hangover — compared to their more extroverted peers, according to a new U.K. study conducted by researchers from the University of Exeter and University College London (UCL).

“We know that many people drink to ease anxiety felt in social situations, but this research suggests that this might have rebound consequences the next day, with more shy individuals more likely to experience this, sometimes debilitating, aspect of hangover,” said researcher Dr. Celia Morgan, professor of psychopharmacology at the University of Exeter in England.

“It’s about accepting being shy or an introvert. This might help transition people away from heavy alcohol use. It’s a positive trait. It’s OK to be quiet.”

The study involved nearly 100 social drinkers with either high or low levels of shyness. After drinking around six units of alcohol, very shy people reported a slight decrease in their anxiety levels.  But by the next day, this slight relaxation was replaced by a significant increase in anxiety — a state the researchers refer to as “hangxiety.”

One alcohol unit is measured as 10 milliliters or 8 grams of pure alcohol.

The researchers also found a strong link between this hangxiety in very shy people and higher scores on the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) assessment, which is used to help detect alcohol use disorder.

“These findings also suggest that hangxiety in turn might be linked to people’s chance of developing a problem with alcohol,” said Morgan.

For the study, participants were tested at home and were assigned at random either to drink or to remain sober. Baseline measures of shyness, social phobia and alcohol use disorder were taken at the beginning, and anxiety levels were tested again during the evening and the following morning.

“While alcohol use is actually going down, there are still 600,000 dependent drinkers in the UK,” said first author Beth Marsh, of UCL. “And while statistics show that, overall, people are drinking less, those with lower levels of health and wellbeing — perhaps including people experiencing anxiety — are still often doing so.”

The study is published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Source: University of Exeter



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