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Category: Panic Attacks

Panic Attack Hangover: The After Effects of a Panic Attack

If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know how exhausting it can be. Panic attacks trigger a series of intense physical and emotional reactions in a short amount of time. The after effects, commonly called a panic attack hangover, leave you feeling drained and run down.

Panic attacks are a symptom of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety, along with depression, is one of the most common types of mental health disorders in the US. In February 2023, 32.3% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to KFF.

The good news is that you can find evidence-based treatment for anxiety. While anxiety feels overwhelming, you can learn to cope with your symptoms and reduce your chances of having panic attacks.

What Are the Symptoms of a Panic Attack?

A panic attack sets off your body’s flight or fight response. This response system helps you when you are threatened or are in imminent danger. Essentially, the flight or fight response releases hormones that help you either escape or combat danger.

But, with a panic attack, there is no imminent threat. So, your body builds energy, yet you have no outlet for it—nothing to fight or run away from. As a result, this energy expends itself within your body and can cause a panic attack.

The following are common symptoms of a panic attack:

  • Pounding and racing heart
  • Sweating
  • Chest tightness
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling weak

These symptoms are intense and usually peak within about 10 minutes. After about 20-30 minutes, most of these symptoms go away. Afterward, you will feel the after effects.

What Are the After Effects of a Panic Attack?

The after effects of a panic attack, or a panic attack hangover, can occur for several hours or even days after a panic attack. After an intense surge of physical reactions within a short period of time, most people feel drained.

The effects of a panic attack hangover include the following:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Body pains
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling on edge or uneasy
  • Muscle soreness
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Chest pain

In addition, some symptoms of a panic attack hangover can include lingering symptoms of the panic attack itself—but less intense. And, you could also feel somewhat down or vulnerable after a panic attack. Some people feel ashamed or embarrassed about their panic attacks, which can lead to emotional and mental health symptoms.

What Causes a Panic Attack Hangover?

A panic attack hangover is a result of your adrenaline levels returning to normal. During a panic attack, adrenaline levels spike, increasing your alertness, energy, and blood flow to your muscles. This intense burst of energy and alertness leaves you feeling fatigued and emotionally drained.

In other words, your body expends a tremendous amount of energy within a short amount of time during a panic attack. As a result, you feel these effects as a panic attack hangover.

How to Recover From a Panic Attack Hangover

You can recover from a panic attack to lessen the severity of the after effects. The following holistic tips can help you recover from a panic attack hangover:

  • Light exercise and movement: A panic attack can leave you feeling fatigued, however, moving your body can help with the after effects. Exercise improves blood flow and releases endorphins that help you stabilize your mood after a panic attack. You can do something with low intensity, like stretching, yoga, or going for a walk.
  • Get some rest: If you can take a short nap, this can also restore some of your energy. However, try not to nap too long or you may disrupt your sleep cycle. This can make things worse if you don’t get restful sleep at night.
  • Eat a healthy snack: Eating something healthy like nuts or fruit can restore glucose levels in your blood. In turn, this can give you energy and reduce symptoms like headache and fatigue.
  • Go someplace else to recover: Oftentimes, an overwhelming environment can trigger a panic attack. So, to recover, go to a restful and secluded place. That way, you can recover and reduce your chances of triggering another panic attack.
  • Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness exercises can help you redirect your focus. You can try deep breathing, listening to music, taking a walk in nature, or body scanning. The important thing is to focus on something in your environment to take your mind off your panic triggers.
  • Call a loved one: Talking to someone you can trust about what happened can help you recover from a panic attack hangover. This can help you vent and process your feelings. You might also figure out what triggered your panic attack by talking things through.

Panic attacks are distressing and can make you feel like something horrible is happening to you. However, these are often the result of a specific trigger or a buildup of unresolved anxiety. So, if you struggle with panic attacks, finding a mental health treatment program can help you learn healthy ways of coping with stress and anxiety.

Get Help for Panic Attacks and Anxiety Disorders Today

At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we understand that panic attacks can be draining and overwhelming. Afterward, the panic attack hangover can leave you feeling weak, fatigued, and even ashamed. However, anxiety disorders that cause panic attacks can be treated, and many people make a full recovery from their disorders.

Contact us today to begin treatment for anxiety and panic attacks.

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