Does Alcohol Cause anxiety?

When a person drinks a large amount of alcohol, they are more likely to experience a severe hangover the next day, especially if this is at the end of a few days of binge drinking.

Under normal circumstances, hangovers are never comfortable. They tend to be caused by dehydration as alcohol can be very dehydrating. But when you are experiencing a severe hangover, all of these symptoms are amplified and can include:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Shanking
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

anxiety is something that can leave you feeling completely drained and sick and it often holds us back from making sensible and safe decisions regarding a situation.

Alcohol is a substance that will dehydrate you and can easily cause your body to panic. When your body is dehydrated, it is more likely to cause you to experience anxiety as it knows something is wrong.

It is quite common to experience anxiety and hyper-vigilance as you are hungover. It is uncomfortable and makes you feel panicked. Still, it is important to remember that even if everything may feel like it’s falling down around you, it isn’t.

You are just overstimulated and may be experiencing a panic attack.


Why is My anxiety Bad During a Hangover?

If you already have anxiety, you may use alcohol as a way to self-medicate it. This could be, for example, to make you more sociable on a night out or at a work gathering.

Either way, alcohol is very good at masking your current mental state with numbness that can amplify any part of yourself. In controlled amounts, this can be okay, but unfortunately, alcohol doesn’t just take away your anxiety.

It is instead almost pressing the snooze button on your body’s anxiety response. And your body is aware that you are not aware as you normally should be.

During a hangover, you are more anxious because the hangover symptoms replicate anxiety and they also make you hyper-aware of everything. Being overstimulated can easily lead to anxiety and worries about behaviour whilst drunk can also be a cause for anxiety. If you are overloaded with too much information, your brain can default to panic.

Hangovers also make your anxiety worse because your body is aware that you were not fully in control for the period of time you were drinking. This can make it force you to take stock to check that you are okay, and this results in further anxiety.


Causes of Panic Attacks

Anyone who has experienced a panic attack will be able to tell you that they are never pleasant. It can have extreme mental and physical symptoms that can leave you in a severe state of distress.

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer as to what causes panic attacks as different people experience them for different reasons. They may also experience slightly different symptoms and not show them to other people.

Here are the most common signs of a panic attack so that you can be on the lookout and make adjustments for yourself to stay safe.

  • Difficulty breathing or fast-paced breathing
  • Shaking
  • Feeling physically ill
  • Crying or close to tears
  • Difficulty in thinking clearly
  • Struggle to speak clearly and without a stutter
  • May act aggressive
  • Aversion to touch
  • Aversion to loud noises
  • Aversion to crowds

Panic attacks and panic attack symptoms are often the results of a person experiencing:

  • Extreme stress
  • A trigger for past trauma
  • Danger
  • Consequences of their actions
  • Exposure to phobias

Some people may not even know what causes their panic attacks or anxiety.

The human mind is very complicated, and the only way most people are able to fully understand what they are doing and why is through therapy. Private rehab is often the best place to receive treatment for anxiety and alcohol disorders – call us on 0800 012 6088 to find out more.


Why Does Alcohol Cause anxiety and Panic Attacks?

Alcohol, in many cases, is heightening your experience of the world. It makes you more sensitive to what is happening around you, which may cause your brain to be caught off guard and force you to experience a panic attack.

While under the influence of alcohol, you are also more likely to take part in dangerous and illegal activities as your impulse control has been lessened. So you may, for example, due to the influence of alcohol, get in a car with a stranger. But alcohol doesn’t shut off your brain; it just slows its processing down. So you realise what you did get out and experience anxiety because of the risk you just put yourself through.

This combination of lack of impulse control and processing time can lead to panic attacks due to alcohol. If you think you have a problem with alcohol and anxiety, you can receive dual diagnosis treatment at rehab.


Getting Help

anxiety can be a difficult condition to live with, especially if your alcohol use is impacting it. Alcohol doesn’t just cause you to experience anxiety. It tends to need to be there already in one form or another.

If you are living with frequent panic attacks and need to learn how to manage your anxiety, please feel free to give us a call on 0800 012 6088. We will be able to help you deal with your anxiety and your alcohol usage, particularly if you think you may have an alcohol addiction.

All you have to do is give us a call at 0800 012 6088 so that you can talk to a member of our team about treatment options for your anxiety.

We know that this may all seem scary and new, but your mental health is not something you can just ignore and hope that it gets better. You need to take back control and put in the work now before your anxiety gets out of control and leads you to dangerous and unhealthy lifestyles.

Contact us for more information today.


  • [1] manage your anxiety - https://www.addictionadvocates.comanxiety-rehab-treatment/