Panic Attacks and Extreme Anxiety After Quitting Drinking Alcohol

While alcohol can make your panic attacks worse, alcohol itself doesn’t cause panic attacks on its own. In other words, even if you stop drinking alcohol, you are likely still going to have panic attacks – you simply won’t have alcohol triggering them. This means that cutting out alcohol can help – but often further action is required in order to take full control of your condition.

However, once the initial effects of alcohol wear off, anxiety can spike again and with more intensity. Many people continue to drink in an effort to avoid this, creating an unhealthy cycle. It’s important to stress that using illicit drugs carries numerous risks, including the risk of panic attacks, other adverse psychological effects, and physical harm. It’s always best to avoid these substances and seek professional help if you’re struggling with substance use or mental health issues. There are many ways that drinking can worsen anxiety and panic attacks.

Alcohol Lowers Blood Sugar

You might feel irritable and worry about things unnecessarily, and could even have a panic attack. In addition, alcohol can interfere with the function of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can lead to anxiety. A person’s tolerance levels to alcohol also influence their susceptibility to anxiety.

However, you can make lifestyle changes to help you reduce your anxiety as well as learn to cope with it. Alcohol is a sedative and a depressant that affects the central nervous system. When you drink heavily on a regular basis, you are subjecting your brain and body to this cycle repeatedly. My chest would feel tight and no amount of deep breathing could settle me down.

How can I help someone having a panic attack?

The final stage of detox is when you see the symptoms begin to subside. However, it is common for post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) to cause some lingering symptoms. Panic and alcohol are a bad combination in the best of circumstances. But alcohol dependency is especially problematic for a person struggling with persistent symptoms of panic.

For this reason, those that have panic attacks should strongly consider avoiding alcohol wherever possible. Additionally, it can lessen panic attacks and alcohol the likelihood of chronic anxiety problems. Without treatment, people with panic disorder have a higher risk of suicidal ideation.


Here are our favorite non-alcoholic beers and spirits to check out. If your drinking habits have specific triggers or patterns, it’s important to examine them. Once you know why you tend to reach for a drink, you can move forward with a clear purpose.

panic attacks and alcohol

For some people, drinking alcohol and having panic episodes go hand in hand—one causes the other. Anxiety symptoms are heightened during a panic attack because the mind is overrun with anxieties and fears. For people experiencing it, this is terrible, and it gets so bad that the emotional fear manifests as physical symptoms. If you’ve had symptoms of a panic attack, it’s important to see a healthcare provider. They can give you an official diagnosis and ensure there’s no underlying physical cause.

Alcohol makes you more susceptible to panic attacks.

In addition to experiencing the symptoms of a panic attack, people with this disorder may dread the uncertainty of not knowing when the next bout of symptoms will begin. About 20 percent of people with social anxiety disorder also suffer from alcohol dependence. For many people, those effects don’t happen until the following day, which is why some people will experience a panic attack from alcohol the day after drinking. Are you interested in overcoming anxiety, panic attacks, or alcohol use disorder? You can be sure that you are in capable hands because our specialists are well trained to guide you to recovery. Although there are a multitude of different causes of excessive drinking, stress and anxiety are two of the most prominent.

When people use alcohol to relieve symptoms of a mental health condition, it can quickly become a „crutch.“ In some cases, a person who drinks alcohol to relieve feelings of anxiety might end up drinking more because they expect alcohol to provide a certain amount of relief from their anxiety symptoms. It is important to note that substance abuse and panic attacks are often intertwined, and treating one without addressing the other can be challenging. This is why a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses both issues is often the most effective approach.

In particular, alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of developing panic attacks. If you experience panic attacks or debilitating anxiety after drinking, consult a medical professional or trained therapist. Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They may run tests to rule out medical conditions that cause similar symptoms as panic attacks, such as heart disease, thyroid disease and respiratory (breathing) problems.

  • In the next two sections, we discuss the effects of hangover and withdrawal.
  • We’ll break down the science and offer some alternative coping mechanisms.
  • Stimulants have one of the most profoundly damaging effects for people with panic disorder.
  • It is also possible that you were self-medicating with alcohol to help suppress the symptoms that would cause panic attacks.

Alcohol links into the brain’s GABA receptors, producing a calming effect for the first drink or two. However, a 2019 study in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse suggested that as an evening wears on—often after you’ve gone to sleep—alcohol boosts glutamate receptors, which are excitatory. Meditation and breathing exercises can play some part in relieving anxiety. Meditation and yoga can lower your heart rate, ease other symptoms, and steady your breathing.

How do you calm down from alcohol anxiety?

Medically supervised detox is necessary, especially, for managing alcohol withdrawal panic attacks in a safe and healthy manner. Maintaining their mental health is critical throughout the detox process. Alcohol withdrawal panic attacks can create many other issues for the individual attempting to get sober on their own. Supervised detox can ensure that the person’s mental and physical health are watched closely, for their safety and well-being. Sean Leonard is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Should you rest after a panic attack?

Panic attacks require enormous amounts of energy, which can take quite a toll on your nervous system. Relax and rest for a few days following an attack, so your body has time to recover. Our therapists recommend turning out the lights and taking a nap or relaxing with your eyes closed following an attack.

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