Link Between Alcohol And Anxiety: Frequently Asked Questions




When you try to deal with exhausting days or stressful circumstances, you may be persuaded to take a glass and fill it with beer or wine to calm yourself. However, drinking alcohol, specifically heavily and over long periods, can tremendously increase your anxious symptoms.

Consuming alcohol can have dangerous outcomes for someone who is undergoing treatment for depression or anxiety. It might seem like a great way to relieve anxiety if you have one, two, or too many to drink, but in truth, you may be doing yourself more harm than good.


There is a slight truth to the statement that alcohol can lower stress. Alcohol is a downer and has a calming effect that directly affects the brain. Initially, drinking decreases one’s fears and helps you forget your problems for a while. Alcohol also helps improve your mood, increase relaxation, and increase self-confidence. In fact, its effects can be like those of your anti-anxiety medications.

Unwinding with alcohol sometimes isn’t essentially harmful if your doctor is aware and approves of it. However, once you have begun drinking, you might be more willing to tolerate its relaxing effects. Subsequently, this causes the pressure and anxiety even more challenging to go through.

Consuming exaggerated amounts of alcohol can also cause evident mental and physical results. Over time, drinking too much causes memory loss, blackouts, and ultimately brain abnormalities. These issues can worsen anxiety as you attempt to manage the symptoms.

The feeling of relaxation you feel when you consume considerable amounts of alcohol can frequently result from one’s blood alcohol content. A surge in these levels causes a person to have initial feelings of gratification, but then depressive feelings present as the blood alcohol content levels fall. It is then possible that consuming a few drinks that cause your BAC levels to increase and then normalize again can lead you to become more apprehensive than you previously were.

Alcohol And Anxiety

Alcohol alters serotonin and other brain chemical levels, leading to more anxiety. As a matter of fact, the anxiety you’re feeling will even worsen when the effects of alcohol subside. Alcohol-induced anxiety can continue for a few hours or the entire day after you have been drinking.

Using alcohol to counter your issue with social anxiety can be harmful. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that more than 5% of Americans have this anxiety type. If you have this condition, you might find social events intolerable. It is typical for individuals with social anxiety problems to use alcohol to manage themselves during social interactions, but this can result in alcohol dependency when socializing, worsening anxiety symptoms.

Approximately 20% of those with a social anxiety disorder also have alcohol dependence.

Additionally, aside from needing to take alcohol to calm their nerves when socializing, other warning signs of dependence include:

  • The need to drink to get up in the morning
  • The inability to quit drinking
  • Heavy drinking for several days a week
  • The need to drink at every social event or gathering
  • Consuming more than four alcoholic beverages in a day


How does alcohol affect anxiety?

Alcohol worsens anxiety by changing the levels of serotonin and other chemicals found in the brain. A person may feel more tense and anxious after the effects of alcohol wear off in his body. Alcohol-induced anxiety may persist for a number of hours or even the whole day after consuming it.

Can alcohol cause anxiety attacks? 

Alcohol could help with anxiety but only temporarily. The fact is, it can do more harm than good in the long term and can lead to severe panic attacks. It is not uncommon for someone to feel anxious after a heavy drinking spree, but alcohol-induced panic disorder is actually an indication of a serious problem that needs attention. 

Is alcohol bad for anxiety and depression? 

Regularly drinking in heavy doses disrupts the chemicals’ normal activity in the nervous system that are important for good physical and mental health. So while most people feel more relaxed after drinking, in the long run, alcohol negatively affects one’s health and can add to feelings of anxiety and depression and consequently makes stress more difficult to manage. 

How do I stop anxiety after drinking?

Alcohol-induced anxiety lasts for several hours or up to 24 hours after consuming alcohol. Drinking heavily to deal with anxiety can be life-threatening. There are simple strategies that you can try to calm your anxiety after drinking. Initially, you can try slowing down your breathing by counting to three while breathing. Be conscious of your heartbeat while you are gradually relaxing more and more. 

Does CBD help anxiety?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBD has proven to lessen rats’ stress levels under an experimental study. The subjects were said to have lessened their behavioral indications of anxiety. Physiological indications of anxiety, like a fast heartbeat, also became better.

How can I calm my anxiety?

Home remedies that you can do try to help ease your anxiety include:

  • Focused, relaxed deep breaths that could calm both the body and mind
  • Being able to accept your anxious feelings, acknowledge them, and then find ways to put these anxious feelings into perspective
  • Choose a relaxation or mindfulness app that you can follow regularly
  • Being positive and proactive about your mental and physical health.

How can I control my anxiety without medication?

Some simple steps that you can try doing to manage your anxiety without taking medications include:

  • Be mentally and physically active.
  • Avoid too much caffeine.
  • Talk to someone you trust.
  • Feel better about saying no.
  • Get a sufficient amount of sleep.
  • Live in the present.



Bottom Line

The term ‘moderate drinking’ is different for all age brackets and both males and females. In America, ‘moderate’ usually means having one drink daily for women and two for men. On the other hand, older adults can metabolize alcohol rapidly, so if you belong to this age group, you should confine yourself to one type of alcoholic drink a day. Consult with your doctor if moderate drinking is right for you.

The truth is that the benefits of consuming alcohol can often be outweighed by its risks, including obesity, cardiovascular damage, depression, and liver disease. Alcohol impacts everyone in different ways. It makes you feel relaxed after a long and exhausting day, or you can feel idle and useless. Talk with your doctor about these concerns, so you will know if alcohol consumption is safe for you.