Alcohol and Panic Attacks
The connection between mental illnesses and addiction has been substantiated over and over again. But what about people who have known mental illnesses, but don’t suffer from substance addiction? Can there still be some cause for concern? Think about this scenario involving alcohol and panic attacks.
You’re somebody who has suffered a couple of panic attacks, but perhaps you haven’t even had one in years. You decide to go out with one of your friends for their birthday. One drink turns to two, and suddenly you’re definitely feeling things. Your friends decide to do one more shot, and you agree. After you’ve thrown the shot down, you’ve begun to notice feel off. Not the type of drunk offsetting ness, but the feeling of impending doom. Before you know it, you realize you’re having a panic attack.
The Role of Alcohol and Panic Attacks
There’s a strong link between psychiatric disorders and alcoholism [efn_note]https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh26-2/90-98.htm[/efn_note]. But again, the scenario we talked about involved somebody who isn’t an alcoholic, and yet they still found alcohol exacerbating their mental illness. The reason comes down to the effects that alcohol has on the body. We know the alcohol can have strong on your brain, but in the short-term and the long-term. [efn_note]https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/alcohols-effects-body[/efn_note].
That’s what’s kind of scary; the fact that alcohol could have long-term effects on your mental illness. But what’s scarier is that it can still have short-term effects. We also know alcohol affects your heart (blood pressure, heart rate, ect), which also could cause a panic attack or other anxiety disorder to come out.
The important note should be this: You could drink thousands of times and be fine, and yet, a random occurrence might bring out your illness. It’s hard to see exactly because everybody is different, and we all lead different lifestyles. But, it’s a good idea to at least understand what effects alcohol could have in the time being and in the future. That way, you’re at least aware of the possibilities.
So Should I Never Drink Again?
When you experience something like a panic attack after drinking, your first thought may be to never drink again. However, the first thing is to make sure you’re speaking to a professional about your mental illness. From there, they can offer some treatment options and ways you can manage your issues without having to completely give up on your social life.
The role of alcohol and panic attacks (or any mental illness) is tricky. There’s no definite solution, but being honest with yourself and talking to a mental health specialist is the best thing you can do to make sure you’re leading yourself to a solution.