Terrible Panic and anxiety during withdrawal?


Hi there, I’m new here, and I’ve been trying to quit drinking for a while. I quit for most of November and then relapsed for a week or so and then quit for most of December but started drinking again at Christmas. Lately, every time I drink I wake up in the middle of the night and my heart is beating really hard and I have weird tingling in my body, seems like maybe a panic attack. Last night we had some friends over and I drank way too much and I slept ok but then the panic thing set in this morning, I ended up going to the er because I felt so strange and it was really scary. I’ve decided it’s time to quit for good, my body is obviously trying to tell me something. I’m about 21 hours in and still feel like the panic could set in again, has anyone else had this experience? When I quit before it went away within a couple of days, seems worse now though, and sooo uncomfortable. Thanks for letting me share.


Thanks for sharing! I’m 33 hours sober right now. I didn’t sleep at all last night. Was sweating really bad. Right now I’m experiencing itches all over my body. And trust me, the anxiety sucks too. But I do know that waking up not hungover felt amazing! Keep strong and know that you’re definitely not alone!


Yes!!! When I binge drink I wake up with my heart racing and extreme anxiety. It keeps me awake as I’m terrified for my health. The next day I have tingling in my hands and anxiety (and the usual shame and regret). Your body is addicted to alcohol and at the same time it’s causing you liver and heart damage. There’s a long explanation for it, you can pm me if you want the science. Being sober brings anxiety but it’s more of the desire to drink and constantly thinking about it, way better than a racing heart that feel like you could die from! Plus no hangover and shame the next day


Thanks Luluu, I’m feeling a lot better today. Tired but not so freaked out. I slept awesome last night, here’s to day two!


Those middle of the night panic attacks were the sign that I HAD to quit. The good news is that it does pass.


Now that I’m dreaming again, I’ve been having nightmares and that only the few hours I get sleep. I’m kept awake by a strange feeling. I feel anxious as if someone’s watching me, I snap awake with the slightest of noises…and I think I’m having audio hallucinations at the minimum.


Have you tried any sleeping aides? I take melatonin and L-theanine, which really helps with anxiety


I am 2 days on sat was my best friends bachlorette party drank way to much smoked a bowl which i never do and was sicker than a dog in sunday. Sunday night i tried to sleep and woke up and could not breath my arms were tingly and shaky. I told my husband im having a heart attack and we need to go to the hospital. Was my 1st panic attack and i thought i was dying. Hang in there it will pass.


@Artgirl I am painfully familiar with those feelings. My anxiety/panic attacks were pretty horrible when I stopped drinking. They can be very debilitating and scary. There is a long discussion involving neurological and physical facts that I won’t bore you with. To put it simply, your body and brain became used to a substance, reliant on it. When that substance was removed, props for taking the first step, it disrupted your body’s environment. After that, enter in your withdrawal symptoms. I won’t lie to you, they are rough in the beginning. But they get easier.
The best thing that worked for me was finding healthy ways to soothe myself. Hot showers, fuzzy blankets, comfy clothes, yoga, meditation, and exercise were all helpful for me.
My best advice, take a deep breath. Be patient with yourself and your recovery. And acknowledge your progress when you make it. No matter how big or small. Most of us on here do a great job beating ourselves and tearing ourselves down. I encourage us all to try the opposite for a change. Dare to be positive and optimistic for a change :slight_smile:
Stay strong.


Make sure you’re getting B-vitamins and hydration, it’ll help you heal your body while going through your withdrawals and in my experience lighten them.

Distracting yourself and staying occupied with anything and everything will help you with your anxiety.

However, if it gets too much to handle don’t hesitate to call your general physician or an outpatient clinic.

You’ve got this. ╰(´︶`)╯


Hello! My name is Brian. I have the same experience as you, but I would like to just let you know on why this phenomena happens.

So I was addicted to Cigarettes and Pornography. Its different from alcohol addiction but similar in a way, i only say that because my addiction is derived from the same reason why people become alcoholics, which is dopamine deficiency.
When you drink, smoke, or binge on anything for a long period of time, chemical receptors in your brain called dopamine receptors lowers to create a new balance within your body, because you were getting excess dopamine by binge drinking. Drinking can increase dopamine by 150-200% and if you do that often, your body will try to adjust to it and make less dopamine receptors. This is why when you quit, you go through anxiety and panic, because you suddenly dont have enough dopamine in your brain anymore.

The reason why i mentioned this is because it is crucial to explaining why you get panic in the morning after a day of drinking. This happens to me too. So a healthy individual, with a normal amount of dopamine, lets say he drinks with the buddies for the night, his dopamine will increase to more than normal level when he drinks, then comes down to slightly below normal in the morning, (feeling groggy, tired) then bounce back to normal. However, a person with dopamine deficiency (which is ur case cuz ur going through withdrawal) will drink, his/her dopamine level would come back to near normal levels, then end up crashing in the morning to abnormally low levels of dopamine, which creates intense panic and anxiety. This disappears as you abstain from drinking and your dopamine levels start to come back to normal. As you overcome withdrawal, which may take months to years, eventually your dopamine levels will come back to normal levels and you wont experience this strange phenomenon anymore.
Hope ive been helpful, sorry for the long post. Best of luck to you.


Yes, that’s the feeling. Luckily they seem to go away after the first 24 hours. The trick is not to have to start those first 24 over again.


That sounds terrible, I hope your sleep problems resolve soon. The sleep aid suggestion sounds like a good idea.


Thank you, I appreciate the info!


Thank you, hope you’re feeling better today!


That’s how I fell too Vsue, my body is telling me it’s time.


Had to reset, so disappointed in myself :pensive:


At least you’re ready to try again, giving up would be the thing to be disappointed in. Sobriety is the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted, anyone’s who’s tried it would probably agree. I know you can do this, I’ll do sober with you today. And don’t forget this is your choice, I’m doing this because I deserve to be healthy and happy and glowing with vitality, not depressed and living in a greyed out half life, and you deserve that too.


Yes, I know exactly. It’s awful, worst thing in the world. I’ve been through it quite a few times. Everyone is different but by day 3 for me it generally gets better.

Getting a sweat in always helps me, but its hard to get to the gym when you feel like we do.


Also, soda helps for me, not sure why.

Just try not to be hard on yourself and get through it one hour at a time.

When im sober and want to drunk I think back on the withdrawals and the damage done, it’s a good motivator to grab water instead of booze.