Understanding Chest Pain After Drinking Alcohol

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The potential negative effects of alcohol abuse include damage to the heart. If you experience chest pains after drinking, do not ignore this symptom. It could be a sign of a serious problem.

Can Drinking Alcohol Cause Chest Pain?

Alcohol can cause a wide range of immediate and long-term effects. One of these effects is pain in the chest. Chest pains, in turn, can be a sign of either reversible damage or extensive harm. 


If you have chest pains immediately after drinking alcohol or after a bit of time has passed since your last drink, this could indicate problems such as:


If your chest pains after drinking are related to heart damage, you may also develop symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Nausea

How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect The Heart?

Alcohol abuse can affect the heart in many ways, including the following:

  • Heavy drinking has been associated with high blood pressure. Over time, this condition can damage the arteries and place an unsustainable strain on the heart muscle itself.
  • Continued alcohol abuse can distort the heart, causing it to become enlarged or stretched. This can prevent the heart from functioning at full capacity.
  • Alcohol abuse is associated with other heart-unfriendly behaviors, such as smoking, overeating, and lack of appropriate exercise. 
  • If a person drinks in an attempt to ease symptoms of anxiety or stress, their alcohol abuse may be masking an underlying mental health concern that has been linked to chest pain and other physical symptoms.

What to Do if You Have Chest Pains After Drinking Alcohol

If you have chest pains after drinking alcohol, you should take two immediate steps:

  1. Stop drinking
  2. Get appropriate medical attention


You can’t self-diagnose the nature or extent of a possible heart problem based solely on the presence of chest pains immediately after drinking alcohol. The only way to be sure about the source of this discomfort – and the risk it poses to your continued health – is to be examined by a qualified healthcare provider.

Once they have determined why, exactly, you have been experiencing chest pains after drinking, your healthcare provider can discuss ways to prevent future pain. Depending on the results of your examination, they may talk to you about lifestyle changes, medication, or certain medical procedures to address any damage that your heart has incurred.

There’s a good chance that your doctor’s lifestyle suggestions will include significantly reducing the amount and frequency of your alcohol intake, or quitting drinking completely. If you have become dependent on alcohol, this may be difficult to do. But if you fail to quit drinking, you may be literally risking your life.

What if I Can’t Stop Drinking Alcohol?

If you are unable to stop drinking alcohol on your own, don’t despair. Alcohol use disorder, which is the clinical term for alcoholism, is a treatable condition. When you find the type and level of care that align with your needs and goals, you can build a healthier life for yourself, free from the constraints of compulsive alcohol abuse.

When you are evaluating your options, it’s important to review the levels of care that a facility offers as well as therapies and support services they provide. For example, at Renewal Health Group facilities in southern California, you can receive personalized treatment for alcoholism at the following levels:

  • Detoxification: Our alcoholism detox can keep you safe and as comfortable as possible while you are going through withdrawal.
  • Residential treatment: Residential treatment offers the opportunity to temporarily step away from the stress and pressure of everyday life, so you can focus your full attention on your health.
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP): A PHP can be the ideal option if you can benefit from full days of treatment, but you don’t require round-the-clock support.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP): At the IOP level, you may have time to work part-time or take classes, while still participating in partial days of treatment multiple times each week.
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient rehab offers maximum flexibility and can be an excellent source of ongoing support as you progress in your recovery.


Depending on your needs and which program you are enrolled in, your care may include elements such as the following:

  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • EMDR and other trauma-focused therapies
  • Holistic therapy
  • Neurofeedback therapy


To support your continued recovery and minimize your risk for once again experiencing chest pains after drinking, we also offer detailed discharge planning and robust aftercare services. 

Contact Renewal Health Group About Our Alcohol Rehab Centers in California

With multiple centers at convenient locations in southern California, Renewal Health Group is a premier provider of life-affirming care for adults whose lives have been disrupted by alcohol addiction and some co-occurring mental health concerns.

Customized treatment is a hallmark of the Renewal Health Group experience. This means that no two people will follow completely identical paths while they are with us. But everyone can expect to benefit from certain fundamentals of our programming, such as an emphasis on patient safety, a commitment to compassionate care, and an unwavering belief that each person deserves to receive quality services within a welcoming and respectful environment.

To learn more about us, or to schedule a free assessment for yourself or a member of your family, please visit our Contact page or call us today.

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