Why Alcohol Causes Anxiety

There are basically 6 reasons why alcohol consumption and hangovers make many people anxious and I’m going tell you what they are. I want to share this with you so that you can be more informed and avoid becoming alcohol’s punching bag.

Ever since I became sick with nervous illness I’ve heard a lot of people say that anxiety sufferers should not drink alcohol because it makes you more nervous than you already are.

I’ve always found this to be ironic because there are so many anxiety sufferers that drink alcohol to cope with their anxiety, but true it is.

Now, the fact that alcohol can cause anxiety is just that, a fact. It is a scientifically based understanding, so this is not simple conjecture on my part.

Will alcohol affect all people this way? Probably not, but as an anxiety sufferer you should be aware of the possible pitfalls of alcohol consumption, so pay close attention.

Scientists believe that alcohol causes or at least increases anxiety in  6 basic ways and here they are.

1. Mood

Alcohol can affect our mood because it can affect the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a feel good brain chemical that when in short supply can cause feelings of anxiety and depression.

2. Drop in blood sugar

A drop in blood sugar can cause dizziness, confusion, weakness, nervousness, shaking and numbness. These symptoms can most certainly trigger a bout of anxiety.

3. Dehydration

This has been known to cause nausea, dizziness, fatigue, light-headedness and muscle weakness. These symptoms wouldn’t cause anxiety per say but they add to a sense of illness which fosters anxiety.

4. Nervous System

The nervous system is affected because in order for the body to fight off the sedative effects of alcohol it puts the body into a state of hyperactivity in order to counteract this effect. This hyperactivity can lead to shaking, light/sound sensitivity and sleep deprivation.

5. Heart Rate

Your heart rate can become elevated as a result of consuming alcohol which can cause a palpitation false alarm and put you into a state of anxious anticipation. Is it a heart attack or isn’t it you might ask. This “what if” questioning can increase your general state of anxiety.

6. Concentration

A hard night of drinking can also make you hazy, bring on headaches and create a sense of disorientation.

So if you’re going to have a glass of wine with dinner I don’t think you should be concerned. On the other hand, if you’re a heavy drinker, or binge drinker, then this might cause a real problem for you.

According to The Times Online, scientists don’t know exactly why all this happens but they do suggest that you eat before drinking, drink water in between drinks, and stay in bed if you are hung over to avoid all the problems I outlined above.

Some would say that maybe you shouldn’t drink at all if you have an anxiety disorder – that’s debatable. Do you think that alcohol should be avoided at all cost when someone has an anxiety disorder?

I don’t think that alcohol should be avoided if drinking is part of your social repertoire, however, I also know that moderation and good sense should be your guide.

In addition, although alcohol does have a sedative effect it should not be used as a coping tool. This type of behavior can lead to alcoholism and worse yet, more anxiety.

So if you know that you’re a light weight, or if you already know that alcohol makes you anxious, don’t bother. Maybe I don’t need to say it, but really some people just don’t know when to say no.

Note: I want to hear your opinions. Let me know what you think about this issue – comment below.

Update

After waiting forever I finally completed a podcast for this article. Press play to listen now.

anxiety symptoms

Comments

  1. Ruth says

    Todd,
    I have to agree with you about the repercussions of the damage of childhood. I had a similar experience to you. My father was converted to Catholicism and had us around a mat on Sunday evenings to recite the Catechism off by heart and we had to write essays. All this was done because the Catholic school I had to attend, all girls, was not up to par by his religious standards and so we had to have extra studying by him. He would grade our papers but my older sister always got the better grade, and I now know why: he was raping her when she was 13 and I was 11. I think I took to drinking to always being made to feel inferior and unintelligent. When I was a late teen I drank a LOT, like blackouts/sleeping around on one night stands/lots of pubbing and clubbing. I do think and have read that a lot of drinkers have poor self esteem.

    These days no I’m almost 45, I of course don’t blame him for why certain things in my life didn’t work out: lack of commitment, silly decisions that were irrational, life going down too many unfocused paths and feeling lost and using major travel as a way to try to find myself/run away.

    Anyway, it seems your path is good right now. Congratulations on that. As long for now I don’t binge drink, which I don’t ever do, just a steady stream of white wine, I’ll be okay till the next time I have to be sober, which may have to be soon as I start some major work at the beginning of February. I could do with a blood test to see how the liver/kidneys are doing but I’ll have to wait till I get sober to do that!

  2. Todd says

    Hi J- You know, I totally get it. My biggest fear was that I would find sobriety to be utterly boring. I won’t lie, at first it was. But then I started to notice as my head cleared and my motivation improved, I could sit down and enjoy the things I liked to do with a buzz and still enjoy them. It sounds very weird to say that from someone who doesn’t drink but for those that do you totally get what I mean.

    My advice to you is to try it. Really give it a go. Challenge yourself to break the cycle even if it’s only temporary. It’s important to realize this isn’t about giving up drinking. It’s about adjusting your lifestyle. It’s just like someone obese who decides to free themselves of the inevitable failures of diets by simply adjusting the way they approach food and the kinds they eat to get to a better life of health.

    The hardest part is ALWAYS the first minute, hour, day and week. Once you get past those milestones, it gets easier. How much so obviously depends on the person but it DOES. Can’t do a week? Try a few days. Can’t go cold turkey? Simply cut out a couple extra cans a day until you’re down to none. Then go a few days without. I think you will be pleasantly surprised the internal changes that occur even that quickly.

    For me it was fear. I was afraid my liver would start to scar. It sure was on that path if I kept up my binging behaviour. My enzymes were higher with each test. I never gave my liver more than 4 days off to heal and that just wasn’t enough. It needs a good 14-21 days in between drinking to heal itself. So find your motivation and give it a go. I’m not trying to be preachy about it, just talking like a person who decided to take a break and one week turned into nearly two months before I even knew what hit me.

    Now? I could totally go as long as I want without drinking. I won’t though. I know myself and I know I will always love a good glass of wine, especially during holidays and special occasions when everyone else around me is as well. But to release myself from my weekend binging where that translated to mostly drinking alone after the wife went to bed, and hiding the bottles so I wouldn’t have to justify my indulgence? Gone. Buh-bye, baby. Nothing but unhappy endings await that story.

    If you don’t want to just yet or never? That’s alright man. No judgement either way with me. Do what moves you. What feels right. Either way, good luck!

  3. Todd says

    Ruth, your childhood can absolutely explain some of the freedoms you felt with alcohol, to rise above and beyond that pain you must have endured. It’s a very healthy attitude that you choose not to blame your father for the hardships you have or perhaps still do. A lot of people wouldn’t be able to avoid the trap of blame. Being proactive and working on yourself is a much more noble feat than resentment and blame, although much more difficult a road so my hat’s off.

    For any regular drinker I think it’s never a bad idea to get full blood work done. Discover your baseline and do what you can to keep those numbers outside of the flag zone. I’m a hypochondirac so I am easily motivated by fear of bad health so it’s a great motivator for me. Some may not care enough but I hope that’s not true for anyone here. Why can’t we have our wine and drink it too? By removing binging from the equation, we can still enjoy a happy, productive life.

    Keep on fightin’ the fight Ruth!

  4. J says

    Ruth…..

    i have noticed that almost every person i talked to that went to therapy says initiall (and i mean like the first or second visit) that it helps, but then very shortly after almost EVERYONE says “it does nothing”…I have never gone to therapy simply for that rreason—i firmly believe that i know more, and am wiser than most of the so called idiot therapists out there…I mean, they mean well, and its their “job”, but most have NO idea what they are talking about and get all their knowlege from a text book, with very little “life” experience….Ruth, you’ve had some very bad posts in the past with horrible anxiety and depression, and then you were doing good and sober for a while….Please DONT let it get to that point again, take a break from the drinking before you get to “that’ point again..OK buddy?? i dont want to see you in that rough shape again..I hope everyone is doing ok….

  5. J says

    Todd.

    always enjoy hearing your replies…I have to ASK….I know i’ve asked before, but i need constant reinforcement, and your truthful insight about somethhing….Well, since i do give my drinking 1-2 days a break a week, but i find myself depressed alot, and i’m wondering if you personally have noticd and could comment on if the depression TRULY lessens if the drinking stops for days/weeks?? I mean, i just think if i could TRULY believe in my heart that the depression, and “most” of the anxiety would go away if i stopped drinking for a few weeks at least, then it would be “real” motivation for me……But i’m just not convinced that the depression will go away if hte alcohol goes away/?? I’m not “severely” depressed, but enough i guess……..Just wanted your opinion…

  6. Todd says

    J – You know I gotta say it my friend. The first thing I have to say which I know is a “Well duh!” thing to say, but it makes me feel better all the same…

    I’m not a medical professional so please take my advice with that very much in mind.

    Okay with that out of the way I have to say that depression for me isn’t extreme but it is markedly worse after alcohol has been in my system for a couple of days or more. The depressive self loathing is nearly intolerable after a binge. Something in alcohol really f*cks with your thinking. We know alcohol is a depressant and by nature the more you drink the more depressed your system gets. This occurs on many levels, not just the obvious “I feel depressed” surface feelings. I think Ruth is right…A lot of drinkers suffer from low self esteem or a lack of confidence in some area or areas of their lives. I know I do. When I take a break from alcohol the feeling of freedom, of exponential confidence, less depressed, more motivated, better sleep, better exercise, better state of mind feels like MAGIC.

    Yes, putting down the bottle for a GOOD stretch of time will do wonders to your mind, body and spirit. The longer you go, the better you feel. I always say we are all different how we react to choices we make but taking a lengthy hiatus from toxins built up in your system empowers you. It’s a no-brainer. That’s why I urge anyone to give it a try.

    Note I am not saying quit for life. That is a very personal decision and one I would never ask anyone to do. Taking breaks? Definitely. There is nothing bad that comes from cleaning out your system. The benefits are outstanding and obvious within 72 hours.

    I can’t say that your depression and anxiety would go away completely if you took alcohol out of the equation but I can guarantee you would notice a definitive and increased reduction of both with each passing week you were on a dry spell. I still have to watch my intake of other triggers like caffeine, MSG and sugar. When I do I feel like a new man.

    Look it at this way. What do you have to lose? Give it a try. I would be thrilled to read your posts after a month of no drinking. I would bet $100 bucks there would be a positive difference.

  7. J says

    Todd,

    thanks for the sound advice…I will stew on it for real. I think my BIGGEST hurdle here is NOT the craving for alcohol, NOT the peer pressure, just the ‘sheer boredom” i feel daily, and when i crack open those few beers in the evening–everything becomes “fun”….How does one attain that “fun” feeling in everyday activities without alcohol? if i could answer that, i could probably give up the drinking..

  8. Todd says

    The key is to release from the habitual use of alcohol to rely on releasing serotonin. There are many natural and healthy ways to release serotonin and endorphines that don’t involve drinking or drugs. Here’s an article I came across that could be of help…

    Easy and Natural Ways to Raise Low Serotonin Levels

    Copyright © 2007 Mary Ann Copson

    Research indicates that in the United States 60-80% of the people, especially women, have low serotonin levels. You don’t have to get caught in the low serotonin cycle of hopelessness and despair. You can alter your low serotonin levels by carefully orchestrating your foods, activities and daily routines and habits.

    You alter your brain chemistry, manipulate your neurochemical profile and affect your body’s physiology every day by what you do and don’t eat, what you think about, and how and where you spend your time. Through your daily behaviors and the environments in which you spend your time, you create your biochemical profile and this is reflected in the emotions, energy, thoughts, actions, and psychological states that either bring you into peak performance or that block your best functioning.

    You have an enormous power to shape your inner world – your experience of life. What you do every day, what you eat, when you eat it, what activities you engage in and when you engage in them, what kind of environment in which you live and work – everything you do and do not do – shapes how you feel, think and how you experience your life.

    You can create the range of emotions, energy levels and intellectual and creative functioning that you want. You can learn how to use what you do and do not do everyday and how you do it to create inner strength, hope, joy, mental alertness, and enthusiasm. By designing a life that keeps your biochemistry in balance you can maintain a state of optimal wellness, vitality and performance. When you understand the optimal physiological requirements of your body operating at its best, you can design your lifestyle to provide the diet, exercise, behaviors, thoughts, scheduling, and environment to support and nourish this optimal state of functioning in your body.

    1. Serotonin levels are increased by a carbohydrate rich diet.

    When you eat carbohydrates it results in a rise in insulin levels that acts to usher the amino acid tryptophan into the brain. Tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin. One and a half ounces of carbohydrate food (1/4 cup of oatmeal or a piece of sourdough bread) will significantly boost brain levels of serotonin. The healthiest carbohydrates to use are whole grain, low glycemic index carbohydrates such as barley, oats, buckwheat and carbohydrate rich vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes and squashes. Fruits and most other vegetables have a neutral effect on brain chemistry.

    2. Eat the kinds of protein that favor serotonin production.

    These proteins are high in the amino acid tryptophan: chicken, white flakey fish, lean cuts of pork, veal, cottage cheese, lamb, low fat cheeses, low fat milk and dairy products, soy and legumes.

    3. All meditative activities raise serotonin levels.

    Spend time in a natural place such as a forest, park, mountains, or seashore.

    Prayer, meditation, positive visualization boost serotonin levels and your feelings of well being, relaxed concentration and peace.

    Engage in low arousal, highly meditative and internal spiritual practices that relax you.

    Try relaxing activities such as hobbies or crafts.

    4. Engage in exercise that increases your heart rate somewhat but not significantly.

    Strolling, yoga, non-aerobic swimming, bike riding when done at least 4 days in a row a week will over a period of 60 days increase your baseline serotonin levels.

    5. Have a regular wake sleep cycle.

    The production of serotonin for the next day requires at least 7 continuous hours of sound high quality sleep the night before.

    6. Get out in the sun at least 30 minutes in the morning and for 2 hours throughout the day.

    Sunlight burns off melatonin produced the night before. The presence of high levels of melatonin consumes serotonin. Sunlight suppressed the production of melatonin and allows your serotonin levels to rise during the day. Without the exposure to adequate natural light your melatonin levels will be higher and your serotonin levels will be lower.

    7. Eat a meal with high level of proteins that contain tryptophan and follow that by a carbohydrate snack two hours later.

    This will act to drive the lingering tryptophan into the brain and set up the production of greater amounts of serotonin the next day.

    8. Do things that revitalize you and let you feel good.

    Take a low activity, high relaxation vacation with your family or by yourself with plenty of time to slow down.

    Listen to classical music, light rock, folk or easy listening music.

    Visit a museum, go to the theater, the symphony, or watch TV or films about love stories, comedies and other feel good movies.

    Engage in long, deep conversations with one or two other people.

    Clean and organize your environment.

    Read: Self-help books are especially complimentary.

  9. Chris says

    I’ve posted on here before, but not for a while, I keep on reading the comments though, some positive, some negative, but all valid and contributing to the big picture and helping to illustrate just how far reaching this alcohol/anxiety thing is and the many different ways in manifests itself in different people.

    My problem is not that I drink all the time, but that I binge- if I start, I find it tricky to stop. I’ve got better recently though, and try to ‘think before I have another drink’. It helps calm my social anxiety, but the day after a big session it just kicks in with a vengeance. I recognise it for what it is now though and can generally ride it out. I suspect that though my anxiety feels bad at times, it’s probably a lot milder than a lot of you good folks have it on here.

    I’d intended to give myself a year’s break from alcohol, mainly to prove to myself I could do it, but then got involved with a girl, the anxiety really kicked in and I ballsed it up big time. This was over the new year period and I decided that right then probably wasn’t the best time to deprive myself of a few drinks. However, that little mess behind me (and everything smoothed over with said girl, and I still retain a faint hope our now friendship could blossom into something more, but if it doesn’t, then I’m good with that too), I’ve decided that February will be a month off. There are no big social events coming up, so little temptation, and if I get through the month okay and am feeling up for it, I’ll make it a two-month abstinence, and so on. Maybe I’ll get to my year, who knows.

    This is self-experimentation at it’s most basic, and is perhaps my own way of testing myself. I like to prove to myself I can do things sometimes, and as Todd stated only a few posts ago, a hiatus from the toxins that build up after drinking for a long period is no bad thing…

  10. Josh says

    If you read about post-acute withdrawal syndrome online, supposedly it can take a significant amount of time (6 months to a year) for your nervous system to return to a ground state after a period of alcoholism. So far, this appears to be true for me. I dramatically decreased my drinking starting about 3 months ago, and have been crashing through waves of intense anxiety ever since. It is bad enough that I was forced to quit my job.

    For me, the symptoms are anxiety and detachment. The sober world is a strange, harsh place. The worst part is trying to interact with other people, and constantly trying to feign interest, laughter.

    I did go see a psychiatrist, and it was worse than worthless. He was obsessed with psycho-analysis and kept trying to dig skeletons out of the closet. He denied alcohol as a root cause of my anxiety, which is insane. I also went to a PCP seeking medication to try and hang on at work, but got shut down there too.

    So anyway, I’d be interested to hear about other people’s experiences. After this much time, I am starting to wonder if this is the new reality that I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life. I will try to update here in a few months with how things go. ]

  11. Josh says

    I can’t claim I am a success story quite yet, but I did discover a book called “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It is about mindfulness meditation and anxiety. It is written sooooooooo well and has inspired me to start a daily meditation practice. I really highly recommend checking it out. The production on the audio version is cheesy, but I really like the author’s voice. I would probably even recommend the audio over the book, and if you’re familiar with torrenting you can have it for free in a few clicks.

  12. JP says

    It’s been a little while, but I really like hearing all your stories. Rich that’s great you were able to re-invent yourself like that. I’m having some trouble with that for many of the reasons most have posted; I know one of you mentioned cocking and having some beers or wine…I mean yeah, that’s living – cooking some great food, enjoying it with a beverage that compliments it, etc.

    Fizzy, hang in there, you sound a lot younger than some of us; trust me, we can all tell you, that is part of life, some of those setback will seem funny as you get older. I dabbled in all the same stuff you did when I was younger and yes, substance relationships/friendships can be, well, interesting at times. It was a big part of many of my friends I hung out with, hs, college and young adulthood. I mean I wouldn’t change it for the world, I have no regrets, we had so much fun and at certain times in your life, its the one time you can live with that. But of course it takes its toll, your perception of reality gets wharped, often selfish, more so because you need sleep more than anything else. Or other friends lose their grip of what their doing – regularily cocaine use over time definitely changes a personality. However, we all managed to remain friends, we never lost each other. There were some setbacks, but we outgrew them, you realize how stupid they are. I don’t believe any of us were ever addicts which is kind of surprising considering the odds. We had one friend that was getting a little too crazy with coke; it was kind of frustrating because we didn’t know what to say or do, we felt kind of hippocritical.

    I actually really like the notion of not drinking, but like most people, its there – after a hockey game, after skiing a good meal, its just too good with all that stuff. I’m a little sluggish today, but I’m feeling myself wake up. I was at my club (private, somewhat snooty NYC place :-) and people tend to get smashed in the tap room, people of all ages too. There was a little while when I was heading there and not drinking at all. But man, I had such a crazy day going there seemed like it would be fun. I bumped into a lot of people I hadn’t seen in awhile and people seemed to be in an overly festive mood that night and as I stated before I know, when the girls are seriously pounding, its easy for me to lose count. I was leaving with two of them to go home and then they wanted to go to the bar in the lobby, I went in with them, I didn’t get a drink, I was like, “Damn, its kinda of late, what the hell am I still doing here.” I literally just left without saying goodbye, one of them came out and gave me crap for it, in a fun a way, “She was like ___ where are you going, no goodbye?” I chuckled and said, “___frankly, I’m just really tired and want to go home.”

    I woke up with a little bit of the anxiety, I was like, “why did I stay out so late,” but then thinking about it more, I actually knew when it was def. time to go and I did and did not get that next drink at the other bar, I’m not that bad of a person.

    It’s weird, since I’ve been divorced, I find my weekends very boring, I don’t do much…maybe that is why every now and then I have a somewhat late weekday excursions at old or familiar haunts. I’ve been on a lot of dates and have been having fun, but when I meet a girl I’d like to seriously date I don’t think I get that right signal out or the right way to move forward; the hookup ones, well, that’s easy :-)…anyway, again, rambling.

  13. Jerry says

    Hi to you Josh. I’m in the same boat as you. I went to a alcohol rehab clinic for 10 weeks and was dry for 3 months. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks – I became suicidal and eventually started drinking again to deal with the thoughts and anxiety. Alcohol and anxiety don’t mix but one should be careful cold-turkeying. Good luck Josh.

  14. JP says

    Here’s something to try, this is more for the social drinkers, if you’re an addict, you obviously need to stay away…keep an alcohol journal..a lot of times we’ll drink more than we realize, if you keep a record of it, what you drank, how you felt the next, etc., it really helps. I always thought the biggest problem was feeling fine sometimes, like crap others, sometimes the days I felt fine, I think I drank more…also notice what you eat. I’m findthing very helpful.

  15. J says

    JP..thats good advice, and i find that what you eat the night before (usually late nite while drinkign) DOES affect how you feel the next day. And i dont agree with those on here that say you have to eat CLEAN and only green veggies etc, but you CANT have 4 slices of pepperoni pizza with half a meatball hoagie on the side at midnite and expect not to feel “yucky” the next day, trust me i’ve done it enough to know that….

    Todd–hows your sobriety going? you should be on like week 9 or something by now?? do you really feel a ton better?? Reinforcement and honest opinions matter here..

  16. Todd says

    Hey J – As for the food issue, there is NO question that it does have a major impact on how I feel after a drinking spell. When I drink I crave a lot of salty foods, usually loaded with MSG. And MSG is a known anxiety trigger for me so the combination is not good.

    Heart palpitations, bloat, digestive issues, anxiety…It’s very related.

    As for the sobriety thing I broke it 9 days ago when we went over to friend’s for dinner. I was completely fine with it in every way. I think I had 4 glasses of wine, I didn’t get drunk or stupid and the next day it was back to another dry spell. I didn’t feel anxiety or any symptom of having drank. The key here is my new approach to alcohol. It no longer is for binging every weekend. It is now for social events only. That way I can still have wine in my life and enjoy myself without the binge pattern that causes emotional and physical problems.

    There’s 52 weekends in a year. 2 days per weekend so on average that was a near guarantee of me binging (where binging is consuming at least a bottle or more of wine per episode) 104 times per year. Then add holidays and social events and the times I would drink 3 days in a row on weekends that’s probably another say 20 times so that was around say 125-145 days of heavy binge drinking per year.

    That’s a lot of beating up on my liver and a lot of living my life in a continuous pattern of anxiety and abuse. By reducing my wine intake down to say 20 times a year, that is something completely manageable for me. It’s all about a mental switch in how you approach something. Wine is no longer a weekly substance I can drink as much as I like but is now something that is only done on special occasion like a rich dessert.

    For the record I still feel great and motivated and not at all like I slipped up. This is the way I choose it to be. This is me having control over my life. If I find myself even for one moment slipping back into my weekly weekend binging patterns then I will absolutely quit for life. The buzz has no longer become worth any hardship.

    Hope everybody’s doing well!

  17. JP says

    Todd, that’s great to hear. I had a slip up last night. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but with my meds, alcohol gets trick sometimes. I was beating myself all day about it, but I realized what happened and why. I went to the gym to work out, yesterday, Valentine’s Day, then down to the bar (private club) for a quick bite and a beer.

    I then realize it was the first Valentine’s Day I had been by mysyelf in the last 7 years (recently divorced). So, I decided to have a “me” holiday. I had like 5 pints a beer and was ready to go home, I felt fine, I can hold it, which is what gets me in trouble, like Todd, I wasn’t doing anything stupid. Then, thinking a long on V-Day, I say to myself, let me go out for one more if a place looks interesting: first place, no, second place, yes – wine bar, order a glass. The guy next to me is BOMBED! He starts chatting with me, stuff like, “You must be a Wall Street guy, you look like one,” not in an aggressive, nasty way, in a drunk idiot way. I was actually laughing, he was wasted, but definitely ammusing.

    There are two girls behind us at a table, I told him he should talk to them, I didn’t think he’d take me up on it, but he did and dragged me into it, and ordered me another glass of wine, unsolicited. So, we’re talking to these two cuties and he’s basically making an ass of himself, and I’m talking to them, well, like a normal person. Long story short, they lose patience with him and leave, but I get one of their numbers.

    I decide to buy him another drink, if he wants, he does, so I order another glass of wine. He proceed to tell me how gay my ipad is, I’m amused. I’m actually texting to the girl I just met, she’s getting a kick out of it. He then said I looked terrible (he was meaning my clothes), I laugh, text, like I said, I was amused and I went home right after that.

    I mentioned keeping the journal…I obviously drank way more than I inteded to on any given night, let alone a week day. I woke up for work fine, had an early morning meeting, then it started – anixiety, shakes, depressed even suicidal thoughts.

    I obviously got through, I beating myself up with, “Why? How did I let this happen?” And it is quite obvious. If it wasn’t for the fact it was Valentine’s Day and I was feeling somewhat sorry for myself, I would’ve left after 2,3 beers tops.

    You’d think I’d be happy with the outcome, right? Did nothing stupid, got a number, etc., but no, with Depression it’s short lived and only makes it worse the next day.

    I’m actually surprised I’m still here, I told myself I’d make it an early day. I’m feeling much better now, trying to get a few more things done; but right now, laid out the couch is going to feel so good…

    We all have our good and bad days.

    Todd’s sentiment, I hope all are doing well!

  18. Frank P. says

    Hello all,

    Been awhile since I posted here. In the past, reading other peoples experiences here and on other like forums have helped me in the fact that I am not completely alone with my struggles. My purpose of commenting ofcourse is to offer others the same bennefits if possible. I quit marijuana over 3 months ago as each session resulted in severe anxiety and acute fear of loosing my mind over the past several years. I stayed sober from alchohol from late November through the middle of January and although the process was difficult as I continued to suffer from periodic anxiety/depression, I did well with exercise, diet etc., and was releived that I was not dealing with the extreme “episodes” after binge drinking(15 to 20 beers). In early February I went out for my birthday and got shitfaced. . period. . .(approx. 10 SAKI Shots, 5 Draft Beers and approx.10 to 15 bud lights) At the time I thought, ” I deserve this. . I’m 38, a great Father with a beautiful Family,business etc.,”I can handle a hangover now that I am fit and I have been alchohol free for months, ITS MY BDAY right?” WRONG. The next day I not only had a break down, but I now have new and even more sinister symptoms of acute anxiety, like the fear that I am going to snap and hurt one of my children, which I would never do! On top of this I had to go that day with my 70 year old Father to a Doctors appointment in an absolute state of acute fear to be reminded that my Dad suffers from schizoaffective Disorder, which reminded me of a very painful childhood being ashamed of my Father and being told by my mother that I was just like him. For the next couple weeks I obcessed over the thought of being like my Father and met up with a very old and familiar friend of Depression. Racing thoughts, incredibly detailed dreams in between sleeplessness, twitching, obcessive negative and worried thoughts. . OH MY! I thought I needed a vacation so I took my family skiing this last weekend and by the second night with a nice cozy bar by a fire place at my disposal I easily AGAIN talked myself into beleiving that it would be different now that I was on vacation. I had a few Blue Moons and felt GREAT!!! It’s like the remedy to my whole problem at that point. I was in Heaven, , no anxiety, dancing, snow ball fights. . HEAVEN. I could barely get through the next morning. .shaking, severe obcessive mental self punishment with negative thoughts. . . HELL. Later that day it was almost like clockwork, I began a with a cold brew at about 3pm after I muraculously began to feel better after snow tubing later that morning. Fresh snow was falling and I was ready to charge the mountain early the next morning with my kids. By midnight, after being the big hit at the bar, I was probably on my 15th or 16th Warsteiner and headed to my room subconciously trying to block out the inevidable catrostrophic events of the following day that were sure to start unfolding first thing in the morning. And needless to say it was my absolute worst episode yet. I failed to take my children to the mountain as promised, I cried like a baby to my wife, I felt extreme chest pain, and as the day went on the symptoms got worse even with the ingestion of several Valiums. I spent hours reading the internet about mental disorder symptoms as hypochondria seems to be a part of my mess when it gets this bad. 3 days later I am still NOT AT ALL OK. . Need I go on? So whats my point? Well, to those of you guys that are in the stage of beating urself up the next day, or being able to take a xanax and sleep it off, being able to change what you eat the night before to help etc., BE THANKFULL that you have not reached a worsened and/or hightened level of anxiety if it is in fact what you are suffering from versus just being hungover. BUT know this. . I am trying to help not trying to scare anyone and in my opinion, Telling someone who truly suffers from this hell that they can quit for just awhile is very dangerous advice. If you are already feeling any level of anxiety and/or alchohol related depression etc., drinking alchohol at any level WILL worsen your condition. . . PERIOD. Most theropist ARE quacks I beleive that, but if you dont want to end up in their chair, then heed the warnings that your system is giving you. I have watched my Father suffer for his entire life being mis-diagnosed, put through shock theropy and fed harmful drugs that now have left him labled with a multi complex disorder that no one really knows how to treat.My Father started compaining of only anxiety after Vietnam and self-medicated with ALCHOHOL. . . . ??? All I know is that I am done. . I plan to join AA tommorrow and put an end to this forever. . for the sake of my family, Children and most of all, My Dear old Dad.
    God Bless all of you and I truly hope you all finf comfort and peice of mind.

  19. Todd says

    Godspeed Frank. Sounds like you’ve been to Hell and back. I will be sending vibes of healing energy your way.

    Just remember this very best advice anyone can ever give you:

    You can do it.

  20. Laurie says

    Hi Frank, your story really touched a nerve with me, I am so similar with excuses as to why I can have a drink and the guilt and depression the next day over drinking. Thank you for your honesty, I know it was pouring out of you once you started to write, I could tell, I too know that alcohol cannot help my anxiety but I still come home from work and head straight to the bottle of wine or Patron. I am always worse the next day, I too eat a xanax to level it off, it is such a vicious cycle. I just want to be free of it all, I am trying hard to get a handle on it, God is losing his patience with me I think, I pray you will be healthy and happy and peace is in your brain, that would be the best gift of all PEACE of mind!

  21. Frank P. says

    I am a true beleiver that everyone has the genetics to have a mental disease, each person being different in both their genetics and the type of mental disease they are capable of uncovering. It is what we put into our body/mind (chemicals) that bring that disease out. Every since I can remember starting to experience anxiety and depression at a young age, it coincides with my early years of heavy LSD and Marijuana use plus the weekend drinking to go with it. I occassionaly used cocaine hear and there but was never a pill popper. At about 20 I had a horrific bad trip on shrooms that put me in a state of mind much like that of my alchohol induced episodes at this point in my life. Shortly after that I was shot and beaten half to death in a home invasion. About a year later I had a tragic accident that damaged my eye. . . . This is about the time that my drinking and Marijuana use became much more frequent and heavy. . . maybe to cope?? But the truth is the underlying problem for my anxiety and depression was already there. . in my genes and because of other family issues that I had mentioned in my last post. Dont get me wrong. . I have also had alot of good in my life too. So I will have to say that the theropists that try and uncover those deep emotional scars to get to the basis/begining of the problem may be on to something.They are definetely more respected in my book than the ones who do nothing but write more scrips for more chemicals to poison your brain. And then there is the side of me that looks to GOD. We were not meant to live in such a cruel world, nor to be such tortured souls. And it is only through him that we can walk a path of rightousness, NOT Through drugs and alchohol. .and the more I indulge in self medicating, the further away from him I fall. As I mentioned before, this new fear, almost developing “phobia” of cracking and harming my kids was the last straw. I have read that this is a common symptom of severe anxiety disorder, but to me it’s God hitting me where it hurts the most, and trying to get my attention, because my children are my world. . . PERIOD.

    Jesus instead of a Doctor, Excercise instead of Drinking, Meditation instead of getting high, and taking care and respecting my Dad instead of being ashamed of him. And ofcourse, being a good Father and Husband. . Thats where I’m headed. I need to re-invent myself. . it’s the only logical solution at this point.

  22. B says

    This my first time on this forum you have all been a great inspiration to change my habits. It’s good to know there are people suffering the same symptoms as me out there and it’s great that you guys started a forum about it and support each other . Also it has given better understanding of what I need to do, to hear the first-hand accounts of how worse this anxiety can get if you don’t do something about it early on is very scary. So guys I am going to give it a shot to quit drinking (and quit the cocaine binges as well) because I have noticed a significant improvement in my mood whenever I don’t drink at all or as much, but knowing when it’s the last one is not easy that’s why not drinking at all is the best option. The self-loathing is what affects me the most, it’s as though I want to shave my hair off the next day and I take baths to somehow try and cleanse myself cause I feel dirty, as specially because I always end up with one nightstands and calling up guys that treat me like shit and I know don’t care about me at all.

    Thanks for all the great comments especially Josh.

    I am going to start my journey today and I hope to come back with positive changes in my life.

  23. social drinker says

    hmmm… maybe its just bevaiuse people want to let go of themsleves and alcohol is just an excuse

  24. anonymoustoo says

    Haven’t posted in a while. I am hitting that extreme high anxiety, Frank, so, trust me, you are not alone. My deep, dark fears are so fucked up I can’t even post them.

    I work for myself. I kinda hate my job. The economy sucks and hate chasing people for money. A ton of other stressers, too.

    Anyway, that said, I finally went to a therapist. I think she is great. She totally gets it and told me that she seems to think I am combining my personal and professional life together. Some other things too. Personally? I think I have a lot of negative people in my life and don’t have the heart to say go away. Lots of guilt, too, associated with this topic is adding to anxiety.

    Yes, reinvent myself. I get it, Frank.

    I want to post better later have to go out now. I really hope everyone feels better.

  25. Frank P. says

    Anonymoustoo,

    That is such a coincidence. . I also run my own business and dealing with customers has become something that I literally hide from. My worst chest pains have been while stressing over the “chasing money thing.” It seems that everyone around me, “the people that I surround myself with,” ALL HAVE SOME SERIOUS ISSUES! And I have to be the one who tries to set the standards of normalicy in a weird sort of way. But in the inside I am the one who feels like I am loosing it while everyone around me seems to be oblivious to how incredibly fucked up they seem to be to me. Maybe surrounding myself with people I enjoy more is another important step in re-inventing myself???

    Even though I am still very well aware of the terror I endured this past few weeks, my mind is still trying to cope with the idea of never being able to drink again. . never being able to release. . to rest from my anxiety. . The thought of living without alchohol just doesnt sit well yet. I went and bought a 12 pack of non-alchoholic beer and it’s not bad. I think it will help if I absolutely have to drink. I drank one tonight and it seemed to take the urge away. I didnt even finish it. . instead I went for a 15 mile bike ride. .I am starting to remember the climb of over all increased well being that occurs as you stop the drinking and all the craziness that goes along with it for people like me. Life CAN be fullfilling without alchohol. . . Look around. . many people without anxiety just simply choose NOT TO DRINK. I’m gonna be one of those people, because if not it will only get worse.

    One week sober tomorrow!!!!

  26. anonymoustoo says

    That is explaining my situation as well. There is this term out there called Highly Sensitive People (HSP). HSP are very aware of all the subleties around them and pick up on other people’s feelings and moods and absorb them. There is this other term called Chronically Nice, which basically a person is so pleasing to their mental detriment. I am feeling both. It’s Sunday and already I am dreading tomorrow…

    I did drink last night and I woke up with guilt and depression and anxiety. Mostly, weird fear of “what is a brain and why are there memories in there and what is a human being?” Like super deep thinking of shit I do not want to think about.

  27. anonymoustoo says

    Too many people are asking me for favors. Literally, like a dozen. I already have enough on my plate and then some. It’s basically asking me to do stuff for free for them bc of my business. I am only just making it. Absorbing “free” favors is running my health rugged and run down. I am so tired all the time. I don’t want to say NO bc, Chronically Nice, am starting my business, and of course want happy, repeat customers. But I am being taken taken advantaged.
    I just want to be happy already.

    Also, what is all the rush about? Why are we all rushing around?

  28. JP says

    Frank P and Anonymoustoo, I work for a firm, but the reality, I am an indepdent contractor, so understand totally what you two are going through. It was definitely one reason why my marriage broke up – wife losing her job, dealing with the bad economy, etc. We both drifted apart and lost our connection. If we dealt with our issues would I still be married? I don’t know, but if I we were to still get divorced, it wouldn’t have been such a sudden event in my life (she literally left, no warning, when I was visiting my parents).

    My father is (or was, he’s retired) in a similiar field as I am and went through the same thing. He got a new job, had a 2 yo (me), a wife and all this responsibility where if he screwed up, could take the whole operation down. He’s not a drinker though, but he did have to leave the house for awhile for some therapy, I have vague memories of this. He learned somehow how to let go, to analyze things, look for the positve, etc. He told me his depression bouts were much worse than mine and both my parents often wonder how I’m doing. He later in his career went in on an investment, which should have been a homerun, the capital investment at the time was my sister and I’s college tuition money, then the early 90s economy happened. I remember the talk of, “You may want to start thinking about State schools.” To shorten the story up, he analyzed and figured things out, he became happy with he had, and not upset with what he didn’t. I ended up attending a private college, my sister and I both never had student loans and he ended up retiring at what would be considered by today’s standards a young age. It wasn’t easy though. When I was freakin’ out because I had an out of work wife, a mortgage, bad economy, etc., and now debts, he said to me, you have no idea what debt is like (he knew my situation, wife’s debts, some minor borrowing). He, for the first time, told me what he was in for when the economy tanked and my sis and I were getting ready to school, living in a posh suburb and the expenses with that, etc.; it was in the tune of 250K.

    Things got better though, investments paid off, debts got paid, he retired at a nice age, and him and my mom live this charmed life of multiple homes and a lot of traveling – it wasn’t easy though and it didn’t happen over night.

    So, I thought about myself and decided, because being in a situation like both of you, with the stresses, I had to let my pride go; as we all know, that distraction can affect business and productivity. What do I mean by that? I accepting the fact that I will never miss a mortgage payment, will never be living on “the street”, if I ever have kids, college tuition will not be a problem, etc. I accepted my fortunate situation, even if it was partially reliant upon someone less. This nmay sound easy, and perhaps some of you are like, “F you, what problems do you think you have?!” but trust me, it wasn’t easy. I went from doing extremely well through my twenties and early thirties to – having ZERO debts (except a mortgage), doing whatever the hell I wanted on a whim, buying whatever I want on a whim including nice cars, always being able to put into my 401k (max out) or IRA depending on who I was working for, to let’s face it, letting my parents help me from time to time. I a can assure you, at my age, it was a mind f@$%. I then started looking at the situation of others, and did realize, I should be thankfully for what I have . . .

    Frank P, ironically, while I don’t have kids, I know what you mean when mentioned being drunk and indavertly hurting them, when you know you never would. I actually have those thoughts as well. When I have my alcohol anxiety issues I think, “Damn, what if I had kids?!?!” I think someone was right when he said we’re, “hyper sensitive.”

    JP

  29. Frank P. says

    8 Days Sober!!

    JP,
    Im glad you can relate to these comments and I hope it helps you identify the root of what is ailing you. I really beleive even stronger today as I did the last time I began a period of sobriety that identifying the root of what is causing your anxiety is the only real solution. For some people like myself it is so complicated that it may not be possible? I am starting to wonder if my years of expanding my mind went a little too far? Obviously we all have something in common or we wouldnt be writing here. But in my opinion it helps to recognize our differences aswell to help us identify our own unique mess if you will. I for one have never had the symptoms of anxiety or depression occurr because of Money/mortgage payments/401k, IRA etc etc. I can clearly seperate the “stress” that I feel when dealing with money problems, and the anxiety that is in my genetic make-up along with the extreme bouts of “un-identified” panic that results from drinking. For me and I think Anonymoustoo also, (correct me if I’m wrong Anonymoustoo) running a business is not neccessarly the problem itself, but it is an obstruction in the path to soothing the problem, because we have lost the line between our lives and the company. There is NO time clock to punch out on. . the job never goes away. It seems like I have spent so much time and energy building this company and making all my customers happy, that I have neglected MY needs. I have literally lost myself. And with an already existing anxiety disorder, the anxiety is even more overwhelming. All the passion that I once had for music, surfing, motocross, LIFE have simply dissappeared. In other words my passion for life has been consumed by the business and my already out of control anxiety has spread its wings so to speak.

    Anonymoustoo,
    Another thing that rang a bell with one of your comments is that dreadfull symptom of depression that makes you question your existance. Why do people live? What’s the point? In the words of Kurt Cobain, “A formulated finity”. It’s the worst! Your not alone. With running a business, neglecting myself, and binge drinking, It’s no wonder I have these obcessive thoughts. . . I havent given my mind and spirit the chance to identify squat!

    I can definetly say that I am slowly starting to feel an overall sense of better wellbeing with exercise and sobriety, but I am still in a very vulnerable stage for sure. It’s an uphill climb each and every day. I literally HAVE lost myself after these last few episodes. I am still obcessing over the possibility that I very well may be just like my Dad and have a very serious mental illness that may need medication. I have went to two AA meetings and cant say that they really helped as these people are simply “alchoholics”. Their problems lie more on the grounds of physical dependency and regret rather than anxiety and using alchohol to self medicate. I feel like they are all looking at me like I AM FRICKN CRAZY! They drink from sun up to sun down. Not one person there out of atleast twenty or more related with my anxiety issues. There biggest problem is that they may have a seizure if they dont drink. . Sooooo that was dissappointing and un-nerving to say the least.

    Tommorow is another day.

  30. JP says

    Frank P, great comments! Yes, we all have our unique mess, that’s a great line. I’m not surprised you were dissapointed with the AA meetings. From what I’ve read from most of the people on this site, we’re not alcoholics or drug addicts. I have some friends that are addicts, one I work with, he goes to his meetings and has been doing very well. When he was using, which was just about everything, alcohol, coke, pills, etc. His week looked something like this…come Thursday after work he’d go out and he’d be on a bender throughout the weekend, no sleep, etc., and if the office was lucky (or not) he might get to work on Tuesday. He was in a real bad place. He got seriously addicted to Xanax, when I see addicted, he would shake, sweat, convulse if he wasn’t regularily taking it…. I’m not bringing this up to judge, just to show the difference.

    I too, like you and many others, got some consumed with what I was doing, and office I was unhappy with, etc. and just shut down into the worst depression. My ex-wife will come up with a lot of potential reasons why our marriage broke, but the reality, depression on both of our parts, untreated resulted in complete emotional neglect (on my part).

    While amicable, going through a divorce started taking a toll on me. Our divorce was simple, there was no kids, no shared assetts, etc. But I tried moving on myself and I again shut down. Untreated anxiety and depression is a killer and I believe something many entrepeneurs and (for lack of a better word) “white collar” professionals experience and never treat and end up with problems and issues that most of us go through – we don’t see what’s going on around us. I didn’t know my wife was so miserable while it was happening, I was so consumed with myself. Looking back, damn, the signs were SO there.

    I think part of our anxiety truly is something chemical we all have developed at some point for whatever reason. Another part, as anymous pointed out was highly sensitive. We simply care about ourselves and how we look and as a result, we become way too hard on ourselves.

    Anyway, that’s all for the day.

  31. JP says

    Hi everyone, I think I need some help. First, I am not a hot mess today or anything close to what I went through after Valentine’s Day. I think part of it is me adjusting back from vacation (I too went skiing), but as is the life of a NYC professional, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. I even have a work event to go to tonight, which I’d like to blow off, but really can’t) (some commercial landlord invited me a box to see Van Halen…should be interesting…right? :-) )

    I think you see where I’m going…I was out with some colleagues a little bit Tuesday. I had really nice date with a young woman last night and we stayed out a little later than we both wanted to because we were enjoying each others company (plus a work event before). Neither of us got bombed, but since I had a few glasses of champagne at this work thing, I decide to stay with wine when we went out. So, I’m feeling a little of the sugar gitter, but that’s all.

    Anyway, as a common thing with all of us is being hard on ourselves, I’m being hard on myself because I haven’t been firing on all the cylinders I’d like to be in the office.

    Like many of you, I think I’m going to try and not drink at all for awhile. I have done this in the past, however, this time I think I’m going to need a little help. I was wondering what methods some of you have been incorprating into your routine.

    I know some of you are going to say excercise, I got that covered. I’ve completed several marathons in very respectable times (3:47 was the best), I still play ice hockey, run, ski, etc., so the excercise thing I have down. I think I should increase it, but I know how to plan for that.

    So any advice or methods you’ve employed…I’d really like to hear… JP

  32. Ruth says

    JP,
    One thing I just ordered this morning was a fruit infusion pitcher. Looks like an ordinary acrylic water jug but has a center tube in which you put fruit, (fresh or frozen) or cucumber or herbs and you just set it in the fridge or on the counter for 12 hrs. You can use any fruit/veg/herbs. It looks pretty. I think that for me this will help me from always being used to guzzling liquids of the wrong kind but yet keep me guzzling the good stuff. Plain old water is good for us but gets boring and we forget.

    I was inspired to look around for something after just hearing that my ex of 14 months ago went into ER with acute pancreatitis, which is alcohol abuse. He used to drink a lot of beers but never really got inebriated when I was with him, but then we did have a long distance relationship so I never quite knew how much he was drinking. He’s only 42. He was hospitalized for 3 days in ER without much sympathy from the Drs.

    Got me thinking about my pancreas, my liver, my kidneys and my liking for wine, so I am going to start more hydration. Look it up, mine cost $20 on amazon. Hope that helps.

    I’m doing okay, still drinking wine but have cut back as it has started to give me jaw ache. Anxiety comes and goes, but I am under enormous pressure now my work season is really full on. I read an earlier comment about how we can do the people pleasing thing and burn ourselves out with doing everything to keep our small businesses running. That is my life story for 16 years! I now no longer give out an email address, cell phone number and say ‘I’m just not available that much’ and am looking at alternative ways to start another business that is less personally draining.

    Hope all is well with all you other lovely folk on this forum. xxx

  33. Frank P. says

    Sometimes excercise isnt enough . . thats for sure. But it definetely helps especially when your in the middle of a panic attack. Even though it is the furthist thing from your mind when feeling the effects of anxiety. . a long walk or jog can do wonders just like, if not better than a xanax. I have been back on the exercise kick not just because it can sooth the body and mind, but because it keeps me occupied with something other than beating myself up.

    I personally have kept that 12 pack of NA brew on hand and have broke down 3 times and drank a couple when I was feeling like I wanted a cold beer. They do work as the power of suggestion is just that. . very powerfull. I like the fruit fusion gimmick! Cause when we are feeling good we tend to want to inhance that feeling with a drink and thats where the trouble starts, so having something like that may be very effective for some. Everyone is different though so be careful and try and find the thing that is gonna work best for you individually. In my opinion the best thing one can do is AT ALL COSTS avoid the areas and the people that you normally drink around. It is the ONLY thing that has definetely contributed to me being able to quit completely. I have started occupying those drinking times with some of the hobbies I have lost touch with.

    I have also been taking B-12 with breakfast and surprisingly it makes me very tired? Anyone else experience this? I have been sleeping like a baby and feeling very rested with the B-12. However, I sometimes will drink a small can of sugar free Red Bull before a long bicycle ride. It definetely gives me a boost to get more out of my workout. I have always been weiry of energy drinks as one time I took a 5 hour energy drink and it was like panic in a bottle! I was told that sugar free Red Bull is full of B-6, B-12 and C, so it isnt as harmfull as some of those others that have stimulants in it. But yesterday I drank one in the mid-morning cause I thought I could take the day off and go for a good run. Right after drinking it I changed my mind and decided to do some chores instead. . BIG MISTAKE! It was almost like being hung over. . I couldnt drive worth a shit, Chest was tight, on the verge of having a panic attack for hours and then I just felt like crap for the rest of the day. As I said before, the longer I stay sober the more I learn about myself. I am hyper sensitive to just about evrything.

    12 days sober and not looking back!

  34. Anna says

    Wow, am I glad I found this forum. I’ve had serious anxiety and phobia issues my entire life and I have spent much of the past few years self-medicating with alcohol. It got to the point where I even did some damage and went into rehab. I stayed sober for six months last year but a death in the family spiked my anxiety levels unbelievably and I started all over again on this merry go round. So far I’ve been able to control it to the point that I’m not blacking out, but I def. had a bad hangover today and horrible anxious thoughts. I just stumbled across this site after writing in my journal that I will NOT have more than three glasses of wine tonight. Maybe I’ll even be inspired enough to only have two! For every two or three days that I manage to drink very little it seems I have one day where the anxiety is so bad that I reach for the bottle over and over. Ugh.

    I also just bought the book someone reference above, ‘wherever you go there you are’ and am going to start it tonight. This has got to stop!

    Thank you for listening. Any kind words appreciated :)

  35. JP says

    I’ve been back and forth; I may try that fruit infusion thing though. I was good at the concert. I played this game with myseif. When I had a beer I emailed myself 1. Then much time passed by, drank some water, diet coke etc and had another, emailed myslef 2. Then much more time went by I emailed to myself 3 and it (I didn’t even finish that one). So between 7:00 ish to 10:45, I only had three beers. I was fine the next day.

    Saturday, I had three glasses of wine with a colleague and went home early, no issues. Sunday, there was some games on, I definitley got home before 7 o’clock, but with friends who like to drink losing the track on pitchers is tough. I also didn’t have my water with me. I stopped by one more place to see some friends and ordered a beer, hung for a little bit, I didn’t even finish that one, I decided it was time for dinner and go home, which I did.

    I did started getting the anxiety stuff around midnight or 2. I took a xanxa and went back to sleep, drank some water, etc. I was supposed to see my therapist early, I knew I couldn’t, I knew I had to sleep. When my alarm went off, I called her and told her I didn’t adust my alarm properly and there was no way I’d get there in 1/2 hour and would need to reshedule (which I will). I then adjusted my clock a little later than usual. I knew I needed to try and sleep and I’d feel better (and drink a lot of water). I ended up waking before the alarm, took my meds, popped a xanax (took one with me just in case) and I feel fine now.

    Anna, try this drinking journal thing I got from someone. I’ve been negelecting it a little, but I’m learning a lot about when I have triggers and such. I was a little more bold yesterday because we had a lot of pizza and I ate some chinese food before I went to bed, early, etc., but that didn’t totally help…also, I like to eat a lot more healthy, so I know getting back into that habit will help. Because of the journal, I knew not to go past three glasses of wine with my colleague and I had a decent dinner before I went to bed. I was fine, drank a lot of water, and took notice as to when the wine started to hit me..I probably would be ok with two glasses, either way I was fine.

    So why my little problems this morning? I noticed, I did not have my jug of water with me. Tonight, I will go through all this and put it the book so I can remember what helps and what causes issues…and slowly, I think I will weed this out, because health and weight tend to be more important to me than drinking…

    JP

  36. Frank P. says

    I am starting to wonder if anonymoustoo is my other personality. . LOL. . JK
    I still get the songs repeating in my head. . their not quite as annoying as when I have been drinking though. This coming Sunday will be 3 weeks sober for me. This time around I am even more so realizing the damage that I have done in self medicating with whatever it may be. About 4 days ago I took a valium bfore bedtime, and shortly afterwords I thought to myself, “did I really need that or is it just out of habit to replace the drinking?” One thing I have noticed about valium is the incredibly detailed dreaming that is sometimes disturbing and un-nerving. Then the next day I have trouble in the morning waking my brain up it seems. With xanax I had much better results for the instant cure for anxiety, but I would often wake in the middle of the night very confused and almost scared as if my body was awake but my mind was asleep. With both the xanax and valium I experience side effects that are sometimes just as bad as the all the other crap I go through on a daily basis. Both of them, more so the xanax make m irritable the next day. When I would take a xanax the day after I would literally have guys walk off the job because of my fits of rage when they screwed up. The valium is not as extreme, but I have an elevated sense of agitation with my kids the day after which again recently gave me the scarry phobia that I was going to lash out at them. As I did with my last prescription xanax I have chosen to flush the valium too. I guess what I am trying to say is that I am leaning more towards NO CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY WHAT SO EVER. . . .This makes me even more weary of an anti-depressant as who knows what side effects they will pose?

    I am still set on re-invention by way of complete sobriety to the point where I can clear my head enough to seperate the issues that I have from anxiety and what I have from chemical dependency.

    I am thinking a 6 month period of sobriety and if at that time I am still experiencing these feelings and developing phobias, I will then consider medication.
    One Day at a Time.

  37. JP says

    It’s official, my ups and downs are killing me! I need to try something knew. I went on vacation a few weeks ago, I was with family, but all I really learned from that is how lonely I am. As messed up as it sounds, I almost wished I didn’t go, I went skiing something I love to do.

    Last night, I was feeling really good about myself. I’m finding myself being more playful and flirty with women, just in general, in a good and not creepy way or desperate way, which I like. I’m on a new committee for a great charity with interesting people. We had a meeting last night. I had some work I still needed to get done, so feeling good after our meeting, I stopped by my favorite local spot, had a beer and finished what I had to do. I started getting friendly with some people next to me, we had a nice conversation. I was going to leave, but then two more women sat down next to me and we talked some more. I even broke my rule and ordered a glass of wine. We were having a fun, somewhat quasi-political conversation amongst ourselevss and then some random drunk interupts us tells me he’s going to break my face if I say anything more derogoatory to the liberal agenda ?!?! The three of us look at each other like, “what?” The bartenders, manager, they all know me, and this place is not a dive; it’s a great upscalish place. He threatens me again, I look at the manager like “WTF?” I even said, “X, if you want to leave, I’ll live.” He says to me, “No its ok J, I got this, don’t worry about it.” Anyway, we finish our drink and all leave. I’m like wow, what a mind F.

    I walk across the street to a real dive bar and order a beer or two. I need to reflect on this. This a funny drunk young gou there talking to me, he convinces me to do a shot of JAgr, which i do like an idiot. I order a glass of water and the check..finish my beer and leave.

    At some point I txting my undying love and devotion to a work colleague of mine in another office. I don’t care about that, I flirt with her all the time, however, talking serious about something like is something I don’t want right now. She asked me if I was ok, I said, wow, yeah, long interesting night. She actually wanted to get more into what I mean, and simply told her, it was a long night, and while truth to some of this, I really can’t deal with this with you right now, I’m sorry. She was cool, she said I didn’t always have to “be on” with her. A client gave me a ski cabin up north for the weekend, I’m taking him up on it. Not that I think she’d accept at this point because of stuff she’s going through, but I even throw out there, I’m heading out myself, I think i can use it, i don’t think you and I are at the ski weekedn stage yet. She replied back, “yeah do it, just don’t isolate yourseld, be social.” I thanks her for the support and advice and told her how beautiful she was.

    My longwindedness, which either some of you hate or are intringued by, got me to the point…isolate. The only time I feel content, or in control, is when I’m isolated, away from everyone. I don’t think I’m happy like this, but I manage and don’t feel the anxiety or problems I have. I literally, just wanted to get some work done and not stay out, but, being social, I end up staying, get threatned by some asshole while minding my own business, which makes me prolong the night

    I hate myself right now and would not mind if I dropped dead right now. Besides my hockey team (which is male bonding), evert single one of my hobbies is a solo thing…skiing, running, etc. All social activities with people alcohol is somehow there, I can’t get away from it. Oh, yeah, when I do run with people, at my club, thet want to booze afterwards.

    I don’t know what to do. My therapist said the same thing my friend did, don’t isolate, be social, I can’t do it though. If all it leads to is being anxious and quasi-suicidal the next day, I rather be alone in my apartment and miserable….I can tolerate being miserable with no anxiety and hating myself.

    I think I will still drive up north today, by myself, but I think I have officially given up on having a normal social life.

    JP

  38. Ruth says

    JP,
    There has to be some middle ground here and it is a hard lesson, one I have been personally struggling with my whole life.

    I appreciate your honesty with your emails on this site. While it is anonymous, it shows that you clearly wear your heart on your sleeve.

    For me, I can barely drink around other people other than a few glasses. For one, I don’t want people to know how much I really drink, also I can’t be making a fool of myself. I have done stupid things when drunk around men and don’t trust myself any longer. Drunken activity makes me a terrible flirt. I’ve stayed away from clubs recently and don’t go out with my phone all the time and refrain from texting which I am crap at anyway and don’t like to be always available.

    Last night I hosted dinner for 6 at my house. Only one bottle of wine was brought around. I’d had about 3 of my own before they arrived, but felt okay not to drink while they were there other than that last third one. I hate the pretense but my social anxiety is too awful to open the door to guests cold stone sober. It’s a horrible thing.

    I don’t think you need to hate yourself. You are clearly a man with lots of skills and talents and worth a lot. Don’t go there. It’s a sink hole you don’t want to drag yourself into. Perhaps just be really careful with WHO you mix with, which will help.

    I’m still on the wine but rationing it somewhat and recently decided that after my four weeks of full on work is over, a huge detox is on the horizon and today ordered a sprouting tray and some seeds and checked my nutritional yeast and GLA oils were all up to spar in the fridge for the gradual cleansing my body needs: raw food and actually exercising. My excuse is that I don’t need to lose weight… but there are a million and one excuses.

    I am finding this new fruit infusion pitcher great and last night among friends drank lots of melon water and try to drink it or with other fruits in it throughout the day until I give up booze yet again. Let’s not beat ourselves up too much, okay?

    Thankfully I can’t bar hop. There are no places to walk where I live, all are desperate dives, horrendous and I don’t drink and drive and don’t drink out alone and don’t really know that many people who do drink or go out at night: family oriented or just not into that… think more about acquaintances and friendship and differences between the two? It could help you a lot, it has for me. No more late night FB evenings with potential partners, all of which is ridiculous, especially one who just wants sex talk which is easy to get into late at night after several drinks. Waste of time!

    Good luck for all of us!

  39. Ruth says

    Oh, re read the msg I sent. Sounds like I drank 3 bottles before friends came around… NOT! 3 glasses.

    My anxiety is not good but not bad either. For me it happens always when I wake up, usually due to extremely strange and vivid dreams. I wake up around 4am, and wander the house feeling all strange and wondering if/if not I should take a Xanax. Trouble is my dosage is low: .25mg and so does not make me sleepy, but I will not go higher as I don’t want another addiction as clearly wine is the one I fight.

    Spoke to a really good person in my life about anxiety and dreams and he knows exactly how much I drink but does not share it. He doesn’t like hearing it but he is not going to read me some riot act. We both agreed that watching late night stuff on TV needs to be monitored for ‘good watching’ and lately I’ve been watching back to back episodes of LOST which isn’t exactly drama free.

    So here is a question: how do you all fall asleep at night? I know the old milk and banana theory and no nightmarish films but meditation ain’t gonna happen after three glasses of wine in and until these next four weeks go by, I am not cold turkeying. I have work and need to maintain as I am until the detox finally strikes after the stress levels of my self employed business go down dramatically.

  40. Laurie says

    Hi Ruth we sound like we could be sisters, I too have the love of wine, a bottle slips down pretty easy but it doesn’t help with my anxiety cause I wake up with it and a hangover to boot, I also have the .025 Xanax and don’t want to increase that dosage either, my dreams are always violent in nature and someone is always chasing me, I rarely watch tv because it makes me anxious, I am seeing a doctor on Monday but for now I think I have to change my diet, no peanuts, rice, chips, feels like I am choking all the time and try to exercise and get some sleep I am seriously sleep deprived, I am 54 years old, married, my husband knows I drink to much too, I do it to sleep after a mid shift getting home around 1am drink to 3am sleep to 9am surely a vicious cycle. Hope things get better for us both.

  41. JP says

    Ruth,

    Thanks for the words.It’s like just when I think I have this under control, something like this happens. I feel like a failure. The ironic thing, I don’t do any stupid stuff when out, its usually other people, like this idiot last night. When I took my meds, I popped a xanax right away this morning with it. I too have the lower dosage like you both, actually, mine is .5. I did take another one some time in the middle of the morning as well.

    Ruth, one of the problems I have is I live in NYC..you can walk to anywhere, to get anything you want and not worry about driving, etc.

    I txt’d my work friend who I may or may not be falling in love with to tell her I don’t think I’m feeling taking this client up on his condo. Funny, she just txt’d me, why’s that…I told her I don’t feel like making the drive and being alone. Ha, it’s kind of like a catch-22, if I stay here, I’ll just nothing in my apartment all weekend, well, I’ll probably clean it up, go on a run, may be inspired to do some writing. Oh, I obviouslty have been neglected the alcohol journal, need to start that up again, it helped! A lot!

    One of my associates, female, was good to me today. She sat her ass in my office and made sure we did some productive sales stuff. She knows all the drugs I’m on and understand what I’m going through, she’s been through much worse and had to deal with much worse depression. She’s also can tell when I’m in these states.

    I’m starting to feel a little better now that I ate, but if I’m not using this condo, I need to let this guy know soon so the owner can use it…I’m just wondering what excuse…I ate something bad (in case I change my mind : ) or something came up where I need to get into the office.

    I also called my psychatrist, she just prescribes meds, but she’ll talk to you for a little bit (which they don’t have to). Perhaps I can see her today. I had to schedule a follow up anyway, so now’s a good time, I guess.

    J

    P.S. I’m 37, I like the fact that some of you post your age because I often feel like such a failure that I’m having this types of issues so old (in my eyes). While I of course don’t like see you all in pain, it’s a little comforting to know that what I’m going through is not unusual for someone my age and it even happens to us as we get older.

  42. Ruth says

    Hi Laurie and JP,
    For the record, I’m 45.

    Laurie, I do think a good diet has saved my life. It’s the one thing I do best – I think I do under eat but I eat almost exclusively organic, and don’t get sick (well meaning colds or flu, etc but if I have been drinking and not eating, like before a big full on day at work, I might puke up, not good, but it doesn’t happen too much). I don’t hardly ever get drunk, my body is too used to alcohol. I did cut back down a bit recently after hearing about my ex’s stint in ER with acute pancreatitis. He did not consume hardly any water, did not eat well due to anorexia which he was in denial about and drank about 11 beers a day – he lied about that even to me and said it was 7 and told the Drs 3-4 – but I stayed with him one summer and he used to buy a case of IPA every day. That stint he had, which apparently was extremely painful, was what got me consuming from this new water infuser cos I got scared the same could happen to me. It will certainly prevent the hangovers. Funnily enough, despite the Chardonnay abuse, I don’t get hangovers. Try drinking more water before bed. The only thing that saves me from being an absolute sop is that none of my friends drink, of if they do, it’s really just a glass. My partner has never drank at all and my employee only drinks about one glass a month and hates alcohol and is very opinionated about it and looks disapprovingly when I go to lunch with him and have one drink. Luckily I don’t like spirits/liquor or any thing like Jagermeister, never tried it and gave up on the old tequila years ago. Beer makes me feel fat and I don’t even like champagne. But still, too much wine is where I am still at but I’m looking at stopping in three weeks time. JP, an alcohol journal is a good idea, so is a gratitude list, the only decent thing I came away from AA with years ago. Thanks for the reminder.

    I used to get those ‘being chased’ dreams all the time. It usually means you feel trapped and under enormous amounts of pressure. That is why a lot of us drink I think. Now mine are nearly always, lately anyway, about being lost in big buildings or ridiculously late for work at a new place. I think that’s because my job is draining and I’m bored with it but being self employed forever, I can’t really think of what else to do. I’m too old to work for anyone else. I’ve got a couple of things in mind but it’s the insecurity, thought of starting again, etc.

    Thanks for listening. Ruth

  43. says

    Just sent this to my dad who thinks drinking one beer makes you an alchy:

    I’m really sorry for the pain I’ve caused the past year. It has been really hard on me mentally when a job tells you to own the site and then they change their mission against your will. I feel bad ***** died but I had really taken it under my wings and did a shit ton of great things for them and now people come to me saying they miss it. But when they went to pay to join mode and put me as the go to guy to handle pay processes with my shitty old computer the anxiety took over. I had to wake up every day knowing I was going to yelled at buy some middle eastern fuck or some high as heck dude from the midwest every day. I couldn’t breathe some days. Then I had a friend have a heart attach for no reason and another have a seizure. I started freaking out thinking “what if that happened to me” It was the most unbearable thing I had to go through and don’t wish it on any worst enemy. Even our ceo was drinking a bottle of tequila every night. I was only drinking a few beers. I really love the taste of some good beers and only drink for the taste. But the anxiety became terrible. I am finally learning to deal with it. AA only made it worse. They tried to make me same “thy will be done” 1000s times a day which made me want to shoot myself in the foot. It’s no wonder 1% of the real alcoholics stay sober in orange county. I don’t even like being drunk and can stop when I want. I can stop when I want but these guys just like getting completely mind fucked with drugs and alcohol. I on the other hand have been the most sober one at the end of every night. If being diagnosed with GAD makes you an alcoholic then maybe I am. But for now I get more drunk by running 5 miles than I do dancing in a club full of wasted people. Maybe some of these feelings come as a result of me having a near genius iq and over thinking everything. But there is a better way of thinking it through and going to aa meetings where they literally tell you “You are going to die if you don’t go to a meeting and say “thy will be done” 1000000 times a day. It’s a fucking joke. Almost all the people I’ve met either shoot poop in their veins or drink 4 gallons of vodka in a day. I personally hate vodka.

    I am 27. I’m an alchy?

  44. Laurie says

    Hi Ruth I am going to the Doc tomorrow need a complete physical and to talk about this anxiety and see if I can rule out a hiatal hernia and hopefully all that Tumeric I have been taking over the years has helped my liver and my pancreas God I sure hope so, last years physical my billirubin was right on point for the liver so that is a good sign, I am trying to drink more water will look into that water bottle you purchased, where did you get it, sounds good, and cucumbers in the water will make you relaxed naturally. All my friends drink, the whole damn state of PA are alcoholics seriously. It is all a mindset and mine is a mess right now with my son in prison and my daughter among the missing and doing drugs, my other son is only 19 has a 2 year old son and is so responsible, doesn’t drink or smoke he is the reminder to me that I did do something right. Anyway I see a shrink in my future and some damn yoga if I can get away from Face book and alcohol I would like a life worth living, not just work and drinking, nice talking to ya hope to again and thanks for listening too Ruth, God Bless.

  45. Ruth says

    Hi Laurie
    I am about to have to get into full on work mode so can’t post a great reply, but you can get the fruit infusion flavor pitcher (it’s BPA free) for $20 from amazon. I have no interest in the company whatsoever, just came across it. I keep it by my bedside once it comes out of the fridge and drink it in the night if I feel dehydrated and it’s working like a charm:

    I also keep it by me while watching films. I’d not recommend tap water or distilled, just some spring water by the gallon is what I use.

    I’ll write more later, but in the meantime, don’t beat yourself up about your children, they need to find their own path like we all do and you can only be really responsible at the moment, since they are pretty much grown up, for your own behavior and as we know, that is a task in itself.

    Have a great Sunday. I’ll write more in the week. PS. Link didn’t go through, give me your email address: prob cos this site doesn’t want people endorsing products, which is quite understandable. Ruth x

  46. Anna says

    Hey there, checking in again. Ruth, you and I could be drinking twins! I swear it’s been so hard recently even just cutting down.

    I’m 41, a stay at home mom, and I drink between 1 bottle- 1 1/2 bottle of cab per night. I also don’t care for spirits or anything else. I’ve suffered from social anxiety, phobias and GAD my whole adult life. Alcohol dulls my anxiety and I know I’m self-medicating. Every night I vow I will have only 3 glasses but it always turns into 5 or 6. I too wake up with panic attacks, usually between 4 and 6a.m.. It’s such a vicious cycle, and I know better, but it’s like I can’t get off the merry go round. I’m just disgusted with myself and my lack of self-control. But that’s not helpful either.

    I have a scrip for ativan that I take on my worst days; generally one or two per week. If it’s between that and having a drink at noon, I definitely go for the ativan! Otherwise, that way lies madness.

    Sending well wishes to all of you, thanks for listening,
    Anna

    p.s.I will check out the fruit infusion pitcher. Thinking about my liver makes me want to hyperventilate :(

  47. Anna says

    Laurie, I sometimes get that choking feeling too. It’s probably GERD! I went on Protonix a year or so ago and it helped a LOT. OTC meds like prilosec can help too. I need to improve my diet as well. Of course my alcohol consumption doesn’t help the GERD. I notice that if I really overindulge my symptoms crop up again in spite of the meds.

    Hugs
    Anna

  48. JP says

    John Madden, take it from someone who’s completed 4 marathons, and it’s also proven, running is a natural anti-depressant.

    The choking feeling, I thought I was the only one who got that. :-)

    I did end up going up North to ski, by myself. I think more of the problem was I knew I was going a lone, I couldn’t get any of the girls I’m dating to join or any friends, then again, it was last minute. I think most of them, truly would’ve wanted to come if there was more notice – I just got th place handed to me the day before.

    I didn’t drink at all that weekend. Actually, I had one beer at lunch during my spring break and it felt a little weird, that was it. I sat in the bar and drank club soda at dinner or during the day after skiing, etc. I had a really messed up dream which I will not get into, it was BIZARRE!! But it definitely had the being “chased” theme we all have.

    I’m training for a 10K and I want to do well. My body is still a little off center, I can feel it when I run, the right side of my body tightens up, I think because its taking on more of the work load.

    I really have no desire to drink right now. I’m noticing just anything I put in my body food, drink (non-alchololic) I may be sensitive too. I felt a little strange this morning, and all I had was a cup of coffee and that’s it. I wouldn’t say anxiety, just not “on”, that always upsets me – actually, it makes sense why I get anxious the day afer drinking, because it’s only going to make the feeling of not being “on” much worse.

    I felt great when I got back on Sunday. I was cleaning my place up, went out for a little bit, it was a nice day, and bs’d (txt) whith my colleague up in Massachucetts, who I said I may or may not be falling in love with. She’s definitely attracted to me more than she let’s on, she gives a way little things here and there, I can assure you I’m not feeing my male ego; however, I have enough going on here locally in that department to worry about someone a ways away, who is going throug there own stuff.

    She was drinking wine, I was watching the Rangers, I told her I wasn’t drinking because it was making me feel weird. She then got concerned, and I told her “sweetheart, that’s very sweet, but I’m fine, I know what it is.” (she has no idea of what meds I’m on). She then passed a joke that perhaps I’m getting old and we laughed.

    Again, I’m being selfish… Anna, with wine, it could also be the sugar. That could make you all jittery and anxious, especially if it’s waking you up, it’s the sugar that is waking you up. As we all know, wine goes down quite easily and can catch up on you. I actually like really good wines, but I’ve been trying to stay away for that reason. My little wine fridge has been empty for some time now, maybe I should let my ex-wife have it.

    Well, I’m off to some work… stuff… everyone be well…and oh, I know I said this before, none of you are alcoholics… I know alcoholics and drug addicts and the symptoms and behavior are much different. Is alchohol affected us in a weird way? Yes. First, an addict doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong and will give up his life for a substance. I think I even read somewhere when Eddie Van Halen was intervened with for the gazilinth time, his own words were, “I gave up my family for this, which makes you think you can make me stop!” (then I think he trashed a room) – I actually saw Van Halen recently, he’s definitely sober now.

    Anyway, I digress, be strong…

    JP

  49. Frank P. says

    Ruff weekend. . but still sober!!!
    Took my kids boating and camping this weekend. The first whole day there I experienced the repeating negative thoughts and dwelling in my own insecure negativity which was topped off with a nice anxious icing. .

    You see camping and boating in the past has been a drinking activity for me. Not having any this time around triggered those emotions. It was almost as if I had drank heavy the day before, but I had’nt. After catching a boat load of fish I was able to crack a smile through the depression and got a nice nights rest in a hammock, on an island with a cool breaze. Little bits of paradise pierced their way through my window of suffering that night:)

    I finally got my appointment with a new doctor that I can understand. He is from romania, so the language barrier wasnt as bad as my previous middle eastern doctor who got his license from Costco. This Doctor gave me 1 1/2 hrs of his undivided attention. . almost like a theropist. I let it ALL poor out. . from the split up parents, to the drug use,to all my many tragedies that have plagued my life, my Fathers mental disorder and all the strange feelings I have been suffering from along with the what I beleive to be permenant side effects that I have from ant-depressents, valium, xanax etc. By the time I was done this guys jaw was on the ground. . LOL. .

    Amazingly he listened to every word enthusiastically. He complimented me and told me to feel lucky for the insite that I have. He said I was “extremely inteligent and articulted myself very well”, for someone who has been through all of that. That made me feel sane to say the least. He was totally against the valium and xanax and gave me a script for Hydroxyzine at bed time. Its like a large dose of benidryl basically. I am also now set with a social worker that will help my find a psychologist under my insurance so that I may continue healing without the use of anti-depressants. After two days of bliss like sleep on this medication I feel renewed, sober, aware, “ON POINT”. No groginess in the morning, no disturbing dreams etc. He also reccomended that I do my bike riding in the morning before work instead of after work as that is contributing to my lack of R.E.M sleep at night. I think I am on the right track. I feel there is still hope for a peice of mind.

    Doing better without the beer thats for sure!

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