Alcohol is a huge flirt. One night you’re having a great time, laughing and teasing, trying not to dream of your future children and then BAM. Dead air space. No call? Was it something I said? You're left crumpled in a pile of emotions and sorrows.
So what’s the real deal with the ghosting?
The night of.
You’re out having some drinks. Alcohol jumps aboard the Brain Train and starts taking up seats. It binds to GABA* receptor sites in the brain and gives them a boost, leading to your initial chill vibes. Dopamine rushes the Train, making you feel great, suddenly a socialite. Your ol’ pal, Anxiety has left the Train for the evening. K BYEEEE. Sorry serotonin (mood-regulator), the Train’s full. Which may explain the mood swings and tears associated with getting White Girl Wasted.
The day after.
You wake up, sweaty and at a horribly ungodly hour. The Train has stopped at Hangover Station. WHACK. Anxiety comes shooting back into your life, 10 fold. What you had thought was a quick, smooth exit from the Brain Train turned out to be more like a quick trip on a tight elastic band. The rebound of dopamine levels as they drop back down impacts your mood and anxiety levels…and not for the better. You can feel panic, depression, be overly iweempulsive, agitated and irritable. Though it seems like alcohol is playing with your heartstrings, it’s your neurotransmitters that are ghosting you.
Now that you know what’s actually going on chemically in your brain, put down the phone. Delete your last draft of The About Last Night apology letter and take a moment to breathe. Chances are higher that your neurotransmitters are the culprit of your anxiety than the likelihood that you managed to savagely insult every person you’ve ever known. Your paranoia is a result of your altered chemistry.
To reduce your bouts with morning-after anxiety, try some deep, long inhales and exhales, a few minutes of mindful meditation or as tragic as it may seem in the moment, get some exercise. These are all natural boosters to help return your feel good vibes. In the long run, especially if you suffer from chronic anxiety, cutting out the booze might be worth a second thought.
*principle inhibitory neurotransmitter that gives you feelings of calm.