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Shy drinkers more likely to suffer 'hangxiety' the morning after, study says

Anxiety often comes with hangovers
Anxiety often comes with hangovers

By Rod Minchin

Very shy people are more likely to suffer 'hangxiety' - anxiety during a hangover - than their extrovert friends, according to new research.

In a study of almost 100 social drinkers with either high or low levels of shyness, drinking about six units of alcohol slightly decreased anxiety in highly shy people.

The next day, however, this slight relaxation was replaced by a significant increase in anxiety - a state of hangxiety among the shy drinkers.

The researchers, from the University of Exeter and UCL, also found a strong link between hangxiety and higher scores in a test used to identify alcohol use disorder in highly shy people.

"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 a 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."

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

"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."

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