However, it’s important to discuss your symptoms with your health care team. There are many effective treatments for anxiety and alcohol use disorders, including ongoing individual therapy, group therapy, prescribed medications, or a combination of these methods. The onset of symptoms related to social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia can be a trigger for some people to develop unhealthy relationships with alcohol. While it may feel like it — you’re not really having a heart attack or life-threatening experience. Some people might experience panic attack symptoms every time they’re in a specific situation, like when they get stuck in an elevator or when speaking in public.
Some people experience panic attacks at work, in public with friends, or even at home. This article includes topics that may be distressing to some readers. In covering panic attacks and panic disorder, we also touch on anxiety, depression, trauma, and suicidal ideation.
Symptoms and Causes
How long you’ll need treatment depends on the severity of the condition and how well you respond to treatment. If you’ve had signs or symptoms of a panic attack, make an appointment with your primary care provider. After an initial evaluation, he or she may refer you to a mental health professional for treatment. If you have panic attack symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible. But panic attacks are hard to manage on your own, and they may get worse without treatment. A panic attack could be described as a sudden onset of overwhelming fear.
“[People] who drink and then get anxious, and then start using the anxiety as an excuse for drinking…you’re beginning to get in trouble in my view,” Koob says. Another proposed theory refers to an expectancy component in people with anxiety who use alcohol. In this situation, a person expects to get relief from their anxiety symptoms when they consume alcohol because of its effect on the central nervous system (CNS). Other researchers have proposed a genetic link influencing a person’s anxiety level and alcohol consumption. These biological theories suggest that there could be a brain mechanism that is responsible for both anxiety symptoms and drinking behaviors. This, in turn, causes you to experience other physical symptoms such as lightheadedness, hyperventilation, tunnel vision, chest pain, and numbness in parts of your body.
Myths About Drinking Alcohol You Should Stop Repeating
These feelings could be about a number of different events or activities (such as work or school performance). The causes of panic disorder are not fully understood, and research is ongoing. AddictionResource aims to present the most accurate, trustworthy, and up-to-date medical content to our readers.
- It can be hard to differentiate the symptoms without the help of a medical professional.
- Anxiety usually manifests as being worried, nervous, or overwhelmed.
- This can be dangerously addictive if you have frequent anxious thoughts.
- Your heart rate will typically slow down as the panic attack and symptoms subside.
- Psychotherapy and mindfulness meditation can help you deal with anxiety.
Some people experience panic attack symptoms just once, but you may also experience them several times or chronically throughout your life. If this is one of the first panic attacks you’ve experienced, the intense symptoms may lead you to feel like you’re losing control or your grasp on reality. Even though chest discomfort is a common panic attack symptom, it’s important can alcohol cause panic attacks to seek medical care if you’ve never had chest pain before. 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. Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, is considered an effective first choice treatment for panic attacks and panic disorder.
How alcohol can cause anxiety and why you shouldn’t treat anxiety with alcohol
Because alcohol affects GABA, an inhibiting neurotransmitter in the brain, it does make a person feel calmer at first. However, when the alcohol wears off, GABA levels decrease, triggering an anxious, exaggerated, and overstimulated state. Drinking is commonly used to numb anxious thoughts, and yet paradoxically alcohol can cause more panic attacks to occur. In fact, if you’re experiencing anxiety, drinking alcohol could be making things worse. The ex-serviceman is one of four Radio 1 listeners we’ve been following throughout 2017 as they deal with the highs and lows of mental health conditions.
One of the first symptoms you might experience when having a panic attack is excessive and uncontrollable trembling, or shaking in your hands and legs. This can feel uncomfortable or even embarrassing if you’re in public, but this symptom usually only lasts for a few minutes and is completely natural. Your heart rate will typically slow down as the panic attack and symptoms subside.