Can a person with PTSD get drunk? Would it cause a panic attack?

Komeds123

New Here
Hello,
I was wondering if getting drunk with PTSD was a possibility.
I had a traumatic experience with drugs around a year ago and haven’t really tried getting drunk since, I’ve taken a few sips of alcohol if I had the opportunity but this seemed to make me hypervigilant. Would getting fully drunk just cause a panic attack?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Hi and welcome.
Anyone can get drunk. What happens then depends on so many things.
Do you want to get drunk? And if you do, do you know why?

When I was a young teenager and then young adult, I got drunk and took drugs to numb and block out. Worked wonderfully for that. No panic attacks at all (although plenty of highs that took me to dark places.....) But absolutely unhealthy for me in all sorts of ways (what I did under the influence, etc, became a person I am not proud of).

I think the questions really are about why you want to get drunk?
Drinking alcohol doesn't have to result in being drunk. If it does, then there is a problem going on.....
 

Friday

Moderator
I’ve taken a few sips of alcohol if I had the opportunity but this seemed to make me hypervigilant
Sounds like either drinking, or the effects, or both... are a trigger for you.

The following would be some good reading on managing triggers & stressors.



Would getting fully drunk just cause a panic attack?
Very probably. Or flashbacks. Or an anxiety attack. Or any other symptomatic response to a trigger. Or it may not. Regardless, I think approaching drinking cautiously is sensible, especially as you’ve had some indications it’s going to be challenging for you.
I was wondering if getting drunk with PTSD was a possibility.
In short? Yes.

But the longer answer is that there’s a huge spectrum of responses/reactions to drinking (even without being on meds, which often create a dangerous and toxic interaction).

On one end of the spectrum many people abuse alcohol for various reasons, or become addicted to alcohol. (2 different things). Many others drink in moderation (including occasionally to excess, without rising to the level of abuse; and including as a tool / OTC self medicating. Like having a single beer/glass of wine to relax their anxiety before or after doing something stressful, not the classic “self medicating” that is synonymous with alcohol abuse). Many others abstain entirely, because it affects their symptoms or life badly. <<< And those are just snippets from the PTSD list. Personal preference also plays a huge role. Many people who could drink? Simply don’t like to.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Alcohol can make you paranoid. I'm an alcoholic so I don't drink. It masks painful and hurtful thoughts and feelings which then just come back when your hungover or sober again. You wake up feeling like shit and with less money and possibly guilt over reactive or bad drunk behaviour depending on how much you drink, how your behaving and what's going on in your life!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to preach to you, I'm just trying to answer your question from my experience. 😊 it's best to try and find other ways to cope.
 

{sxshi}

Not Active
Hello,
I was wondering if getting drunk with PTSD was a possibility.
I had a traumatic experience with drugs around a year ago and haven’t really tried getting drunk since, I’ve taken a few sips of alcohol if I had the opportunity but this seemed to make me hypervigilant. Would getting fully drunk just cause a panic attack?
It's definitely possible to get drunk and probably a little worse in its outcome. Everything personal finds a way out when I'm intoxicated, and it affects relationships. Maybe you've gone through the same? After a few years of bad addiction, I think alcohol is a bad/very tempting coping strategy. The temporary high isnt worth the embarrassment the day after
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
I don’t drink anymore because the side effects are horrible. I get bad night terrors and have horrible meltdowns. It’s not worth it.
Yes same here. Looking back I think regrets are nonsense, but I can say drinking was a disaster for me. I don’t feel like drinking because even a few drinks and I won’t sleep, and I won’t be myself the next day. That’s about forty years late oh well.
 

RussellSue

Not Active
The likelihood of becoming dependent on alcohol while having PTSD is pretty high. I stopped drinking many moons ago because I was definitely swinging that direction. I was a WHOLE LOT more comfortable drunk than I was sober and that was a great big red flag for me.

I didn't personally have any issues actually getting drunk. I was a "happy" drunk far more often than not and that was part of why I enjoyed it. Nevertheless, I have heard a lot of rough stories from sufferers through the years and how people react to drugs and alcohol is very personal.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
I don’t feel like starting a thread so I’ll do this here. I’m upset and I wanna take it out on someone but there is a positive in it as well.

If you are posting on here and you drink a lot? Let me put that another way. Boy I feel so upset and I’m just glad I’m not puking on top of it? I know booze works. I’m just so glad I don’t have a hangover which takes emotional upset to horror movie level. How are the relationship problems going?

Unfortunately for me I’ll get in bed with the bottle in hope I’ll never have to sober up. Virtue is it’s own reward I suppose but I’ve been thinking about this for months because in spite of my isolation I’ve been exposed to someone else’s drinking recently and it’s awful.

Overall if the adults in my childhood didn’t drink, and If I had avoided alcohol, or been able to ‘handle it’ better, it’s hard to imagine that wouldn’t have made things a whole lot better?
 

StartingFire

New Here
I used to drink partly to numb my feelings and avoid the reality of my life. Drinking got ugly at times (I'm a sober alcoholic in recovery now) but it was a coping mechanism that I used for years. It worked, in the sense that I was able to change how I felt, numb my feelings, quell anxiety (in the moment - the rebound anxiety when I was hungover was nasty.) But it came at a high cost, and became a problem in its own right.

There are a lot of people in recovery who are trauma survivors and many of them probably have PTSD to some extent. I've heard a lot of people in sobriety support groups talk about PTSD type symptoms related to trauma.

It doesn't seem like it's necessarily a bad thing that drinking doesn't work for you. Imagine if it did, and you could escape your PTSD while you were drunk? It's a short step from that to full-blown alcoholism, believe me. Much better in the long run to face this stuff sober.
 
Hello,
I was wondering if getting drunk with PTSD was a possibility.
I had a traumatic experience with drugs around a year ago and haven’t really tried getting drunk since, I’ve taken a few sips of alcohol if I had the opportunity but this seemed to make me hypervigilant. Would getting fully drunk just cause a panic attack?


Like others have said, yes. Did you ever get drunk before you had PTSD? Everyone responds different some throw sandwiches at the wall, but I will blackout and unknowingly still be texting friends but veering off into details about past trauma's, or wake up even sicker because of reading a message on facebook I don't recall, that no one understands or is just embarrassing as all get out. Not waking up to that anymore is a game changer. For myself I have impulse control when it comes to ANYthing, ice cream, popcorn, alcohol. Until I started gummies with THC I was never able to find such good self control honestly. Media and the way stores display alcohol can really make it seem so alluring but they are only in it for the money not your well being. Sure back in the day two or three beers I would feel GREAT and say well gosh gee golly why don't I have four and five and FIFTEEN>..wooops down the rabbit hole I would slide. What is it you were hoping to achieve by drinking? After weeding out as many of the abusive/toxic/selfish people in my life I have had the pleasure to realize that just good vibes with uplifting folks can create that same happiness and relief I get with THC or a couple of beers. When that isn't an option, hiking, swimming, silence, or the loudest volume of a favorite song, a drive down a long road... all these I have found can induce the feelings a substance can mimic ...well the good part before it "drowns" us after too much. Sorry to hear about your trauma with the drugs, I am very glad you are alive and well to discuss this. :)
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
If I am bored and my mind has nothing to do but ruminate, drinking is a very bad idea. If I am with family or at an event like a concert or a movie, drinking is almost required, I enjoy it and it does me no harm PTSD wise. I think you are correct that it would be very likely your symptoms would be worse if you drank more.
I never drink alone for this reason more than any other. If my mind is lubricated, it spins to the problems and gets stuck. Isn't that the classic tear/beer recipe?
 
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