ZocdocAnswersCan drinking alcohol cause severe anxiety?

Question

Can drinking alcohol cause severe anxiety?

I think I had a panic attack a couple of days ago. I had been out drinking heavily the night before. I couldn't catch my breath. Is this a mental problem? Was my anxiety just caused by my hangover?

Answer

Drinking alcohol can have many ill effects on the body. This included effects on mood. Drinking alcohol can therefore cause both anxiety and depression symptoms, or at least can make them worse. If you think your alcohol consumption is affecting your mood, you should definitely quit drinking and seek help from a psychiatrist or from your primary care doctor. Alcohol could also be associated with the symptoms you describe in other ways. For example drinking heavily could dehydrate the body, which could lead to feelings of palpitations, dizziness, and other symptoms that you might interpret as shortness of breath. In general, I am concerned that you are drinking so heavily, not just because of the anxiety or shortness of breath symptoms you were having, but also because drinking heavily is very bad for the body and alcohol dependence or abuse is a serious health problem. I would strongly recommend that you set up an appointment with either a psychiatrist or your primary care doctor to talk about your alcohol use patterns. They will be able to help you determine whether you are drinking too much or may have a problem with alcohol and, if so, what to do about it.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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