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How Alcohol Can Affect a Person’s Anxiety

anxiety brought on by alcohol might persist for several hours or even the entire day after drinking

Alcohol use and anxiety disorders are frequent co-occurring disorders that can be highly distressing and harm a person’s life. A pre-existing anxiety problem can influence an alcohol use disorder since it can worsen anxiety, cause new anxiety symptoms, or have the opposite effect, as many people use alcohol as an unhealthy coping mechanism.

Key Takeaways

You will learn about alcohol abuse, anxiety symptoms, and how the two disorders frequently co-occur. This article will discuss a few techniques to relieve your symptoms if you have alcohol-induced anxiety or a panic attack.

  • Anxiety is a state in which one worries or fears the future. It can range from mild to severe, influence your thoughts and emotions, and frequently cause physical symptoms such as elevated heart rate, sweating, or trembling.
  • If you are experiencing anxiety, drinking alcohol could be making things worse.
  • Anxiety is treatable, and treatment options can significantly improve your general health and wellness.

Seek professional help from The Haven Detox- New England. Reach us at (844) 933-4145 to learn more about our treatment programs and service charges.

Understanding Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a state in which one feels worried or afraid about the future. This can range from mild to severe, influence your thoughts and emotions, and frequently cause physical symptoms such as elevated heart rate, sweating, or trembling.

Most people experience anxiety occasionally. It’s a normal human reaction that generally goes away once the event has passed, as after a job interview. However, if your anxiety symptoms are persistent, severe, or interfering with your daily life, there are steps you can take and resources available to assist you in managing.

Drinking beer or wine sometimes seems like a helpful way to ease anxiety. This is because alcohol is both a stimulant and a sedative, meaning it can make you feel more energetic, engaged, calm, and relaxed.

Symptoms & Types of Anxiety

Anxiety is a common condition that most individuals face occasionally. In truth, feeling anxious before a stressful scenario or exam is a common (and very human) reaction to apprehensive circumstances or stressors. 

In a perfect world, anxiety often disappears once a distressing circumstance or stressor has been remedied. However, when anxiety symptoms linger, you could experience excessive dread or worry that doesn’t go away and doesn’t always appear to be impacted by demanding outside situations. For instance, anxiety symptoms could exist even in the absence of fear or a stressful situation.

These symptoms could signify that you have an anxiety disorder if they make it difficult for you to carry out your regular activities as a healthy adult. The symptoms of excessive concern and fear are common to many various types of anxiety disorders, albeit they may present differently depending on the person. These are typical examples of anxiety disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Worry and concern over common, everyday things that interfere with your capacity to operate are the key symptoms of this condition. For this diagnosis to be appropriate, the feelings must be present most days and last for at least six months.

Panic Disorder

Characterized by sporadic, unplanned panic attacks, which are crippling, sudden, severe, and life-threatening experiences of anxiety and dread. Some people experience symptoms of a heart attack. Chest pain, breathing problems, feelings of impending doom, heart palpitations, and being out of control are just a few symptoms.

Social Anxiety Disorder (Sad) Previously

A severe dread of social or performance circumstances, such as public speaking, characterizes social phobia and social anxiety disorder (SAD). You can be extremely afraid or anxious that other people will judge your thoughts, feelings, and actions badly.

Understanding Alcohol Use & Abuse

In the United States, alcohol is one of the most used (and abused) substances. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 14.5 million adults aged 12 and older have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), a medical term for alcoholism or alcohol addiction.

In 2019, 85.6% of people found drinking alcohol at some point in their lives, and 25.8% of individuals aged 18 and older reported binge drinking within the previous month (NIAAA).

Alcohol abuse is the unhealthful use of alcohol that negatively affects your life. It entails consuming more alcohol than is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Dietary Guidelines for alcohol, which advises consumers to use alcohol in moderation. This entails a maximum of 2 drinks for men and one for women per day.

The equivalent of a regular drink is 12 ounces of 5% beer, 8 ounces of 7% malt liquor, 5 ounces of 12% wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or hard liquor (such as vodka, gin, rum, or whiskey).

Binge drinking, heavy drinking, and drinking while pregnant are all examples of excessive alcohol consumption (also known as alcohol abuse).

How Alcohol Worsens Anxiety

Alcohol consumption can have several long-term health effects, including mental health difficulties. According to research, alcoholics have a hard time recovering from traumatic experiences. Alcohol abuse’s results, which can alter brain activity, may be to blame for this.

Heavy drinkers may be more likely to acquire an anxiety disorder for a prolonged period of time. However, there is no proof that anxiety will result from moderate drinking.

Another sign of alcohol withdrawal is increased anxiety. The withdrawal symptoms from alcohol can make you feel more anxious if you’ve been drinking heavily for a while and then quit all at once. Among the additional signs of alcohol withdrawal are:

  • Sweating
  • Trembling hands
  • Heart rate above 100 beats per minute
  • Hallucination
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Nausea

Serotonin and other neurotransmitter levels in the brain are altered by alcohol, which can exacerbate anxiety. Once the alcohol wears off, you can feel even more worried.

Anxiety brought on by alcohol might persist for several hours or even the entire day after drinking. It can be risky to use alcohol to treat social anxiety disorder. Approximately 7% of Americans, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), suffer from this type of anxiety.

You could find social circumstances to be intolerable if you have social anxiety. Alcohol use is widespread among those with social anxiety disorder as a coping mechanism for social situations. 

By doing this, one may develop a dependency on alcohol when socializing, which could exacerbate anxiety symptoms.

About 20% of those with a social anxiety disorder also have a drinking problem. In addition to needing alcohol to feel at ease in social situations, other indications of dependence include:

  • An inability to stop drinking
  • Need a drink to get going in the morning
  • Drinking heavily four or more days per week
  • Requiring a drink at every get-together
  • Drinking five or more alcoholic beverages in one day 

Alcohol and Anxiety – Treatment Options  

There are several treatments available to cure anxiety disorder as well as alcohol use disorder. Let’s see how they can help you to live a healthy and stress-free life.


Psychotherapy, known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), has been proven to be successful in treating both anxiety and depression. CBT works by assisting you in altering your attitudes, actions, and feelings toward anxiety. Anxiety disorders can be treated with medication and psychotherapy, particularly CBT.


There are long-acting and short-acting drugs for anxiety, including benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). To treat anxiety, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently coupled with therapy.

Residential treatment

Inpatient anxiety treatment is often the best treatment for someone with a co-occurring addiction. Clients have access to round-the-clock support in a secure sober environment. The inpatient program helps people begin addiction recovery while receiving ongoing support for their anxiety disorder symptoms.

Smart Recovery

Smart Recovery is a support network for anyone struggling with various addictions. Members have access to digital tools like a 24/7 chat room, message board, and daily online meetings, in addition to taking part in face-to-face meetings anywhere in the world.

This support group equips you with the skills you need to live a balanced life while teaching you how to conquer your alcoholism.

Healthy Ways to Cope with Anxiety

Using healthy coping strategies to manage your anxiety can be helpful. Here are some healthy ways to eliminate pessimistic and low energy levels.

Utilize Meditation

During meditation, you focus on deep, controlled breathing, which can help regulate your heart rate and focus your thoughts. You might also couple medication with aromatherapy or calming music. Exercise yoga and other forms of physical exercise can help with anxiety symptoms. Breathing exercises you do in yoga are also a great way to help your body and mind calm down.

Write a journal

Writing about your thoughts and feelings is a great way to gain more control over them. Journaling works even better when combined with behavioral therapy like CBT.

Relax Under a Weighted Blanket

Sitting under a particular, heavy blanket may help lower anxiety and promote relaxation.

Use Essential Oils 

Inhaling the aroma from certain essential oils, like lavender and orange peel, may help with anxiety.

Sip Some Chamomile Tea

Researchers claim taking chamomile tea regularly may help to lower tension and anxiety. Along with these relaxing activities, follow any therapies your healthcare professional advises, and don’t be afraid to discuss any concerns with them.

Get Some Sleep

If you have difficulty sleeping, try taking a shower, putting on some relaxing music, or diffusing some essential oil for aromatherapy. Make your sleeping environment comfortable so you can relax, even if you can’t sleep.

Suppose you and your family are experiencing mental health issues and seeking help. In that case, you can seek help from The Haven Detox – New England. The Haven Detox New England has been one of the top ten best medical assistant providers in the US.

We offer treatment services no matter its substance abuse disorder or mental health difficulties. We are ready to help you out. We provide several treatment programs according to your specific needs at prices our clients can afford. 

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Can drinking alcohol cause anxiety?

Alcohol is a depressant. It can temporarily help you feel less restrained since it slows down your brain and central nervous system operations. You might feel more at ease in the short term, but these effects disappear fast.Drinking alcohol while you are anxious can make matters worse. Suppose you consistently consume large amounts of alcohol. In that case, your central nervous system will eventually grow accustomed to the depressant effects of alcohol, making you more susceptible to brain damage if your blood alcohol level unexpectedly lowers. 
As the alcohol exits your system, you may immediately enter “fight or flight mode,” a response similar to an anxiety disorder.

How do you calm down from alcohol anxiety?

People frequently feel guilty or ashamed of their drinking after a night. It becomes challenging to focus, sleep, or unwind due to these feelings, which also increase anxiety and distress. Fortunately, anxiety brought on by a hangover often subsides within 10 to 14 hours and is relatively transient. The following advice will assist you in controlling your alcohol anxiety.
Manage physical symptoms. The mind-body connection likely plays a significant role in anxiety. 
Go for relaxing activities with your loved ones
Take a deep breath and then another. Deep, slow breathing can help you relax and slow a racing or pounding heart
Try mindfulness meditation
Put the night into perspective

How long does anxiety last after drinking?

Anxiety levels can rise as a result of heavy and prolonged alcohol consumption. If you’re receiving treatment for anxiety, drinking alcohol can have detrimental effects. Although drinking alcohol could seem like a beautiful way to reduce tension, you might cause more harm than good.Everyone experiences anxiety differently. As a rough guideline, most symptoms will last no more than 24 hours. Beyond this, symptoms of anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal can linger for days, sometimes weeks.

Get Reliable Help from The Haven Detox-New England

If your anxiety persists or you need to drink more alcohol to cope, consider talking with a therapist or healthcare professional. At The Haven New England, we can help you find relief from anxiety symptoms that are mild, severe, and even debilitating. 

We offer treatment services for addiction to mental health problems laced with a wide range of programs, such as medical detox treatment program and residential treatment program, to help people get back to life.

You can approach the world with a newfound optimism and return to enjoying daily life. Reach a counselor to discuss your query and get the best medical assistance you need.

Call us at (844) 933-4145 to learn more about our treatment programs and services charges. Our admissions counselors are available around the clock to answer all your questions.