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Shy people more likely to suffer anxiety while hungover

New research from the UK shows that very shy people suffer from "hangxiety" – anxiety during a hangover – than their more extroverted counterparts. 

Shy people more likely to suffer anxiety while hungover
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Researchers from the University of Exeter and University College of London found, in a study of nearly 100 social drinkers with varying levels of shyness, that drinking approximately six units of alcohol slightly decreased anxiety in those who self-identified as very shy.

But, the next day, that decreased shyness was replaced by significant increases in anxiety – referred to by the researchers as "hangxiety". 

There was also a strong link found between such hangxiety and higher scores on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test among those shyer people. 

The research was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, and took into account baseline measures of shyness, social phobia and alcohol use disorders, testing during the evenings and following mornings. Participants in the study, who were tested at home, were assigned at random either to drink or to stay sober.

"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 Professor Celia Morgan of the University of Exeter.

"These findings also suggest that hangxiety in turn might be linked to people's chance of developing a problem with alcohol."

First author Beth Marsh of UCL said: "While alcohol use is actually going down, there are still 600,000 dependent drinkers in the UK."

"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."

Professor Morgan added: "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."

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy is a senior writer for Lawyers Weekly and Wellness Daily at Momentum Media.

Before joining the team in early 2018, Jerome is admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales and, prior to joining the team in early 2018, he worked in both commercial and governmental legal roles and has worked as a public speaker and consultant to law firms, universities and high schools across the country and internationally. He is also the author of The Wellness Doctrines self-help book series and is an adjunct lecturer at The University of Western Australia.

Jerome graduated from the University of Technology, Sydney with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Social Inquiry).

You can email Jerome at: [email protected] 

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain