Day after panic attack

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.

Recovering from a panic attack takes time – The Irish Times

Exhausted, nauseous, headachy, mentally drained, anxious and blurred are words I would use for how an anxiety hangover feels. Not the anxious hangover after a night of dancing, drinking and laughing where an unsettling nervousness seeps in with the headaches and spins, but the uniquely draining element of being suspended in fight or flight. Others would add fragile, shaky, out of sorts, and physically and mentally uncomfortable.

My anxiety is triggered by various things, including situations, people, even conversations, and while I know my limits, I don’t always manage an anxiety attack or the aftermath as well as I possibly could. The repercussion of anxiety can see my body delicately knitted up into tight knots, my shoulders and neck aching, my head a bundle of threads waiting to be unravelled with logical and conscious thought.

It's important we acknowledge that even if the threat is imagined such as worrying about the future or far away like the war on Ukraine, the emotion feels utterly real

But like a hangover, this is our bodies’ way of coming down, levelling out, after such an intense response from our nervous system. It is no wonder we can feel physically and mentally drained after anxiety hits, but many of us don’t recognise the aftershock as being part of anxiety.

Anxiety has continued to rise as our already complicated lives remain in a constant state of fear, worry, confusion and apprehension as we internally and externally battle, firefight and try to understand the difficult situations occurring in our minds, homes, communities and worldwide.


Sally O'Reilly, counselling psychologist and psychotherapist, frames anxiety as a normal yet unpleasant physical expression of, or reaction to, a real or imagined threat. She says, "It's important that we acknowledge that even if the threat is imagined such as worrying about the future, or invisible like a virus, or minimal such as it being an unlikely outcome, or even far away like the war on Ukraine, the emotion aroused feels utterly real. Unmanaged anxiety and fear can destabilise or paralyse us. As with all animals, it is normal to behave out of character, become disorientated or to freeze under unduly stressful conditions. It is normal to find it exhausting."

Sally O’Reilly, counselling psychologist and psychotherapist: ‘I’ve seen a general rise in ‘baseline’ anxiety since Covid-19 infected our collective psyche’

The aftermath of anxiety is not as easy to come through as a hangover caused by one too many drinks or that cocktail you’ve forgotten the name of. The cause of an anxiety hangover can be difficult to pinpoint, making the recovery a much slower and more difficult process. The symptoms can be overwhelming, severe and last longer than expected.

“I’ve seen a general rise in ‘baseline’ anxiety since Covid-19 infected our collective psyche,” says O’Reilly. “We have endured a real existential threat and we have buried many loved ones. Our faith in our ability to control our environment has been deeply shaken. We have learned that we are not in control. That fear and realisation has led to changes in our behaviour. We are more withdrawn, more inclined to ‘snap’, to be adversarial, vigilant and judgmental. We are sad and we are tired.”

This exhaustion makes it even harder to align and manage our thoughts with the aftermath of an attack lasting anywhere from 10 minutes to up to a week. Our bodies have reacted to the perceived threat and experienced an enormous chemical and hormonal reaction with adrenaline and the stress hormone, cortisol, running through our bodies. The reaction is powerful and heightens the physical response. Once the panic subsides, our bodies crash after the intense hormonal spike leaving us drained physically and mentally.

“Right now,” says O’Reilly, “many of us find that management of anxiety and the physical and mental hangover is more challenging than before. There is a sense of, when do we get a break? How much more bad news can we take?”

The hangover of an anxiety attack can include fatigue and exhaustion, recurring or sudden bouts of anxiety, broken or poor sleep, feeling restless or agitated, shaking, trembling, headaches, changes in appetite, muscle tension or body aches, and brain fog or confusion.

“Understanding ourselves and our own process is crucial. Batting anxiety away and wondering why we’re so affected just won’t cut it. It is better to acknowledge that real things are happening and our reactions to them are largely normal, proportionate and indicative that we are healthy, functioning, compassionate, empathic human beings who find suffering and the witnessing of suffering difficult. Many of us have been traumatised over the last two years. Some of us have and are experiencing vicarious trauma which is painful in a different way as we are affected by what we see on the news and on social media or hear during conversations with each other. If none of this were to affect us, that would indicate a pathology not a strength.”

Once we can attach meaning to something it can begin to feel less scary and more under our control. We are responding normally to a series of abnormal events

Caring for ourselves after an anxiety attack includes looking after both our physical and emotional wellbeing. Recognising that our bodies and minds need regulating is the first step before allowing ourselves time to rest and recuperate. Anxiety is physical work, after all, as O’Reilly says.

“It affects our heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, sleep and ability to focus,” she says. “It is not simply a transient emotion. If we can be compassionate with ourselves in knowing that, our exhaustion, fatigue, mood swings, erratic behaviour, even insomnia, will make more sense. Judging it as annoying and questioning why it’s so hard will not help. If someone breaks their leg, we don’t question their pain and desire to rest up. Why question our own exhaustion right now when it’s utterly logical? To do so is to be dismissive at best and at worst, cruel.”

Creating calm space for our minds to realign can include mindfulness, meditation, reading, listening to your favourite music, and self-compassion in recognising the upset you have experienced. We are asking our minds to relax and to separate our thoughts from the negative thinking traps and obtrusive opinions we can get stuck in.

Alleviating the physical symptoms of anxiety can include getting some fresh air and regulating our breathing, gentle exercise or stepping into the familiarity of our routines. Listening to what our bodies need is important because we are all different in our responses to anxiety, so actively addressing what our bodies and minds need in that moment is to be compassionate towards ourselves.

“Generally speaking,” says O’Reilly, “we can mind ourselves in the aftermath of, or indeed during, an anxious period by attending to our basic psychological needs. This would mean asking ourselves, what can I do today to meet my needs for personal power, freedom, connection and fun? These are the needs that can suffer when we’re under duress. It is too easy to neglect oneself.”

O’Reilly is aware that self-compassion is not a way to make anxiety go away but she believes it might help contextualise it. “Once we can attach meaning to something,” she says, “it can begin to feel less scary and more under our control. We are responding normally to a series of abnormal events. We could do with easing off on the self-judgment, reducing our media exposure, getting as much rest as we can, and where possible, notice what’s going well.”

Panic attacks

Panic attacks (episodic paroxysmal anxiety) - attacks of severe anxiety (panic) or fear (most often - fear of death, less often - fear of losing consciousness, loss of control, helplessness or fear of "going crazy"), accompanied by a rapid heartbeat and a feeling of " suffocation, shortness of breath. Sometimes there are additional symptoms such as increased blood pressure, a feeling of "internal trembling", trembling in the limbs, a feeling of "hot flashes" of heat or cold, numbness of the extremities, increased sweating, a feeling of "unstability" or dizziness, nausea, derealization or depersonalization, etc.

Panic attacks last on average 5 to 30 minutes. However, sometimes they can last several hours, and in rare cases - up to several days.

I must say that even 30 years ago this disease was extremely rare. But now the incidence of panic attacks is increasing exponentially every year! Especially in big cities. Alas, panic attacks are considered a “disease of megacities”. And they suffer, most often, people with increased anxiety and the so-called perfectionists.

Earlier, in Soviet medicine, this disorder was called " sympathoadrenal crises ". This name, more than the modern one, reflected the essence of the processes occurring in the body during panic attacks. Nevertheless, I will not bother readers with a description of biochemical processes and a list of the hormones and neurotransmitters involved in these reactions. Knowing this practically does not affect the fact of the occurrence of seizures. Because biochemical processes are just an "intermediate link" in the chain of cause and effect relationships occurrence of panic attacks . What then is the "primary link", so to speak, the root cause?

Panic attacks occur suddenly, and, as it often seems, without any external causes or under the influence of minor unpleasant factors (an ordinary quarrel in the family, another trouble at work, overcrowding and stuffiness in a subway or train car, a long “traffic jam” on the road, etc.). etc.). In fact, panic attacks always occur against the background of an already long-term depression (most common), or after repeated or severe stress (or rather, distress). Don't be surprised by this, because it is quite difficult for an ordinary person, not a specialist, to diagnose depression. Especially, at himself. Moreover, its mild or atypical forms. Especially if it lasts a year or several years (and for some people - since childhood!). In this case, they may not even remember how they felt without depression. In this variant, the body functions “with the last of its strength”, works “at the limit of its capabilities”; and some minor unpleasant event can be the “last straw” for him! Figuratively speaking, a panic attack is “hysteria of the body”, its “desperate cry: “I can’t do this anymore !!!”

Well, in the question "Who is to blame?" figured it out. Now let's move on to the equally important question "What to do?" The fact that no one in the world has yet died from panic attacks is little consolation for those suffering from this excruciating disorder. To say that panic attacks are an unpleasant state is an understatement! These are unbearable sensations, and in the most severe cases, a real feeling of approaching death, which a person is sometimes forced to experience daily! And most importantly, he does not understand what is happening to him, and how to stop it!

Panic attacks sharply reduce the quality of a person's life, subordinating her entire expectation of the next attack. And, accordingly, they affect social activity, sometimes making a person completely incapacitated.

When panic attacks first appeared in the clinical practice of physicians, they were treated empirically with various sedatives and tranquilizers. However, after their cancellation, the seizures reappeared, and with prolonged use of these drugs, tolerance (insensitivity) inevitably and rather quickly set in. Therefore, in order to stop panic attacks, it was necessary to constantly increase doses or resort to more “strong” tranquilizers. But everywhere there is a limit: the number of tranquilizers is not unlimited, especially their doses. It was necessary to remember another very important aspect: long-term use of these drugs causes dependence on them. And after the abolition of tranquilizers, the symptoms of mental and physical withdrawal joined the renewed panic attacks, which further worsened the patient's condition.

Then the tactics of treatment were somewhat changed: antidepressants were added to "light" or small doses of "medium-powered" tranquilizers. And it was a "breakthrough" in the treatment of panic attacks! Because antidepressants do not just "relieve" the symptoms, but they affect the foundation on which these attacks are based - depression itself! Of course, in modern medicine there are a huge number of antidepressants, and the effectiveness of their effect on panic attacks is very different. But an experienced psychotherapist or psychiatrist can quite accurately select a drug that is suitable for a particular person. It is important to note that antidepressants have a cumulative effect, so their therapeutic effect does not appear immediately after the appointment, but after a certain time (on average, after a month). And, here, the full duration of treatment with antidepressants is, at best, from 6 to 12 months, and sometimes up to several years.

At the same time, there are cases of especially severe courses of panic attacks, when the appointment of even "powerful" antidepressants for a sufficiently long time does not bring the desired effect, i. e. panic attacks do not stop completely, but only become less pronounced or occur less frequently. In this version, a person, anyway, does not feel healthy and constantly lives in fear of the next attack. In this case, doctors are forced to launch "heavy artillery" - to add NEUROLEPTICS to the treatment, which patients have to take for quite a long time. Antipsychotics have a large number of unpleasant side effects, which is why many patients refuse them.

However, there is another way to treat panic attacks. He is not a drug! That is, there is a REAL METHOD OF COMPLETE CURING FROM PANIC ATTACKS, ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT RESORTING TO ANY KIND OF MEDICINES !!! This method is PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC.

In the modern world there are a lot of different types and directions of psychotherapy. But, it must be said bluntly that with panic attacks, most of them are not effective without medical support.

However, the method that I use in my psychotherapeutic work is unique. It often allows you to completely eliminate panic attacks in 1 session! One or two more sessions are required to eliminate the FEAR of the appearance of seizures (or their expectation).

But in order to begin the direct elimination of panic attacks, a certain “intellectual” preparation of the patient is necessary. It requires from 8 to 12 sessions (depending on the severity of the disease and the personal characteristics of the patient) with a frequency of 1-2 sessions per week.

After eliminating panic attacks and the fear of their occurrence, it is extremely important to “develop” the underlying causes that led to their appearance. This will be a kind of "insurance" against the occurrence of panic attacks in the future. This requires 3-4 months on average (with the frequency of classes 1 time per week). But, having worked through these “deep roots”, a person not only completely gets rid of panic attacks, but also depression, solves many personal problems and begins to live a full life!

Panic attacks. Whom to contact and how a neurologist can help?

Over the past 2 years, much has changed in the life of all mankind. We have to adapt to new, sometimes very difficult, conditions. From TV and the Internet, we are constantly pressed with disturbing news and not the best forecasts, or the unknown in the future.

Someone copes with this easily and is ready for change, while someone falls into a state of panic and cannot do anything about it. The normal reaction of people when faced with the difficulties of life is to try to understand what is happening and what to do with it next.

Our body is a mirror of our mental state and reflects these problems in the form of symptoms that are difficult to distinguish from serious diseases of organic origin.

On one not the best day, a person is faced with a new state for himself and begins to suspect that has covered him with a panic attack . Let's figure out what it is, how to survive this state and not go crazy (despite the fact that before that you clearly controlled everything in life) and what strategy to develop in order to emerge victorious from this situation.

Panic attack (panic) is a short-term episode of intense anxiety with a sudden onset, reaching a maximum within a few minutes, accompanied by anxiety or fear of death, loss of control, combined with severe disturbances in the work of the heart, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract.

If this condition begins to recur (with the symptoms may vary slightly), then doctors are already talking about panic disorder or episodic paroxysmal anxiety . Unfortunately, the patient quickly develops a fear of waiting for an attack.

Signs of a panic attack

  • Heart . The characteristic onset of an attack is accompanied by symptoms from the cardiovascular system - with a sudden onset of a "strong heartbeat", a feeling of "interruptions", "stop", discomfort or pain in the region of the heart.

  • Pressure . Most panic attacks are accompanied by a rise in blood pressure, the numbers of which can be quite high.

  • Suffocation . The most pronounced violations in the respiratory system: shortness of breath, a feeling of lack of air with shortness of breath and hyperventilation, "a feeling of suffocation." Describing an attack, patients report that they “caught their throat”, “the air stopped flowing”, “it became stuffy”.

  • Indigestion . Gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, belching, epigastric discomfort, feeling of fullness or abdominal pain may also be observed. As a rule, at the time of a panic attack, dizziness, sweating, tremor with a feeling of chills, “waves” of heat and cold, paresthesia, coldness of the hands and feet are observed.

  • Appearance . Changes in complexion, pulse rate, fluctuations in blood pressure are objectively determined, and dissociation is often found between the subjective experience of autonomic disorders by patients and their severity during an objective examination.

The disease can develop slowly, over months or years, or it can develop quickly, over days or weeks.

As panic attacks continue, they can be associated with various life circumstances, which become, as it were, conditioned stimuli. Attacks can be repeated in similar situations in which the attack occurred for the first time (metro, transport, loneliness), fear is formed in anticipation of an attack.

How can you help yourself with a panic attack?

  1. Analyze the situation . If you have the above symptoms, you must first determine whether this is a panic attack as a one-time occurrence against the background of stress (illness) or there is a fixation of panic and you will clearly need medical help.
  2. Focus on your breath . Remember that the first first aid is to go out into the air, deeply and consciously begin to breathe. If there is no way to walk, then just lie down, take a comfortable position, breathe deeply and slowly.
  3. Don't be alone . Do not hesitate to ask for help from those who are nearby, do not hide your condition. Discuss what happened. Don't be alone with the problem!
  4. Make an appointment with a doctor . If the episodes recur, a doctor can help resolve the problem. Before taking, think about the circumstances under which seizures occur. These can be:
  • viewing disturbing news;
  • conversation with a friend, quarrel with relatives;
  • situation at work with colleagues;
  • study exam;
  • watching movies;
  • trip in public transport, in an elevator, etc. ).

Panic attack treatment by a neurologist

Many people ask the question: how and how can a neurologist help me? It's forever. Nothing like this! It is a myth. Panic attacks are very well treated. If you think about it, it's time to contact a neurologist and strictly follow his recommendations.
  • The doctor will examine you,
  • will conduct tests,
  • listens carefully, asks specific questions,
  • will match the symptoms and facts of your life,
  • will prescribe a basic treatment that will start working immediately.
  • If necessary, will prescribe additional examinations.

The doctor will tell you how to act correctly in your individual situation!

  1. If at the appointment he reveals violations of the cardiovascular system that are clearly permanent in nature, he will refer you to a cardiologist, for an ECG, for monitoring heart rate (Holter).

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