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Anxiety alcohol and heart rate.
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Anxiety alcohol and heart rate.

Hello guys,

I'll start from the begging.

I'm an 18 year old male and for the past 2-3 years I've been suffering with anxiety but recently I've been getting a lot better.

I have a question about alcohol, but first of all, when my anxiety was at its worse, I started to get fast heart rates so I went to my doctor with this and I had some ECG tests done. The ECG came back fine but it picked up a fast heart rate which was because I was anxious when I was having the ECG done.

My cardiac doctor scheduled a heart echo scan and a 24 hour ECG tape. I've had both tests done now and I'm awaiting results, my cardiac doctor before the test assured me that their was nothing wrong with my heart and he was only doing these tests to put my mind at ease. I'm still waiting for the results from both of these tests.

Ok, now on to the alcohol part.

Before my anxiety was at its peak, I was a social drinker with my friends, I'd go to clubs and bars and drink alcohol, I could drink about 5 pints every time we went out and I wouldn't notice any cardiac symptoms at all, so I could go out with friends and drink alcohol without any problems and best of all I could enjoy my self.

One day I was bored and I decided to do some Googling on how alcohol effects the heart, then I started to learn about the heart and how it works etc, then the next time I went out drinking I felt my pulse and I felt that my heart was beating pretty fast (over 100BPM) and this sent me into a panic attack and I never drank alcohol again.

About 7 months after that event, my anxiety started to clear up and I started going out to bars and clubs with my mates but I DIDN'T touch alcohol, I just drank soft drinks.... When I settled back into it I thought I'd try a drink with alcohol and when I did, I put my hand on my chest and felt my heart beating pretty fast and I noticed that it was doing frequent missed beats and beats that felt like 'half-beats'. Bearing in mind that I was anxious even before I started to drink the alcohol because I had social anxiety, and when I started to drink the alcohol I felt even more anxious because I was thinking 'what if this causes another panic attack etc'.

So my question is, do you think it was the alcohol or anxiety causing these skipped beats? I know that alcohl does increase heart rate, but I don't know if it should increase heart rate over 100BPM.

I'd just like to be able to socially drink with my friends again as I feel it'd help me get my social life back on track and I might even start to enjoy my self again.

Any advice/information is GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks very much.
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6 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
Increased heart rate is a given side effect of alcohol consumption.  I don't think 100BPM would be considered all that high if youve had a few drinks.

I never had problems with alcohol consumption until recently.  When I was younger, I could easily drink a bottle of wine or several beers without any ill effects.  Now, if I have more than one of either, I wake up in the night with a racing heart. I am 28 with SVT/structurally normal heart.  This transition seemed to happen over night.  I guess its quite common for people with arrhythmia issues.
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry, I forgot to mention the most important thing:  wait for your test results to make sure you have a structurally normal heart.  If that is the case, you are fine and likely just a little sensetive to alcohol.  Go easy with drinking and try to relieve your anxiety the natural way with exercise etc...
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Avatar_f_tn
I can't drink anymore either.., I hate it. I was never a huge drinker, but I did enjoy catching  buzz with my friends. I am 39.., (a very young 39 :-) ), at around 25 I noticed my heart beat really quickly after a couple of drinks and instead of feeling relaxed I feel anxious. I still go out with my friends and I just go up to the bar and get club soda with a lime and no one really notices. If anyone notices/asks me why I'm not drinking I just tell them "alcohol makes me sick" and seems that do the trick. They are all getting happy anyway so no one really notices. It's amazing how fun it is to stay sober and watch how your friends act and what they say..., you might want to try it.

Alcohol is a stimulant.., and it is a depressant at the same time. That's why you'll see drunk people feeling really "good and relaxed" but they are running around and being very active. It depresses parts of the brain giving you that "buzz" feeling, but it actually stimulates your body physically. The more you drink the higher the heart rate goes.., some one who is passed out will generally have a high heart rate. Dehydration also makes this worse and causes an increased heart rate the "day after." And if your prone to irregular heart rate.., my experience is that dehydration can set that off as well.

If you think about someone as young as yourself, when you exercise, your heart rate will easily go to 120-180.., and that's on a healthy/normal heart. So for your heart rate to be at 100 when your out, and moving around, and drinking alcohol, and anxious.., it's just not that high.

Oh, also, if you eat a good solid meal before you have a drink it will lessen this effect. (At least that has been my experience).

Always your Dr. is your best source for advice.
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Avatar_f_tn
hello,:) i totaly understand, i am exactly the same, i was in hospital a few weeks ago because i thought i was having a heartatack, i am only 18 years old so it was a shock but doctors told me it was a panick attack. I have these regualrly and when my heart rate was checked it was at 180 but i think this was because i was anxious and new they were checking my heart rate. I went to my doctors and told him about my panick attacks and fast heart rate and he give me beta blockers which are supposed to relax you but did not work and now i am getting councilling which apparently works alot better for anxiety. i also wont drink alcohol anymore because i am constantly checking my heartbeat, i dont know either whether it is alcohol or anxiety which makes my heartrate faster as i never felt my heartrate when i was drinking alcohol before i started having panick attacks, i am now just constantly thinking about my heartrate which is making it alot faster and making me more anxious and i miss being able to have a drink with my friends... i wouldnt worry there are alot of people the same with a much faster heartbeat.
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Avatar_m_tn
same  here. I just turned 29 and noticed this recently. I normally have low blood pressure and a low heart rate, so when my heart beats fast it's noticeable. I have anxiety as well and it seems like over night I can't drink any more. I can't drink hard alcohol and can't have caffeine because the next day I feel like it's a race to stay alive all day. I'm okay with a couple of glasses white wine and light beer, but have made the decision to stay away from alcohol. Which *****, because I still have a half of bottle of Crown I bought duty free :-)
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Avatar_n_tn
in my opinion 2 drinks are fine....as long as you have 8oz of water between them...then you can enjoy your drinks and not have to worry about thefastbeats in the middle of the nite...yrs of experience here...do this...you'll be fine
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