In ‘Don’t Be That Idiot’, an England fan is shown throwing a bike into a canal, jumping on a car, disturbing diners with football chants and slopping his beer over a waiter. The fan later regrets his actions, when he sees video footage posted online, as well as people’s comments. He’s called an ‘idiot’ and a ‘national embarrassment’. The video ends with a message from England manager, Gareth Southgate. ‘You’re part of our team – make the country proud,’ he says.
On releasing ‘Don’t Be That Idiot’, the FA’s head of security, Tony Conniford, said: ‘We have gone from the organised violence days to, more recently, a growing number who become involved in this anti-social behaviour. A lot of it is alcohol-fuelled and there almost becomes an acceptance that because you’re at football, anything goes.’
In this blog, we’ll look at the theme of alcohol’s effects on inhibitions, as well as common hangover regrets. Feeling shame about how much you drink, or what happens when you drink, are widespread traits in alcohol dependence and addiction.
If hangover regrets are a pattern that you want to change, then you’re not alone. In the Global Drug Survey 2019, drinkers said they regretted getting drunk on 20% of occasions. Women over 25 years old regret getting drunk the most. The survey also found that British people get drunk more often than any other nationality – an average of 51 times per year. Globally, 38% of people who drank last year say they want to drink less in the coming year.
Spending more money than you intended: this can include spending cash on alcohol, leaving yourself short for bills or groceries. You might also use credit or borrow money from friends to fund nights out drinking, which is hard to pay back. You also might overstretch yourself on expensive taxis, club entry fees, drugs or paying for friends’ drinks.
Saying something you regret: alcohol might be a social lubricant for you, helping to get the conversation started at social events. But when you consume more than you can handle, or when you get drunk, it’s easy to lose control of what you’re saying. Alcohol affects judgment, so at the moment it may feel great to tell someone what you really think of them – but you might wake up wishing you hadn’t.
Fighting after drinking alcohol: in some cases, drinking leads to physical aggression or it fuels pre-meditated violence. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that crime victims believed that perpetrators were under the influence of alcohol in 39% of 561,000 violent incidents in 2017-18. That’s a total of 218,790 violent crimes that are connected to alcohol – almost 600 per day.
Getting drunk and anti-social behaviour: you might not ever argue or fight with people, but if alcohol leads to anti-social behaviour, it can still be a cause of hangover regrets. As shown in ‘Don’t Be That Idiot’, this could be rowdiness in public places or damaging other people’s property. You might want the party to carry on late at night, playing loud music that disturbs your housemates or neighbours.
Partial or complete memory loss – blackout: one of the signs of harmful drinking is losing your memory after drinking alcohol. Hangover regrets can be magnified, if you struggle to piece together what happened.
Sex after drinking alcohol: this could be sex with a stranger or someone you know very well (a friend or a work colleague, for example). Waking up in a strange bed may be easy to shrug off once or twice, but if it keeps happening, it can affect your health and personal security. Both men and women are more likely to be taken advantage of sexually after drinking alcohol – in the Global Drugs Survey, one-third of women and 6% of men said this had happened to them in the past.
‘Drinking and dialling’: after drinking a lot of alcohol, it can seem like a good idea to call an ex or phone your friend. You’re having a great time (or not such a great time) and you want to talk to them immediately. Impulsivity is common after drinking a lot of alcohol – so it may feel urgent to call someone, whatever time of night it is. Hangover regrets about ‘drinking and dialling’ can be even worse if you can’t remember the conversation.
The term ‘hangxiety’ describes both the physical effects of alcohol withdrawal and the post-drinking mental suffering or regrets.
Alcohol affects the central nervous system, stimulating gamma-aminobutyric acid, which initially makes you feel relaxed or happy. With more alcohol, glutamate is blocked, which also decreases anxiety. Alcohol also causes a rise in noradrenaline, suppressing stress. All of these effects are reversed in alcohol withdrawal, as the brain corrects these imbalances. After heavy drinking, therefore, it’s common to experience elevated anxiety or stress.
A study published in 2019 found that shy people were more likely to suffer from hangxiety. There was also a correlation between alcohol dependence and bad hangxiety.
If you’re sick of waking up with hangover regrets, the UK Addiction Treatment team are here to take your call. We listen carefully to what’s going on for you and we can assess you for alcohol addiction. If appropriate, we’ll recommend addiction treatment. Relatives can also call us, to discuss alcohol detox and rehab for a loved one. Contact us today about the way forward.
If you successfully complete our 90-day inpatient treatment program, we guarantee you'll stay clean and sober, or you can return for a complimentary 30 days of treatment.