The main difference is that certain stressors often trigger anxiety attacks, and they may build up gradually. In contrast, panic attacks typically happen unexpectedly and suddenly. While panic attacks by themselves aren’t dangerous or harmful to your health, frequent attacks can lead to a decrease in your quality of life and other issues.

And they can’t be better accounted for by another mental health condition, like a phobia or PTSD. It’s important to note that one of the criteria for panic disorder is that the panic attacks don’t have a known trigger. If you are using alcohol as a self-medicating measure, can alcohol cause panic attacks you might feel it “works” to help you cope with your symptoms. While you might feel that it works in the short term, it’s more likely to cause you problems in the long run. If you have an anxiety disorder, alcohol misuse and withdrawal can make your symptoms worse.

Addiction To Alcohol And Anxiety As Co-Occurring Disorders

The combination can lead to an increased risk of panic attacks and crippling anxiety. What results is a vicious cycle of spiraling depression, increased anxiety levels, and a desperate attempt to feel better by drinking more, which ultimately makes the situation worse. The Mayo Clinic defines panic attacks as a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Alcohol is a drug like any other, and anything that affects your body like alcohol does has the potential to contribute a great deal to your panic attacks and anxiety more generally.

Anxiety brought on by alcohol might last for several hours or even the entire day after drinking. Your doctors will consider how long you’ve had symptoms and how intense they are  when diagnosing you. It’s important to let your doctors or counselors know if your anxiety makes it hard to enjoy or complete everyday tasks at home, work, or school. Panic attacks often begin during adolescence, although they may start during childhood. Attacks can lead to severe anxiety, as well as affecting other parts of a child’s mood or functioning.

What to Expect in Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal

Phobias, while they can be connected to and trigger any of the disorders above, can also be their own independent disorder. Long-term heavy drinkers may be predisposed to developing an anxiety disorder. However, there is no evidence that moderate drinking will cause anxiety. Research shows that people with alcoholism find it difficult to recover from traumatic events. This is possibly because of the effects of alcohol abuse, which can actually change brain activity.

Those with panic attacks are far more likely to notice them, and this may result in a flood of anxiety that can lead to a panic attack. For some people, drinking alcohol and having panic episodes go hand in hand—one causes the other. Anxiety symptoms are heightened during a panic attack because the mind is overrun with anxieties and fears.