Panic Attack Hangovers: What to Know | Banyan Treatment Center
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Panic Attack Hangover: After-Effects and Recovery Tips


Your heart is pounding. You can’t catch your breath.

You feel so afraid that you believe you might be dying. This is what it feels like to have a panic attack. Also referred to as anxiety attacks, panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear that trigger physical reactions, such as rapid breathing and heart rate. Even if there’s no real danger or nothing that would normally cause fear, people may still experience panic attacks severe enough to make them believe that they’re dying. While coping with these attacks is rough, recovering after a panic attack can be even more difficult. Keep reading to learn more about what a panic attack hangover is and dealing with the after-effects of panic attacks.

What Happens to Your Body During a Panic Attack?

When you experience a panic attack, your body’s fight or flight response is triggered, causing intense physical symptoms. Normally when you encounter a threat, your nervous system activates. The hormone adrenaline shoots into your bloodstream, putting your body on high alert. Your heartbeat quickens, supplying your muscles with more blood.

Then, your breathing becomes faster and more shallow, allowing you to take in more oxygen. Your blood sugar spikes and your senses get sharper, so you remain alert. All of these changes can happen from one moment to the next, all with the purpose of equipping you to protect yourself from the said threat.

Some other symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • Feeling like you’re losing control
  • Racing heart
  • Excessive sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Feeling like you’re choking
  • Intense fear that you’re dying
  • Numb or tingling sensations in your hands, arms, legs, or feet

What’s the Longest a Panic Attack Can Last?

If these symptoms happen so quickly, then how long do panic attacks last? Although it varies from person to person, panic attacks usually last around 20 to 30 minutes, with symptoms peaking after about 10 minutes. Usually, after 20 to 30 minutes, the majority of symptoms subside.

It’s important to point out that panic attacks are common indicators of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is different from panic attacks in that it’s an actual condition characterized by intense, excessive, and persistent feelings of worry and fear about everyday situations. If you suspect that you may have anxiety or know someone who does, our mental treatment center in Florida offers anxiety treatment that can help you regain control of your health and life.

Post-Panic Attack: Dealing With the After Effects

Post-Panic Attack: Dealing With the After Effects

Also called an adrenaline hangover, a panic attack hangover refers to the symptoms you experience after your adrenaline levels go back down. During panic attacks, your adrenaline level spikes, increasing alertness and energy while sharpening your reflexes, so your body is prepared to either fight or run. However, once the perceived threat is gone and your symptoms have dissipated, you may be left feeling tired and even sore.

Post-Panic Attack Symptoms

Feeling tired the day after a panic attack is completely normal. For some people, it takes days to recover from an anxiety attack. If you’re dealing with a panic attack hangover, some symptoms may even linger.

Common post-panic attack effects include:

  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Body aches and pains
  • Muscle soreness
  • Soreness in the jaw (especially if you tend to clench your jaw)
  • Racing heart
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or stomach pain

While the physical symptoms of an anxiety attack tend to subside after about 20 minutes, others may continue to linger for a while. The person may continue to feel fearful, or their chest or stomach may hurt. They may continue to hyperventilate or have trouble catching their breath. They may even experience body pain after a panic attack due to physical tension.

Tips for Dealing With the After-Effects of a Panic Attack

Although recovering from an anxiety attack can take time, it is possible. Below are some simple ways to deal with the after-effects of a panic attack that may help you the next time one occurs.

  • Change your physical position: If your body is responding to something physically, then you have to comfort it physically. This means changing your body position. For example, if you’re standing or pacing around, then sit somewhere so you can relax and counter that reaction. If you’re lying down and you continue to feel panicky, sit or stand up.
  • Change your surroundings: Have you just experienced a panic attack in your bedroom? Go outside for a walk. Just experienced a panic attack around a bunch of people? Go somewhere where you can be alone so you can calm down.
  • Eat something: While your go-to panic-attack cure shouldn’t always be food, sometimes having a small snack or treat can set your mind at ease. For example, if you’re craving some sugar, try eating a sweet yet healthy snack, like fruit or trail mix. Anxiety attacks are also draining experiences, so it’s important not to neglect basics like eating.
  • Sleep: Panic attacks are tough on the mind and body, and sometimes you just feel downright tired after having one. If you’re somewhere you can nap, go for it. However, try to cap it at 30 minutes, so you’re able to get a good night’s sleep later.
  • Exercise: Remember that certain symptoms can linger after an anxiety attack, such as restlessness. Sometimes you need to help your body readjust to the drop in adrenaline by moving or exercising. This is also a great way to release endorphins, reduce stress, and boost your mood.
  • Call a loved one: Sometimes our minds are so full and jumbled that we need to let it out, and what better way to do that than venting to a loved one? If you feel comfortable doing so, call a trusted friend or family member to talk about what you’ve just experienced. They can help you process those feelings and even help you identify what triggered the attack so you can avoid it in the future.

Anxiety is no fun, and over time, the effects of anxiety on the body can take a toll. If you or someone you know struggles with anxiety, don’t wait to get help. You don’t have to live with this disorder or deal with it alone.

Call our inpatient mental health rehab today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our treatment methods.

Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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