Author: Gary Jackson

Alcohol and anxiety: Link, risks, and treatment

Addiction Resource is an educational platform for sharing and disseminating information about addiction and substance abuse recovery centers. Addiction Resource is not a healthcare provider, nor does it claim to offer sound medical advice to anyone. Addiction Resource does not favor or support any specific recovery center, nor do we claim to ensure the quality, validity, or effectiveness of any particular treatment center. No one should assume the information provided on Addiction Resource as authoritative and should always defer to the advice and care provided by a medical doctor. Research suggests that there is a link between alcohol consumption and anxiety. Anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorder (AUD) often occur together.

does alcohol cause panic attacks

As this is happening, it can affect your central nervous system and cause you to feel jittery or anxious. Additionally, panic attacks can be triggered because of the effect alcohol has on GABA, another brain chemical that normally has a relaxing effect. While everyone may experience anxiousness from time to time, a person who has an anxiety disorder often finds their anxiety doesn’t go away and may actually get worse with, or without provocation.

Causes of a Panic Attack

Studies have also been carried out to support this fact, and according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, at least 7% of Americans have anxiety related to alcohol usage. AUD is a chronic condition that includes a variety of effects on the mind and body. Nowadays, the internet can also offer tools for keeping track of drinking habits, setting goals, and providing relapse-prevention techniques. You’ll soon start receiving the latest Mayo Clinic health information you requested in your inbox. However, you can make lifestyle changes to help you reduce your anxiety as well as learn to cope with it.

  • Some people who experience panic attacks the next day do so because they are in the early stages of withdrawal – these are individuals who have already become physically dependent on alcohol.
  • But panic attacks are hard to manage on your own, and they may get worse without treatment.
  • As the person becomes addicted they develop a tolerance to alcohol – this means that they have to drink more to get the same effect.
  • It can make social situations easier, and problems seem less daunting.

A 2017 study found that, when researchers measured anxiety clinically, levels of anxiety were higher in those with AUD than those without when they faced stress. For anyone prone to anxiety, it can be easy for one drink to turn into more and lead to a growing dependence on alcohol. Panic attacks may come on suddenly and without warning at first, but over time, they’re usually triggered by certain situations. Alcohol-induced anxiety can last for several hours, or even for an entire day after drinking.

Complications Due to Frequent Panic Attacks

He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture. Many people have just one or two panic attacks in their lifetimes, and the problem goes away, perhaps when a stressful situation ends. But if you’ve had recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and spent long periods in constant fear of another attack, you may have a condition called panic disorder.

Every time you drink, alcohol triggers an increase in the production of insulin. This increase can lead to a drop in your blood sugar (glucose) levels, and when this is too low it is known as hypoglycaemia. The symptoms of low blood glucose include trembling, an elevated heart rate, and feeling anxious or in a low mood. Those people who suffer from anxiety and such attacks are often tempted to turn to alcohol as a solution. In the beginning drinking does appear to lessen anxiety, and the individual may also believe that it is preventing their panic attacks. The individual discovers that alcohol is the worst possible solution to their attacks, but by then they may feel unable to stop drinking.

Join our addiction treatment communities

However, if there is a chance that you are physically or psychologically addicted to alcohol then you should not attempt to stop drinking without professional support. AddictionResource aims to present the most accurate, trustworthy, and up-to-date medical content to our readers. Our team does their best for our readers to help them stay informed about vital healthcare decisions. On another note, changes to one’s lifestyle may be enough to deal with or reduce anxiety in some cases – especially mild ones. If a person is worried about alcohol use or anxiety, they can speak to a doctor to find out the best ways to solve these issues. People may also benefit from counseling, which can take the form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy, among others.

  • Ask your doctor if moderate alcohol consumption is suitable for you.
  • However, you may want to cut back completely if alcohol is impacting your mental well-being through regular panic attacks.
  • In fact, drinking can change the chemistry of the brain in a way that actually makes anxiety worse.