Despite the government moving to Plan B amid the rapid surge of Omicron, Boris Johnson has said workers can go ahead with Christmas parties.
And new rules that mean a Covid pass is needed to gain entry to clubs haven’t put a stop to many revellers taking to town this festive period.
Now on the other side of Mad Friday – although much more subdued than in previous years – Christmas is just around the corner, which for many, will mean more drinking either at home or in your local boozer.
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But, regardless of the season, many drinkers will have felt what it’s like to wake up the next day with ‘the fear’.
These feelings of anxiety, not remembering what happened, and sometimes feelings of regret after drinking alcohol are a real phenomenon.
Some call it the ‘beer fear’, while others describe it as ‘hangxiety’.
That feeling where you find yourself questioning everything you have done and said the night before.
Although the term doesn’t have an official place in the English language dictionary, it is of course in the Urban edition.
“The irrational feeling induced by alcohol after a heavy session,” it states, before adding: “Waking and at first feeling indifferent about the events of the night before but then, over a period of several hours, your memory coming back in small amounts of ever growing embarrassment for yourself and the way acted or what you said to, probably, the wrong person”.
If that sounds familiar then you will be pleased to know you are not alone – and there is a scientific reason for it.
Liz Burns, who is a lecturer of mental health nursing at Salford University with a specialism in alcohol services, has explained to us why and how this happens.
She chairs a research project – Communities in Charge of Alcohol (CICA) – which is an alcohol health champions project in Greater Manchester.
Here, she talks us through why we get ‘the fear’ the morning after a night out drinking alcohol:
So, what happens when we drink alcohol?
Liz told the M.E.N that alcohol forces the brain to switch off the central nervous system because it is a depressant rather than a stimulant drug.
“Our inhibitions are turned off which is makes us feel relaxed and confident,” she said.
“Because alcohol is a depressant, our motor coordination becomes slower, which is why we may become clumsy.
“As brain processes slow down, your memory can become impaired.”
Liz explained the liver is the only way alcohol can be broken down and metabolised.
“It can break down one unit per hour, so if you’re drinking above this, your blood alcohol level increases.
“A glass of wine for example has 3.5 units.
“When blood alcohol levels increase with the more we drink, the more ‘switching off effect’ we experience.