Why Alcohol Causes Anxiety

There are basically 6 reasons why alcohol consumption and hangovers make many people anxious and I’m going tell you what they are. I want to share this with you so that you can be more informed and avoid becoming alcohol’s punching bag.

Ever since I became sick with nervous illness I’ve heard a lot of people say that anxiety sufferers should not drink alcohol because it makes you more nervous than you already are.

I’ve always found this to be ironic because there are so many anxiety sufferers that drink alcohol to cope with their anxiety, but true it is.

Now, the fact that alcohol can cause anxiety is just that, a fact. It is a scientifically based understanding, so this is not simple conjecture on my part.

Will alcohol affect all people this way? Probably not, but as an anxiety sufferer you should be aware of the possible pitfalls of alcohol consumption, so pay close attention.

Scientists believe that alcohol causes or at least increases anxiety in  6 basic ways and here they are.

1. Mood

Alcohol can affect our mood because it can affect the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a feel good brain chemical that when in short supply can cause feelings of anxiety and depression.

2. Drop in blood sugar

A drop in blood sugar can cause dizziness, confusion, weakness, nervousness, shaking and numbness. These symptoms can most certainly trigger a bout of anxiety.

3. Dehydration

This has been known to cause nausea, dizziness, fatigue, light-headedness and muscle weakness. These symptoms wouldn’t cause anxiety per say but they add to a sense of illness which fosters anxiety.

4. Nervous System

The nervous system is affected because in order for the body to fight off the sedative effects of alcohol it puts the body into a state of hyperactivity in order to counteract this effect. This hyperactivity can lead to shaking, light/sound sensitivity and sleep deprivation.

5. Heart Rate

Your heart rate can become elevated as a result of consuming alcohol which can cause a palpitation false alarm and put you into a state of anxious anticipation. Is it a heart attack or isn’t it you might ask. This “what if” questioning can increase your general state of anxiety.

6. Concentration

A hard night of drinking can also make you hazy, bring on headaches and create a sense of disorientation.

So if you’re going to have a glass of wine with dinner I don’t think you should be concerned. On the other hand, if you’re a heavy drinker, or binge drinker, then this might cause a real problem for you.

According to The Times Online, scientists don’t know exactly why all this happens but they do suggest that you eat before drinking, drink water in between drinks, and stay in bed if you are hung over to avoid all the problems I outlined above.

Some would say that maybe you shouldn’t drink at all if you have an anxiety disorder – that’s debatable. Do you think that alcohol should be avoided at all cost when someone has an anxiety disorder?

I don’t think that alcohol should be avoided if drinking is part of your social repertoire, however, I also know that moderation and good sense should be your guide.

In addition, although alcohol does have a sedative effect it should not be used as a coping tool. This type of behavior can lead to alcoholism and worse yet, more anxiety.

So if you know that you’re a light weight, or if you already know that alcohol makes you anxious, don’t bother. Maybe I don’t need to say it, but really some people just don’t know when to say no.

Note: I want to hear your opinions. Let me know what you think about this issue – comment below.


After waiting forever I finally completed a podcast for this article. Press play to listen now.

anxiety symptoms


  1. whatstheword says

    My anxiety after drinking is not fair. Scientists need to get on it! Im 20 an have binge drank for about 6 years now (i know i started young) and so have my friends, But nobody gets a hungover as me. I cant even walk down my stairs right now. I was crying earlier because it was so bad. One time i stayed up for two days after and started crying to my mom because i was scared i was going to die in my sleep if i fell asleep. Im all spaced out and i don’t dare go out in public. The aftermath of my hangovers suck i cant talk to people for weeks after without feeling like im a retard. I know of one other guy that suffer’s from this too but not as bad. There has got to be a cure because i’d kill to have just a normal hangover, I WISH my hangovers only consisted of feeling like i was going to vomit. I know “i should stop drinking im still young ” yada yada yada. But honestly i drink twice a month. Binge drinking 60’s every summer night in 2010 has royally fucked me for life. I now have permanent anxiety and currently cant walk down my stairs. I feel like im sketching out on cocaine or something. There has got to be something different with us than other drinkers. Maybe we all have minor Parkinson disease or something or a defficiancy of something. IDONTKNOW. But i really wish i dident suffer from this. SUCKS

  2. Ashley says

    Hopefully some of you are still on here. I drank a lot last night & have had really bad anxiety all day today & that is how I ended up here, seeking help dealing with this.
    I recently turned 21 but have been a binge drinker for 5 years. My boyfriend & his older friends have introduced me to the bar scene & I have been going extremely over board drinking. The anxiety after drinking started about a year & a half ago, but I’m young & I thought there’s nothing more annoying than a sober person in a group of drunks so I didn’t want to be the one.
    I’m not a social person; I feel awkward & uncomfortable trying to go out & be social, I have become dependent on alcohol to get over those feelings & it worked for awhile, but now I am getting too comfortable & I honestly feel I have become ‘the drunk girl at the bar’. I’ll start conversations with people that are acquaintances & I’ll tell them things that I would never say to them sober.
    Recently I am drinking to the point that I black out & I have no idea what I did at the end of the night or how I get home (I never drive, but I’ve been driven home by people who were heavily drinking). The things people tell me I did I truly can’t believe, but I don’t doubt them. Everyone laughs & says it was just a drunken night but I don’t see it as that; I feel like such an idiot & that everyone thinks I’m stupid, as they should considering how dumb my drunken choices are.
    I wake up the next day already feeling anxious because I know I was too drunk the night before & I usually stay home & don’t talk to anyone (besides co-workers, who have no idea I drink as much as I do) until a week or two later when I assume nobody cares about my previous drunkenness & do the same thing over again.
    My boyfriend is disappointed that I make bad decisions & he reminds me of everything I have done wrong while drinking. It’s bad that I can’t even talk about a night out because I know it wasn’t fun for him babysitting me. I immediately feel guilty/anxious when he brings up a night that was supposed to be fun with his friends.

    I read some other posts about how it’s just a cycle: drink, anxiety, anxiety goes away or isn’t as bad anymore, repeat. I can’t keep doing this & need to stop making a fool out of myself. Even when the anxiety finally stops, I’ll think about something I did while drinking & it comes right back. I cause my own stress & anxiety from something that has nothing beneficial to offer me personally.
    I’m going to start working on myself starting this week because I really don’t like the person that I have turned into.

    Thanks to who ever sees this & took the time to read my story. I hope you can work out whatever it is you are going through. It helps me to know nothing that happens in life is permanent; time passes, you change, you move on.
    Also, thank you for creating this blog and community. I am one of those people who will read a blog & other people’s comments but I never write anything. This is actually my first time writing anything as part of an online community (sorry for being so lengthy, I’m a newb), so if there are any other people like that reading this, I want to let you know it is a good feeling getting this off my chest & knowing someoneheard me out when I’ve never felt so alone.

  3. says

    Ashley, Thanks for taking the time to share your story.
    I know it’s not easy to sit down and go over personal struggles. The good news is that you seem very aware about what’s going on and I hope that means you have some idea about what you might do to change this situation around. Wish you all the best.

    Paul Dooley

  4. Bc says

    Yeah this happens to me now. I’m 30 years old and it never used to happen in my early 20’s

    I absolutely hate it. I find that rehydrating myself by drinking several tall glasses of water and a big bottle of Gatorade calms me down after a few hours. If you’re sleep deprived in this state of anxiety you need to take a nap for a few hours. It’s tough to actually get to sleep when you’re experiencing this anxiety but you need to put on some music that will calm your nerves and then take a nap for 3-4 hours.

    I notice for me it is worse the next day when I drink hard liquor the night before. Considerdrinkimg beer instead and drink in moderation don’t
    get completely wasted!

  5. Bc says

    Yes you are not alone. I describe it as having a feeling of “impending doom” where your heart and mind is going a million miles an hour and you have this constant thought of something bad happening such as having a heart attack at any moment and feeling dizzy almost to the point of thinking you’re going to pass out. I lose my appetite too usually and if you’re sleep deprived it seems to be twice as bad! What I do is get a huge bottle of gatorade and also lots of water and drink those for an hour straight. If you’re sleep deprived you need to put music on that will calm you down and then lay down and take a nap. That isn’t easy to do during these anxiety attacks but you have to do all of the above and keep reassuring yourself that the feelings of anxiety will pass. Imagine yourself in a state of being that is opposite of the anxiety. Lay off the hard liquor too. It seems to be worse with that versus when drinking beers. Anyway, hope that helps someone reading this. Glad to hear others experiences with this.

  6. Mac says

    Hi, I suffer from The Fear terribly when I drink and I’ve just gotten over a particularly bad one which is why Im googling it. I know its all down to alcohol. Im not a huge fan of drink in the first place, im a dad and a teacher so both these things don’t lend themselves to a drinker’s lifestyle. I can easily go 10 weeks without drinking and not miss it. But I am a human and I have friends and I occassionally feel I should go out ask they remember who I am. So once every couple of months I’ll have a heavy session and gave a great time. But for days after I’ll feel paranoid, depressed but above all, absolutely excrutiating anxiety. Chest pains, paranoia, guilt, restlessness, snapping at people, dreadful insomnia. I got drunk last Friday and it was Wednesday before i could safely say i felt okay again. I don’t want to see people, i mull over what i said or did, convince myself nobody likes me or that I’ve upset someone and that they’re after me, all this despite my mates saying it was fine and that i had a great night. At school i fear that the kids and other teachers know. This is all utterly irrational paranoia but im sure other people who get this understand that its completely uncontrollable and you can’t just snap out of it. Anyway ill not be drinking again anytime soon. Im quite an anxious and stressed person anyway so its clearly just the alcohol magnifying these feelings. Im not an alcoholic, i dont deny that the alcohol is the cause in some self-convincing act to deny that i shouldn’t drink. It IS the alcohol and all the denying in the world won’t change that. If it makes you feel the way it makes me, don’t drink at all.

  7. Bridget says

    I’m 43 ~ over the last 1-2 years I began noticing intense anxiety after drinking and a feeling of “blah” or mild depression the following day. I’m not an alcoholic (though it runs rampant in my family) and only rarely have enough drinks to put me in a “happy” state but I will wake up a few hours after going to bed and the silliest things will put me into an extremely stressed state. I’ve made the mistake of thinking about finances, work, family etc…during these episodes and that sends me into bouts of burning flushing of the face shaking, confusion and crying. It is definitely a feeling of impending “doom”. Last night, I drank 3 very small glasses of wine and I was up for hours in the night worrying about a stupid potted tree in our yard and wondering if I had watered it enough for it to survive the winter and whether or not I spent too much on Christmas, etc. I ended up in the bathroom with dry heaves. Because of these types of episodes, I had already backed off on social drinking – even having a glass of wine with my husband. The horrible feeling is so not worth any possible health benefits of red wine. lol. After last night, I’ve decided to call it quits. The “morning afters” as we have come to call them….have taken their toll.

  8. JC3 says

    This blog fully just saved me from an ER visit. I have had anxiety all my life. 27 year old male now I turned to booze fast at a young age. Now having the worst anxiety of my life I did the time line. 21, two to four beers a night = no anxiety. Now that has turned into 8-10 beers a night and all of the sudden worst anxiety of my life the next and following days unless I drink again. I will have stints of sobriety the longest 222days still not feeling normal but much better than I do now. Its a slippery slope as they say. Bottom line for me, alcohol in moderation,exercise and healthy eating takes care of the anxiety. I always try to explain to my friends how I feel crazy and no one gets it. I am very glad to have stumbled across this site.

  9. Artois Cinquante Deux says

    I found it to be a vicious circle; I drank to beat the anxiety and then found that I became more anxious, once the alcohol wore off. I’m sure that others have experienced this too, as time goes by, you need more and more alcohol to have the same effect. Eventually, I was forced to quit drinking through hospitalization for mental health issues. Thank God, the anxiety attacks are now few and far between.


  10. RBrown33 says

    I’m so glad that I came across this article because I understand the physiological root of a problem that I am having. I have Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I have taken anti-depressants and Xanax and have been in Therapy for treatment of these issues. I have been doing SO great and was able to get off of the anti-depressants and I only take the Xanax as needed. I went FIVE days without a panic attack this past week and have felt great…until the weekend. I drank alcohol socially with a group of friends and the next morning my panic attacks were back and I experienced sleep paralysis for the first time (SCARY). Now I know that if I want to be on the track of no future panic attacks I need to not drink any alcohol..ever! Thanks again!

  11. Pat says

    Bridget- I cannot tell you how many times this has happened to me in the past. I’m 46 and never really had a problem with insomnia or anxiety after drinking until about 5 years ago. Now, even 1 glass of wine will cause many hours of sleeplessness and worrying over trivial matters. It’s ironic because I still fall asleep quickly after drinking, but wake up around 1 am and do not get to sleep until shortly before the alarm rings. At this point, I am incredibly tired and lethargic. The rest of the day I spend in a mildly depressive “fog”. I am beginning to think that even “moderate drinking”, when done long term, is not healthy and, like you, I am seriously considering avoiding alcohol all together. Good luck to you.
    BTW-Your story about the potted tree made me laugh.

  12. rob p says

    iam 32, I’ve been a right idiot with alcohol since my teens, also years back the drugs, as teenagers did! I’ve had anxiety for over 10
    years. I started on all the meds, but the only thing I have nowadays is maybe half a propanolol when I need. I’ve always been a heavy drinker, especially at the weekends. I’ve had many sundays letting my 2 boys down due to alcohol. I know I’ll feel anxious, when I do I cough alot, racing thoughts, check my pulse, i think of ways people could here me incase i faint or have a heart attack. The thing is i never have!! I had an awful one driving home from work afew weeks back, i pulled over, shaking, chewing on things to try and calm down, i got worked up with the radio being on, even turned my phone off! After a beater booker i calmed down after 15 minutes, iam just sick of always needing to leave conversations etc to try and calm down. I do believe its all alcohol related. But when i do drink i feel no anxiety, only the next few days afterwards. Also i stopped for 6 days the other week, only mild anxiety the first 5, then bang a panic attack on day 6! My mind and body carnt win, Ian affraid this is me for life, i suffer heartburn and stomach ache and all i think of is cancer* why carnt i just think normal and live a happy life with my girlfriend and kids? Thanks

  13. chub says

    hi I am 54 and I my early years and up till I was 39 was a big drinker then I had my first real big panic attack and thought I was going to dye after that it was endless test and finial end with having anxiety which lead me to cutting down my drinking now to every little because now when I drink even a few little beers I become irritable and have anxiety to the stag of panic about losing control and a felling of being depressted because of it

  14. c03 says

    I have absolutely everything that’s been written here.I’m also a binge drinker.the effects the next day are terrible sometimes almost unbearable.especially when you trying to sleep so you can wake up a little better and you just cant.you have to wait until it’s late at night until u can sleep it’s so frustrating.im glad i found this site i thought i was going to go crazy.the anxiety gets so intense sometimes i lock myself in my room and just try to sleep or calm down.my friends almost know automatically that if i was drinkin the day before the day after i won’t be cool.guys it’s a nightmare.

  15. Jason says

    I had like 5G saved up, went to school, had a job, i was drunk the whole time. OFc the alcohol made me quit both of these from anxiety panic attacks and now im stuck with nothing. Years go by, im drinking non stop for years now and my money near 0. I foresaw this like 5 year ago happening. Slowly loseing friends, slowly losing money, i foresaw this i new this would happen and i kept spending money on alcohol like its a game knowing it would worsen the problem. Once my moneys gone some serious serious anxiety breakout is gonna happen, i got no help from anybody im basically in the dark/alone. I went crazy at one point becuase i stayed up for 2 days from a hangover where i was hearing noses so paranoid and grabbed my gun ready to shoot somebody becuase i felt people were after me it was unreal like a movie…. Only thing i feel can save serious anxiety is the meds the doctors have but they cost ton of money and my pride wont let me expoze my problem to my family, im the type that would rather die then expoze a weakness, its a pride thing that i will die over its stupid but it is what it is i guess. U guys got it eazy compaired to my anxiety problems.

  16. says


    Well good old anxiety and google led me here, my names is Robert 32 and I’m from Scotland.

    I do suffer from anxiety and it has evolved over the years, I can remember having it from as early as 12 and getting mis-treated for asthma as I found mylef unable to breath at times.

    As I said it’s evolved, in my twenties I had thoughts of impending doom and thoughts of death and years of dying and what happens when we die etc etc etc, it was horrible horrible I can still go to that dark place but not so much now.

    Currently I am 32 and it’s took a new form, I have racing thoughts and moments of flight where I just need to leave the room, work, anywhere it seems to happen, I have not long completed a year of CBT (therapy) and that finished About 5 months ago, it helped me cope with some issues in my life and some stupid things I do (weight) and self esteem where a huge factor. But I lost 3 stone with cbt and got to a decent weight 14 stone. (6ft1inch) and also developed relations that I sadly lost through my life due to anxiety and irrational thinking.

    Anyway here I am now and feel embarrassed to go back to CBT as I have put all my weight back on and feel terrible to say the least, recently I have been drinking far far too much. When I get in from work I found myslef having 3/4 vodkas a night and a hell of a lot more at weekends just to cope with my emotions and coupled with this eating terribly.

    Now the reason for the above (I think) is starting a new career in a few weeks which it is terrifying for me, and the biggest factor my dog had been not well for the last 3 months and we had to put the big guy to sleep last Friday and we are in bits, I’m lost without him.

    Now yesterday I was trying to keep busy and was drinking also and I got and the only way I can describe it is my heart stopped or skipped a beat and it terryfied me, heightened anxiety ensued and I tried to calm my self down with a nice walk, as I was walking I was in tears as no idea why and eventually got home and by this time it was 9pm and decided to to to bed and try and sleep, so again this didn’t happen and I got more palpitations and feelings of as if I was talking a heart attack and tried to ride it out to no avail, physically shaking and hot and cold flushes were constant and by his point it was 2am and in started work in 6 hours, I was physically and mentally exhausted and my wife was worried sick (don’t know what I would do without her support)

    So to recap alcohol from this day god help is stopping except for special occasions as I feel this is a massive factor in what I am feeling right now, when I did CBT before I didn’t drink for 3 months and as I finished my course I felt like a new man and this is the vision I’m trying to use to keep calm and ride this nightmare out.

    Also I found fizzy soda or juice didn’t help me either and had to cut that out my diet.

    Thanks for reading and hope it makes sense, and know this you are not alone :)

  17. says

    I’m in the same boat along with all you that have posted here. I avoided church yesterday because I drank vodka on Saturday and was so anxious I couldn’t even shower yesterday! I go periods of time with no drinking and it’s like my body and mind craves it then I can’t stop until I’m passing out and then the anxiety and depression is horrible the next couple of days.

  18. Karaen says

    I changed my eating habits about 3 years ago so I could be healthy and it worked. I went off my antidepressant/antianxiety medications. I felt so so good. Then about 6 months ago I was out with some friends and decided that one drink wouldn’t hurt – I had a glass of wine and all was fine the next day. So one evening at a bar I had 2 shots of tequila. BIG mistake. Not only did it affect me 10X worse than it had in the past, but I couldn’t sleep that night and the next day I was tired and extremely anxious. After a few months of this now, I am convinced that the hard liquor – tequila – is what’s causing my problems. I am going to stop it now. No more. I will still have ONE glass of wine occasionally, but that is all. Thanks for listening.

  19. Ess says

    Just came back from a 5 day Festival after drinking vodka each night to fit in and feel fun like everyone else (even though they all seemed to need coke). Found myself socially paralysed during the day from the alchohol come down, tiredness and being out of my comfort zone, along with raging heartburn from the vodka – ouch! Home now, back to reality, but like you’ve posted above, with a ‘sense of impending doom’, a weird restlessness, like i dont know what to do next, eat? sleep? hot bath? It’s made me question alot, but just want to say thanks for this blog because i needed a friend just now and found this…going back to bed now….

  20. sobernow says

    im 31, drank daily for 7 years (literally) and then for 3 more years weekend only binge drinking

    I had a panic attack and trip to ER after a full day of heaving drinking, after that anxiety has lingered.

    Ive drank a few more times since that last time but the hangovers, like others have described are absolutely the worst. Feel incredible anxiety, shakiness, dizzy, cant even get out of bed, to the point that I want to go to the doctor or ER. I will take about 2 days to recover from this, unless I drink again.

    Drinking is a poison unfortunately, and I feel my body rejects the alcohol, so I stopped drinking. Havent drank in about 6 months and I don’t miss it at all, enjoy waking up early, exercising etc. I still get anxiety, I have recentlyt ordered some “L-Theanine” natural pills which is supposed to help with anxiety but haven’t tried them yet.

    For those with anxiety if you haven’t tried them I would suggest looking them up and the science behind it. I figure it will take a few days or a week even of regularly taking them before they start working properly.

    I kick myself every day for being so stupid and drinking in the past, so much time wasted, I was a true victim of alcoholism. Aside from that, my wife has about a month that she left me and im not sure if shes coming back, so Ive been heartbroken all this time too.

    Love and peace to everyone, think about it like this, if it takes a good 1-2 full days to recover from 3-4 hours of drinking, is it really worth it? I think not, the tradeoff makes it too easy to decide.

  21. Jessy says

    I am glad to have found this blog. This past year I have began having really bad anxiety after I have been out drinking heavily. It is so bad I feel like I am going to die which causes it to get even worse. The extreme panic is unbearable! It is nice to know there are other people who know what I am going through. I am choosing to quit drinking because of it so I am looking for support from people who understand.

  22. S says

    I never post or comment on anything I read online…but I just had to comment because all of this time I felt I was ‘going crazy’ with my anxiety issues but I see that many people experience the exact same things as I do after drinking. I used to be able to drink tons at 21-26 with a minimal hangover and ZERO anxiety but recently (I’m now 28) after a night of drinking I have insomnia for days, feelings of impending doom, and my irrational fears have become worse. I already seem to have developed a generalized anxiety from day to day but after drinking its 10000x worse. I am considering stopping drinking altogether but it is difficult as sometimes I simply crave a glass of wine after work as well as the social aspect of it…outings with friends…vegas trips etc. I guess I just wanted to say, that it’s nice to feel like I am not alone…good luck guys

  23. Maxim says

    Hello everyone. I hope most of the authors here have been able to regain their level of peace and mental clarity. Unfortunately, that is not my case. I went through a very emotional night of heavy drinking, and I am now paying the price. I feel as though I’m on a crazy horse riding towards the burning stable- my anxiety is jacked! My mind is running wild, and this sense of an unknown fear is keeping me from falling asleep. Every time I am falling asleep, I feel a “subsequent of shock fear”, which jolts me back awake. This is the most terrible hangover. I am now going to try and drink some tea with chamomile, and hope to calm down. Good luck to anyone else going through this madness. I feel a bit better after having read a few similar comments.

  24. Melinda says

    I found this article to be extremely helpful and absolutely refreshing. I always knew that alcohol had a poor affect on me physically and emotionally but always felt alone. I see many people drinking and enjoying alcohol and never understood why I couldn’t be the same way. As an extremely anxious individual I found myself using alcohol to push through social anxiety but found that many of my fears that I have been battling for years were created in hangovers, so I can totally see the irony in these findings. For an example, I still to this day have problems driving on highways after I had an experience where I thought I was tipping a large truck because I was hungover and had a sort of vertigo sensation. To this day that sensation comes back when driving on the highway. This is just one example of a fear that was derived from drinking. Actually to think of it my first ever panic attack was after a night of drinking intensely. After the panic persisted I would drink alcohol while on medication for anxiety which I found the warnings on my medication were actually correct and anxiety medication shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol!!!! I don’t disagree with drinking but I know from my experience of dealing with anxiety that I can only handle one drink once and a while. It’s nice to know that I am not alone in feeling that way!!!

  25. Keith says

    If I have one beer I get depressed the next day. More than one beer and the anxiety and doom and gloom are horrible. I stopped drinking for a year and felt so much better. Then I thought I’d be ok. Boy was I wrong. Sometimes I think its an allergy to alcohol and the low blood sugar. No more alcohol for me. Ever. Not worth it. I can sip water when I’m out with friends.

  26. Steve says

    I normally always get chest pains after a heavy nights drinking. I am fully aware it is my body just returning to normal after essentially being poisoned. The hangover induces an anxious state and the anxiety causes chest pains. I’m assuming this has something to do with a chemical brain imbalance brought about by lack of eloctrolytes and water. The best solution I came up with was to just drink one can of lager and one litre of fresh orange juice and everything is fine again. You could end up on a slippery slope inyo alcoholism however if you can’t control your drinking. This for me however works as an instant solution and then I’ll probably not drink again until the following weekend. Hope this helps.

  27. jewels says

    Hey everyone, I feel your pain, im 24 years old, I’ve been a heavy drinker since the age of 16. Until about 2 years ago I had regular hangovers until one day after a very heavy night of drinking I had an major anxiety attack, worst feeling I’ve ever experienced hard to explain but it felt like my brain was telling me to scream…. I had no control over my thoughts or emotions felt like I was possessed. Sounds fucked but yea. They were re occurring for about 2 month, I finally went to my doctor and found out my B12 levels were seriously low from drinking, this causes a drop in red blood cell production, and neurological effects, which explains the feeling of a heart attack from heart having to work so much harder to get red blood cells to your brain, and crazy fucked up thoughts because you neurons are miss firing, like getting your wires crossed.

    They put me on B12 injections for 6 months finally felt normal again! I still have some minor attacks but I cary 1000 mcg B12 strips on me just in case and they relieve the anxiety within minutes.

    Eat well, exercise, drink lots of water definitely helps, and probably the last thing your thinking of when your feeling that rough but sex, it releases dopamine and will! Make you feel better.

    Hope this helped, don’t wait for a cure, find a cure, everyone is different get to know your body.


  28. Carla says

    So I was on here last night in hopes to find some sort of home remedy to ease my anxiety, but what I found was reading through the comments was actually making it worse.
    I normally go out one night on the weekend (to drink) and I know the next day I’m going to regret it bcuz the anxiety I feel almost isn’t worth it, yet I keep doing it

  29. Dan says

    I came across this article trying to figure out why I did not get an episode of hangover anxiety today after an evening of drinking. I like to think I’ve found a small solution, hope my steps help others.

    First, I was very much a heavy drinker during my early 20s. I am now 26 and did not suffer from bad anxiety up until a few months ago when I had a panic attack after a full day of drinking and smoking weed (yes I think the weed had something to do with it, but mostly the alcohol). Went to the ER….

    Nothing was wrong with me. Heart checked out, everything ok. 2 factors, one with my body and the other with my mind. The major factor seemed to be DEHYDRATION. Dehydration means you are lacking essential fluids and that nasty feeling in your stomach just makes things worse. Your mind starts playing games with you, making you think a simple stomach ache is a much bigger problem when it’s not.

    You need to accept…….

  30. Dan says

    (Cont from previous comment)……you need to accept that half the battle with anxiety is that voice I’m your head.

    Here are something’s that help me…

    –Pre drinking steps:

    Exercise. Even 20 min a couple times a week helps build your immune system and nervous system.

    Stay busy and try to stay positive. Helps your mental state.

    –If I’m drinking:

    Water, vitamin water, orange juice–make sure to drink these. Water in between beers. Vitamin water before and /or after drinking. Orange juice before going to bed. All these help you wake up feeling better without being dehydrated and with dyahrea…..symptoms, I want to avoid because of what they lead my mind to thinking……I don’t worry if I don’t drink ALL these…water works great…have plenty

    Also I try to avoid mix drinking too much. Too many shots are always not good. Beer takes longer to consume and it has less alcohol…stick with that.

    Have a good meal before drinking or before going to bed as well.

    –When I do wake up feeling bad:

    I sometimes go over board or don’t drink enough water when I was drinking. When I do start feeling bad, I first take PEPTO BISMOL because I know dehydration is a #1 factor for hangovers. Pepto bismol helps ease the stomach and helps your body with fluids.

    I drink water, Gatorade, vitamin water.

    I need to be distracted from my hangover and thoughts so I play music, video games on my phone or home console or work on projects, anything to keep me from listening to the voice in my head giving me a false sense of danger (because nothing is wrong).

    Cutting it short…but hope this helps others…..

  31. Heretohelp says

    Just found this site out of curiosity because post drinking anxiety/panic was was something I suffered from for years in my 20’s and early 30’s. Assuming you’re reading this because you’re not going to cut back to 1-2 drinks when you drink, this is what got me over the anxiety/panic:

    Exercise. When I woke up with a hangover, feeling anxious and/or if I moved to full blown panic, simply get outside and go running. There is no way you can have a panic attack or continue to panic on a 2-3 mile run.

    If you can’t run, walk for 30 minutes. The benefits kick in immediately and in my experience are lasting. You’ll continue to feel great all day. Additionally you’ll find that once you have a pre-planned solution to anxiety ready to execute, you wind up getting less anxious to begin with… probably because anxiety is mental, and if you know you have a solution, you’ve won half the battle.

    I still drink, sometimes heavily and haven’t had an issue in over a decade. If I ever feel like I might, I just hit the road.

    This works. No joke.

  32. Brandon says

    I am a 35 year old almost 36. I’ve been drinking since I was 17 years old. I am a heavy drinker at times. 6-18 drinks in one night. I never had anxiety/panic attacks I did have a lot of hangovers in my life that made me feel like shit and sometimes my heart would pump a bit fast but nothing too major. I would just think its my body getting over the hangover. Once I turned 36 something crazy changed.

    Every time I drank the next day I would feel tired upon awakening then I would be out of it in the morning trying to get through the morning. I would have a higher heart rate and high blood pressure. Once noon came around I would feel better, but once I ate lunch my heart rate would go back up and then I would feel dizzy and like I was in a dream state.

    Then about mid year things started changing drastically. I started waking up and puking, not from being hung over because I would only have 2-3 drinks even, and I would vomit once in the morning. Then all day long I felt like I was in a dream nothing seemed right. I felt light headed all day and felt like I was going to pass out. Then one day same thing and I ate lunch my heart was pumping so hard I felt like it was going to explode! Then I felt like I was going to pass out. I was rushed to the ER they said my EKG was crazy and my heart rate was very high. They said I was having a panic attack or anxiety attack. I was like, “isn’t that for crazy people?” I never knew what they were! My job was great, good friends, good income, no bills and I had no worries.

    I didn’t understand why I was having any anxiety or panic attacks. They gave my a Xanax and my heart just settled down within minutes. It was very strange to me. Well I started eating right and excercising and the feeling of being in a dream state stopped. This ordeal lasted for about 6weeks of feeling like in a dream state every day, even when I wasn’t drinking. I thought I had a heart condition or gluten sensitivity or even cancer!

    Once I started excercising and eating right the symptoms disappeared. Then I tried to go back to drinking because my social life was suffering!!! Well my hangovers were like they used to be I didn’t really have any panic attacks, though I noticed I would always have anxiety the next day after drinking starting around 4 pm to 7 pm. It was always strange my anxiety and panic type of attacks always started between these times.

    Then I started taking Nyquil at about 3:00 p.m. so the anxiety wouldn’t even come on. Nyquil would knock me out and I would sleep through the time between 4pm and 7pm and feel great the following day. But this sucked too because my Saturday was wasted trying to control my panic and anxiety attacks! They truly suck ass!!!

    Well last weekend I drank half a bottle of Makers Mark and a few beers and I was vomiting from actually being hungover for the first time in years, I was truly hangover sick because of over drinking. Then at about 7:00 p.m. my heart starting pumping crazy again like the day when I went to the ER and I felt like I was going to pass out! I had taken Nyquil at 6 pm and so now I felt tired with a pounding heart! Then I took a Ativan (Xanax) pill and my heart calmed down within 10-15 minutes and then I was abble to fall a sleep and I felt normal again the next day.

    What I don’t understand is why when I drink heavily or even a little that I start having heavy heart pounding the next day in the afternoon and a feeling of daziness and dream state? EVERYTIME always the next day between 4pm and 7pm. I hate it! None of my other friends have this issue at all and some of them are in their 50’s. I hate the feeling and it really doesn’t make sense. I don’t know why I am having anxiety attacks if that is whats happening. But overall from reading everyone elses post it seems like we all share a common ground. But to me its a physical thing not mental.

    I will be watching TV not even thinking about it and BAM my heart starts pumping out of control between 4pm – 7pm the day after drinking. Then I have to take a damn Benzo! I am wondering if it could be that a lot of alcohol consumption causes your blood sugar level to spike. Then when your body gets rid of that the next day it plummets and puts your body into a low blood sugar spin. If we were to take insulin the next day would that stop it? IDK I’ve tried everything! Eating right and constant excercise though seems to help with the amount of anxiety after hangovers. Being healthy minus the drinking helps with it for me.

  33. Ajw says

    Yup, just turned 40 and I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar II since my 20’s. Socially drinking a few glasses if am fine. But if I binge drink, it starts day 2 and takes literally one week to get back to normal. First time it happened I thought I was going to go out of my mind with anxiety and discomfort. Saw Drs., etc. Then I learned after the 2nd time that it was the binge night. About every 2-3 yrs I slip and it happens. I used to miss work and everything. I now can work through it but barely. My only comfort is knowing that is will end in 1 week. As it has every time.

  34. Al says

    I am 23 years old, and recently in the past year, when I wake up in the morning after a heavy night of drinking… I non-stop worry about people thinking that I’m “stupid”, or “ridiculous”, or an “attention-seeker”, or just plain “annoying”. During these mornings, I feel mentally distraught and it usually turns into shedding some tears in the bath tub. It’s not that I’m being disloyal to my boyfriend, or doing drugs, or drinking copious amounts of alcohol, or doing anything illegal for that matter… All I’m worried about is what people think of me. Is that classified as anxiety? I don’t know.
    I wish I could just wake up in the morning and think of all the fun I had the night before.
    During my hungover mornings, my first response is to text my girlfriends. I’m secretly hoping in my gut that someone else out there is “ashamed” of how they acted the night before.
    As I’m writing this I’m realizing how ridiculous it is that I waste all this time worrying. I have a great social life, a lot of great friends, I have a great boyfriend, and besides the fact that I may have this little bit of anxiety… I am a perfectly healthy young happy woman.
    I’m really glad I found this blog… I may not be good at writing, and this post may not be very inspiring to any of you… But it’s clear that life is too short to worry. I know that by the time next weekend rolls around I’ll be laughing about worrying about nothing… BUT, that doesn’t mean I can just let alcohol make me feel this way again. My goal from now on is to get to know my body more when it comes to drinking alcohol. Maybe I can’t drink whiskey? Maybe this past weekend it was that bottle of blush wine? Maybe I need to say no to tequila? I just need to know my limits. I want to wake up happy in the morning and think of all the fun times, the great conversations, the jokes, the people. I want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face. The only thing that can make that happen is MYSELF.

  35. Alex says

    I’m so happy to find I’m not the only one with this! I am 30 and started drinking age 15. Since then the anxiety after drinking has just become out of hand. I was a really quiet kid and started drinking when I realised how confident I felt. Now I drink when I feel depressed or when something bad happened (like last week when I was burgled). I plan on ‘being good’ and just having the one but after a glass of wine I just have to have more to keep the ‘good feeling’. I forget what I have done and get really paranoid the next day about what I did or said. I prefer drinking at home as I can’t make such a fool out of myself but last night I ended up showing myself up on facebook writing stupid things. I just cant seem to stop and if I have a ood couple of weeks when something bad happened I just have to have a drink to feel better. I just don’t know what to do!

  36. jill says

    as a daughter of an alcoholic, i do see a very large connection in anxiety and alcohol. I am in my late 40’s and have struggled with anxiety all of my life. In my mid 30’s i started to drink more frequently. Life happens no one said it would be easy. I now find myself having a few drinks daily just to cope. My life is pretty good but anxiety out of controll. My past battle scars tourment me daily. The feeling of doom daily. Feeling of worthlessness daily. I am successful in my proffesional life and have a husband who loves me. I came from a good family. Aniety is a daily issue. Yes I take meds. it really doesnt help. initially drinking helps. So i understand why my father drank. I guess he had demons too. Very strong link between the two. I am 1 of five children. All of us have aniety issues of differnt degrees. I am the only one who copes with alcohol and hides it very well, my sisters dont even realize i have a problem. I wish i had a solution. Anxiety issues are not fun. I have no reason to be struggling but i do.

  37. Heno says


    I feel i should write about this somewhere where there might be others who understand, if nothing else than for my own sanity. I am 31 years old, i had a panic attack as a part of a relationship with a self-harming person about 10 years ago. After that i always felt unease and a lot of anxiety. This got me into drinking more heavily and soon it was 2 times a week, i barely got out of one hungover anxiety episode before i was on it again. I have held a job but i could have gone so much further in every part of my life by now if i had just quit that damn drinking. I have improved my situation a lot since then, now i drink to that degree maybe 2-3 times a year and i intend to lower it even more.

    I am marching ahead and have learned to deal with a lot of my anxiety related problems and even though i sometimes wish i wouldn’t have gone to this or that party i know i can push through all the shit. I read a lot of books on self love, dealing assertively with people etc and they have helped a lot. What i want to say is:

    Start dealing with your issues properly. Don’t let booze and anxiety be the defining factor of a big part of your life. Self discovery is one of the greatest things we can experience, but it doesn’t come in a bottle. Contemplate, read, work out and start putting time into a job you like, family etc and other things that matter in the long run. Especially the younger ones out there.

    And yes, i was also on a bender the other day.

    Wish you all the best!

  38. Ryna du Plooy says

    As a result of two back operations and damage to the CNS, I had to take medication which adversely affected the CNS even further. Withdrawal from that caused anxiety attacks and I thought I would never be normal again. Just to calm myself down every night, a glass of red wine. Mistake! The anxiety never left me altogether… until I decided to try not taking alcohol at all. And that was the golden answer. I am back to the person I was, no anxiety at all.

  39. chris says

    Well i went down and read all these comments and it seems like i am having anxiety. (Went drinking last night and having issues breathing and basically feel like death and sweats and heart feels like its having a breakdown). But honestly reading these comments has made me rethink my drinking career. Its been about 2 weeks since the last time i drank before this and my girlfriend recently moved for work maybe all this combined with heavy drinking for the past 5 years has finally made its toll. Honestly reading all of these comments has actually help calm my breathing and thoughts impending doom down. I read in one comment to go get some Gatorade and i did i think it might be helping out also.Also i was taking deep breaths holding it for about 3 seconds and letting go seemed to help allot combined with some fresh air.
    Good luck to you all

  40. bobbie says

    I really thought I was alone. I have all the symptoms you are talking about … I looked it up and its alcoholic ketoacudosis I know that’s spelt wrong.

  41. says

    After years and years of heavy drinking ,i became mentally ill ravaged by anxiety.It literally happened overnight ,i suffered a nervous breakdown,i now know why many alcohol users commit suicide because quite simply i suffered hell,it was allmost like a demon had taken me over.I had ridiculous morbid thoughts that wouldnt go away,sweats ,shakes,that sick feeling in your stomach when worried etc etcThat was 3 years ago now and these days i do drink but in MODERATION that is the key ,a few nights a week il have a few beers or ciders though never spirits Slowly i feel im getting better but it has been a long hard road.DONT abuse alcohol people cos sooner or later it gets you..

  42. Lex says

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. Each paragraph I read lifted a layer of my “sense of doom” which I have been feeling for days now, due to drinking too much and recouping, then doing it again and my body feeling like I was dying. You’re so right about how just thinking about, “Am I dying? Having a heart attack??” can make it even worse. It’s so funny, the human brain. I guess out of all things that could be wrong with mine, anxiety isn’t the worst it could be, but I still struggle to deal with it daily and hope others read this article. Thanks again! -Lex

  43. jim says

    I am glad I found this website. I am 27 years old and had never had anxiety until about 6 months ago. I have been drinking since I was 16 and since 22 a functioning alcoholic. I drank every single evening from around 9 to midnight. Its strange and hard to explain to my girlfriend cause she doesnt understand how I am feeling. I get worried for no reason and I get what feels like pressure in my head, its very uncomfortable. I used to go to the bar and drunk almost every night, but since the anxiety started it is very difficult. I do not go to the bar much at all anymore maybe once a month and I cant even drink when I am there because of the anxiety, I feel like I am either going to throw up or pass out. I have noticed the day after drinking is the worst. My anxiety is 10 times as bad. I am glad I found this because the longest I have gone without drinking lately is 2 days and I did notice a difference in my anxiety and it was much better. Now it is time for me to quit drinking for a while and see if this anxiety will go away completely, I hope it does.
    thank you everyone for sharing your stories.

  44. Mike says

    62 yrs old bing drink trying to quit a thousand times wake up 2 worry about till it becomes panic hang over is unberible so is depression I have tried million ways to quit get by a month 2 then cravings hit imay drink for week like someone wrote 3 hours ov buzz mind rest isn’t worth 48hrs hell any new ideas on how to quit this Deamond for good I get tiered of the fight.

  45. Al says

    Hello I am 51 year old male that made a decision to stop drinking beer about 2 years ago I drank for about 30 years and would often wake up with anxiety and leaving me feeling like I will be having a heart attack, I went to my doctor and found out that the amount of beer I was drinking was way to much thus causing my body to react in many ways, my reason for this post is to let you know that drinking in moderation is not a bad thing as long as you know when to stop, I didn’t and I am paying the price for this now. I am a recovering alcoholic and wish I had listened to my wife when she would tell me to stop, I often have anxiety and depression bouts that are not easy to cope with, through my doctors and some medication I deal with this, so please be aware what you do today will affect your body in the future so moderation is the word.

  46. Mary says

    Hi I’m 25…Been suffering with anxiety since April 2014 after losing my mother! After reading this blog has made realise I’ve suffered with this for years! I get so depressed with my hangovers and cry and so angry I thought it was normal and I’m just really sensitive person a take things really personal! Wow this blog has help me I’m so glad I’ve found this! As I’m trying to rebuild my self I know a lot more now and when it’s gets really bad! Won’t stop drinking but will stop mixing my drinks…think we all get to a happy mode when drinking and want to let your hair down! Go so high…the next day we crash and burn!! Just can’t win! Wished I knew about this years ago…would of stop me making stupid things and life changes!

  47. Bethuel Kiiru says

    I enjoy drinkin.. but I get hella anxious if I drink for like a week daily… I don even know what to do… If I go detox, I’ll drink the same day after leavin…hella sad… I’m hella confused right now…

  48. That girl says

    Here I am trying to understand my anxiety. I noticed that when I drink, my anxiety gets REALLY bad right before my menstual period. Three weeks ago I drank a bottle of Tequila Rose and this whole week I’ve had terrible bouts of anxiety. To the point that I had to miss three days of work. The doctor put me on prozac about six months ago. The doctor doubled the dose and said to only take it the two weeks before my period since that’s when my anxiety kicks in. But it doesn’t work for me, it provides no relief. One of the comments I read on here talked about staying hydrated, quitting drinking, and eating healthy and exercising. That’s what I’m going to have to do because this anxiety is petrifying, and that’s putting it mildly. It’s a whole lyfestyle change but I really want to take care of me and I don’t want to experience this panic I’m experiencing right now. Panicking about all the bad stuff in the world and feeling impending doom is no fun at all. Not to mention missing my friends like crazy because I won’t let them near me during these two weeks. Sorry, this turned out longer than what I intended.

  49. Shane L says

    I am a 23 year old and I have been drinking for 5 years now to help cope with anxiety/depression. I recently had been convicted of a DUII (I am ashamed as should everyone be with this crime) but that happened 3 years ago and I’m moving past that slowly. The last time I went to court after a night where I only had 4 beers, I woke up at 3:00 am after the craziest dreams I have ever had spinning uncontrollably like I was on the ride “Gravitron,” and afraid for my life. I went into the ER around 7:30 am because I was afraid to go to sleep again for whatever reason. I was diagnosed with Vertigo and had to be pumped full of fluids. Since then I am totally fine until I drink a few beers and get woken up out of my my sleep with not the same dreams but just as weird and The Fear again. It is literally the worst feeling I have ever experienced. It doesn’t matter how many beers I drink, 3 or 10 it is still the same feeling of fear and I know there is nothing for me to be afraid of. I know I could just not drink anything but the way I feel at the the moment of craving a couple beers overpowers the thought of the consequences. I want to be normal again but I feel like I need help doing so.
    It makes me feel like a shitty person that I feel better when I find out that people are having the same problem but it does. I feel like everyone I surround myself with thinks I’m a crazy person when I’m going through this. I literally start to hate myself for no damn reason and I can’t help but feed the fire. I want help but I want to help myself because I know I can but at the time I feel like it’s impossible for anything to help me.
    If you feel anything I’m writing, the only thing that seems to help at all is this affirmation my cousin gave to me to read.
    “I am deeply centered and peaceful in life,
    and it is safe for me to be alive and joyous.”
    It only works if you truly believe in it, and I hope it comes useful to someone out there.

  50. michael says

    I not had a drink since 2 weeks before xmas. I had hangovers from hell. Used to not feel right for a week. Got a condition called klienfelters syndrome, basically low testosterone. Alcohol destroys anyone’s testosterone. I used to feel so anxious, scared to go to sleep, thought i was going to die. Loads of palpitations. Still get them mostly when i get warm, never get used to them, still freak me out. Going to start eating healthy food as i know vitamins are essential. I have in the past but as soon as i feel reasonable stop. Anyway reassuring to read i’m not the only one who worries to much.

  51. donald says

    there is no doubt that drinking brings on anxieties. I am 59 and have had anxieties for a very long time. Its much more subtle now but annoying and bothersome just the same. GAD general anxiety disorder it has turned into. I have a handle on it for the most part but still have several days or weeks that it creeps back in and makes me feel sick. I love my beer and an occasional couple glasses of wine but if anxiety has taught me anything is that drinking too much brings these episodes on more but also is simply bad for my health overall as well. I don’t let anxiety control me but sometimes its very difficult to shake, especially when it bothers my appetite, headaches, foggy feeling, derealization its called that is the most bothersome. What works for me is I try to not think so much of what is troubling me and to keep busy with things. I also listen to youtube videos for relaxation like hypnosis which done by a professional like Thomas Hall, it helps me slowly get back to normal. Anxiety still bothers me from time to time but over all, I have come a long way. I had to make some changes in my life, like the over doing it with drinking but it was for the best. I know one day this will mostly stop for me as it will for everyone else too. Best wishes to everyone here that suffers with this challenging affliction! Keep up the good fight!!

  52. Skeelo says

    Refreshing to hear others go through the same thing as me, I’m 37 years old now, I started drinking heavily around 19, quit twice, once 8 years for two years, fell off for 4 years, and last summer started again, I’ve had many rock bottoms, I’m a heavy heavy binge drinker of hard alcohol and beer, most of the time I’m ok when I drank, but recently had another one drank for 5 days in a row blacked out for most of it,
    This last time scared the crap out of me, not remembering most days, calling in sick for work luckily, came off cold turkey, profuse vomiting for a day/night wrecking my throat/chest in process, face with red blisters, not sleeping, can’t eat/drink water, umpy for loud noises, and just getting my health back, but still a sensitive stomach, and it’s been 6 days since and I’m still experiencing anxiety!

    Sucks back on sober rider again, just need something for the anxiety, I remember even with almost 2 years of sobriety, the anxiety was still strong, might need medz.

  53. Jay says

    I am a male age 62. I wished I had the internet 40 years ago. I suffered from anxiety my entire life. Finally I read on the internet to stop alcohol, cut back on coffee and sugar. I did that and my anxiety stopped.

    I was never a big drinker maybe 5 drinks a week usually no more than 2 at a time, but this with daily coffee and sugar hammered my brain chemistry. I think that the alcohol was the main antagonist but coffee and sugar is definitely bad for me. Currently I have about 1 drink every 2 months and only on special occasions.

    Three years ago I quit alcohol along with my coffee and severely limit my sugar consumption. The result was a Hugh positive life changing event in my life. I wished I could have those 40 years back. Stop drinking alcohol is a very minor sacrifice to give up if it greatly increases the quality of your life. For years I could not relax, I was always on edge with heart pounding anxiety. The quality of my life has significantly increased with these Minor dietary changes.

    This is a inherited trait because my father and my children have anxiety problems. My children are making these changes and are feeling the positive results. Unfortunately my dad never did figured it out and I suffered with anxiety for many years. Good luck to you all, and may you figure what is causing your anxiety make the appropriate life style changes.

  54. Pippy says

    I found some interesting information on using niacin to deal with the alcohol cravings. This could be a game-changer in a world where we are constantly stressed and filled with anxiety.

    Ignorance = missed opportunities

    Below is what I did not know about Bill W (AA founder):

    “Bill was very curious about it and began to take niacin, 3 g daily. Within a few weeks fatigue and depression which had plagued him for years were gone. He gave it to 30 of his close friends in AA and persuaded them to try it. Within 6 months he was convinced that it would be very helpful to alcoholics. Of the thirty, 10 were free of anxiety, tension and depression in one month. Another 10 were well in two months. He decided that the chemical or medical terms for this vitamin were not appropriate. He wanted to persuade members of AA, especially the doctors in AA, that this would be a useful addition to treatment and he needed a term that could be more readily popularized.”

    The above quote is from this website: http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_niacin.html

    Hopefully this will be an eye-opener for many who consider using niacin.


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