Alcohol relaxes the brain. It acts on receptors of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and those give a signal to slow down the activity of nerve cells. “Therefore, you become joyful and relaxed when you’re drinking,” explains David Nutt (David Nutt), Professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London.
The first two units of alcohol put you in a blissful state of peace, called GABA. When you get to the third or fourth glass, it switches to another process, inhibiting the brain. Ingredients alcohol reduce the activity of glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter of the brain.
The less glutamate, the less anxiety and Vice versa. So when people are very drunk, they don’t worry. In this state, it seems that life is good, but do not jump to conclusions.
Soon the body detects the imbalance of chemicals in the brain and attempts to rectify the situation. This is similar to the processes that happen when you eat a lot of sugar. To normalize the blood sugar level, the body produces plenty of insulin. But as soon as eaten, the sweetness is digested, the accumulated hormone causes a sharp drop in blood glucose from what you eat.
With alcohol a similar situation. The body tries to normalize the level of GABA and glutamate.
So after copious libations you will have a very low content of GABA and the glutamate spike. This leads to anxiety. And cramps that often occur with a hangover. Brain needs a few days to return to normal. “If you have been drinking a lot, the recovery can take weeks, says Nutt. – Do alcoholics the changes in GABA levels observed in years.”
Typically these processes are run while you try to sleep it off. “Drunk people go to sleep quickly – continues Nutt. – Their sleep is deeper than in a sober state, which explains the cases of involuntary urination and nightmares. After about four hours it starts breaking. The man wakes up trembling and nervous.”
However, the imbalance of GABA and glutamate is not the only problem. Alcohol also causes a small increase of norepinephrine. This hormone is involved in the reaction “Bay or run”. It first suppresses stress, but then, on the contrary, increases it. So that increased anxiety is a sign of norepinephrine release.
Another reason for hangover anxiety – the inability to remember what you said and did while you were drunk.
This is caused by the deviation of the level of glutamate. We need him for the formation of memories. After the sixth or seventh glass of alcohol, the glutamate receptors are blocked by ethanol, so in the morning you do not remember.
However alcohol withdrawal anxiety not all affected to the same extent. Researchers proselyte, alcohol use disorders and ‘hangxiety’: A naturalistic study of social drinkers healthy young men, how anxious they felt before and during alcohol consumption and the morning after.
According to psychopharmacologist Celia Morgan (Celia Morgan), shy people anxiety the next morning is much higher. Perhaps this comes from the fact that their GABA levels are initially low. But it may be in psychology. Anxious people are usually more prone to obsessive thinking about the past.
Unfortunately, there is little that can be done, but to drink less. In the morning take pain not to bother the head. And in any case do not treat alcohol withdrawal anxiety new portion of alcohol. This is the path to addiction.
Try to break the vicious circle. “Before drinking, in order to feel more confident, imagine the hangover the next day, Morgan says. – If you can’t communicate without alcohol, you’ll be trapped in this circle, and hangover anxiety will only increase.”