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Old 12-24-2009, 09:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Anxiety and panic attacks after quitting: will I ever get better?


I am 34 yrs old. I am almost 5 months sober now. I was drinking at least 1 pint of vodka a day and sometimes 2. Got to where if i had to be at work at 7:00 am i was drinking on the way to keep the withdrawals away. this went on for over a year. Got to where i was having withdrawals and panic attacks even when i was drinking so i decided to quit. was misdirected and couldnt get into treatment so i detoxed at home and went through hell... i mean places in my mind and body i never want to be again. most of you know what im talking about, its awful. Constant panic and anxiety non stop also. had to go to the ER 5 times in a month. anyways it has slowly got better but am still having alot of anxiety and sometimes debilitating panic attacks. im still scared to get too far from the house in fear of having an attack. i feel like im never going to get any better. nothing but negative thoughts . sometimes i do have my good speels but most of the time if im feeling good im still worrying when the next attack is going to happen. im also having alot of weird dizzy feelings maybe from the anxiety im not sure and sometimes i feel like im in a dream, a very bad dream. im going to a state funded psychiatrist that looks at his watch ever couple of minutes and never seems to give a damn about what im trying to tell him. ive called many many places even rehabs to ask them if what im going thru is normal and noone seems to know any answers. im scared to death im going to be stuck like this the rest of my life and have irrepairable brain damage. all i can say is thank god im not suicidal. i love life and the people in it, its just this fear and anxiety. can anyone relate with this and give some hopefully positive feedback or experiences theyve had? or links? i am going to meetings and have a sponsor. thanks in advance

Donny
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, it does get better. I don't have anxiety or panic attacks anymore...used to be quite common. Also, I think you are spot on being under a doctors care.

A Huge congratulations on your sober time! 5 months is awesome!

Please know it may take awhile for more people to visit your thread...with the holiday and then weekend. Please don't get discouraged by that. Lots of good people and they will be able to give you much more wisdom than I have.
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Donny,

Welcome to SR! It might be a good idea to see a doctor about the panic attacks. I take a tiny dose of a beta blocker and it really helps control the panic attacks. I have a very minor heart condition called Mitral Valve Prolapse. It's not a big deal, it won't shorten my life span at all.

Before I got on the beta blocker, I had monster panic attacks, I think many of them were triggered by my fear of having one! You know how scary they are! Yikes!

Anyway, see your doctor, get a good exam and do tell him about the recent sobriety. And congrats on your time, BTW!

Are you drinking much caffeine? I am very sensitive to caffeine and aspirin. Either one will make my heart pound. Check out the labels of colas, energy drinks and even some foods have enough caffeine to get my heart react.

Stick around SR! Lots of good information here and plenty of great people for support!

Love,

Lenina
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Old 12-25-2009, 04:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey Donny,

I recognized myself in your story, especially the drinking in the early morning so I could get through at least part of the day at work without the fear of a panic attack. There were many days when that wasn't enough and I had to have a couple of shots of vodka along with my lunch (or instead of my lunch) to make it through the afternoon. It got so bad for me at the end that I did everything (dentist appointments, haircuts, grocery shopping, you name it) half drunk so I could avoid that fear of having a panic attack. I even started getting panic attacks while I was standing in line at the liquor store to buy the alcohol to prevent the panic attacks.

My panic attacks went away shortly after I stopped drinking and went through Intensive Outpatient rehab. On the advice of my counselor at rehab and my doctor, I started taking the smallest dose of Paxil. I remember being surprised and just a little disappointed that the drug didn't make me high or feel any different, but I did not experience any panic attacks. Sometimes I would get the fear of having one or the very early symptoms, but never the full blown "If I don't get out of this room right now my heart going to explode, why are all these people staring at me?" panic attack. After a year, I stopped the drug and have remained panic attack free for the past 6 years. I believe my regular attendance at 12 step meetings has also helped me learn to control whatever it is that starts up the panic attacks. I have actually given open talks in front of 60 or so people without falling off the face of the earth and without my head exploding. If you had told me I would be doing that back in the summer of 2002, the mere thought of it might have been enough to set off a panic attack

Freedom from panic attacks is just one of the many blessings I received by doing what takes to stay in recovery but it is pretty high up on the list. This freedom may be another case of my higher power doing what I could not do for myself, or of me changing the things I can, or a combination of both. For sure, I never want to return to the days of having to drink to function in the world.
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Old 12-25-2009, 04:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You have come from a long way away...
l recognise that.. places in your mind and body you never want to go to again.. well said!
All l can say is that it will slowly get better..
Just hang in there..
It needs time.
Wish you the best.
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi Donny from a fellow 'Bama resident. The Dr. visit is the best thing I have heard yet. Everyone is different in early sobriety but I have yet to meet someone who did not get better after quitting. So like they say in AA, "First things First". To me that means don't drink, go to meetings and take care of yourself (like seeing a Dr.). If you do those things without fail I am pretty sure you'll get better and better.
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Exercise helps me during the panic. A good hour of some kind of cardio makes my anxiety tame... NOT GONE but something I can manage.

I have 6 months and while I will not return to alcohol to manage my anxiety, I do accept that anxiety is something I have to manage. I will say that it has SLOWLY improved in the last few months and I am doing my best to be patient with it too.

"Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" is something I read when I can. It helps more than the "Chicken soup for your Soal" LOL
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Old 12-25-2009, 08:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Exercise helps me during the panic. A good hour of some kind of cardio makes my anxiety tame... NOT GONE but something I can manage.

I have 6 months and while I will not return to alcohol to manage my anxiety, I do accept that anxiety is something I have to manage. I will say that it has SLOWLY improved in the last few months and I am doing my best to be patient with it too.

"Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" is something I read when I can. It helps more than the "Chicken soup for your Soal" LOL
This is great advice exercise has helped me TREMENDOUSLY the last few days - I've still been a bit anxious at times but exercise it nature's remedy for the blues and anxiety IMO.

Congrats on 5 months, that's terrific!
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Old 12-25-2009, 07:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You may not be aware of PAWS

Post Acute Withdrawl - Relapse Prevention Specialists - TLC The Living Center

I suggest you give that info to both your
medical doctor and psychiatrist .

BTW takeing meds as prescribed by a professional
has no bearing on your sober time.....don't let any
misinformed AA member tell you that it will.

Well done on your sobiety
Welcome to our recovery community...
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Dj

Welcome to the board. Grats on your progress.

The fear and anxiety always led me back to the bottle. Once I did a thorough housecleaning the fear subsided. The anxiety rears it's ugly head everytime I quit helping others and get overly-concerned with me.

The process I went through can't be done effectively through cyberspace. Or at least I don't see how it could.

Have you met face to face with any recovered alcoholics yet? I owe my life to them.
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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yes both are pretty normal.

yes they diminish.
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I am 34 yrs old. I am almost 5 months sober now. I was drinking at least 1 pint of vodka a day and sometimes 2. Got to where if i had to be at work at 7:00 am i was drinking on the way to keep the withdrawals away. this went on for over a year. Got to where i was having withdrawals and panic attacks even when i was drinking so i decided to quit. was misdirected and couldnt get into treatment so i detoxed at home and went through hell... i mean places in my mind and body i never want to be again. most of you know what im talking about, its awful. Constant panic and anxiety non stop also. had to go to the ER 5 times in a month. anyways it has slowly got better but am still having alot of anxiety and sometimes debilitating panic attacks. im still scared to get too far from the house in fear of having an attack. i feel like im never going to get any better. nothing but negative thoughts . sometimes i do have my good speels but most of the time if im feeling good im still worrying when the next attack is going to happen. im also having alot of weird dizzy feelings maybe from the anxiety im not sure and sometimes i feel like im in a dream, a very bad dream. im going to a state funded psychiatrist that looks at his watch ever couple of minutes and never seems to give a damn about what im trying to tell him. ive called many many places even rehabs to ask them if what im going thru is normal and noone seems to know any answers. im scared to death im going to be stuck like this the rest of my life and have irrepairable brain damage. all i can say is thank god im not suicidal. i love life and the people in it, its just this fear and anxiety. can anyone relate with this and give some hopefully positive feedback or experiences theyve had? or links? i am going to meetings and have a sponsor. thanks in advance

Donny
I started to have a lot of problems with anxiety too. I quit drinking eight months ago, I hope I never touch the stuff again!

I have my anxiety under control now. This is what I am doing to maintain control over it. I take 10 mg of fluoxetine daily in the morning. This helps a lot with anxiety. I also have Propranolol for attacks and high stress situations like when I give a speech. I also have Gabapentin for anxiety attacks. This combo works great for me.

The fluoxetine (Prozac) takes about four to five weeks to start working but once it does, wow. It really helps.
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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For sure, I never want to return to the days of having to drink to function in the world.
I can say with confidence that I never want to return either! Hope I never do. I always tell my wife that I can't see into the future but I don't intend to drink again!
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Old 12-28-2009, 07:13 PM   #14 (permalink)
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....djdonee, I'm 35.... Just last year I was in your situation. I had the EXACT panic/anxiety issues that you are dealing with. It was 8 months before mine was completely gone. Now they did get less and less frequent as time went on, but I thought I would go crazy before they stopped. I thought I had perminant brain damage, and was gonna have to live with it for the rest of my life. It gets better just stick with it. I hit the gym hard over the last year and that has helped me as well.

..on another note, I broke down to the pressures of my family/friends (old drinking buddies) and had a few beers with them on Christmas day. I had no problem quitting after about 6 bud lights. Got up the next day, felt great.... life as usual.

...I was cooking dinner this evening and started feeling the weird dizzy waves, slight nausea, and sensations of hot and cold. Yup, it was the old panic attacks I remembered. They didn't bring me to my knees, but it reminded me of why I quit in the first place.

Hang in there!
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:36 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Sorry its been a while since I logged in.\Still not drinking though 6 months and a week!. The doc did give me librium, which is a benzodiazepine but i only take as needed for panic but i hhave to deal with the anxiety most of the day. he also gave me buspar which i cannot tell much of anything with it yet but im not up to regular dose yet. I am still a sort of mess but i am alot better since i typed the first part of this thread. It is getting better all along, just so slow its hard to tell but when you look back you notice. A car wreck 1-29-10 took my brothers wife and 13 month old granddaughter and my mothers cancer is back. I think the stress in my life has alot to do with this too. Yet still nothing is worth drinking again and going thru the hell ive been thru the past 6 months. I have surrendered! TRhanks for all of the great feedback i love this site and you all too! Oh by the way anyone going the anti depressant route beware of the nasty "brain zaps" when you quit taking them and they can last over a month!
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:04 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Hey Donny,

I am glad to hear you are doing ok. Cngratulations on the six months of sobriety through thick and thin! I think all of us come to discover that life doesn't stop happening just because we got sober. It's what we do after that discovery that makes the difference.

It is hard to see my recovery happening on a day by day basis but looking back six months or a year or two, it is definitely happening. Actually stopping drinking made such an immediate difference that I wanted all of recovery to work the same way but sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly as they say. I must remember that I didn't reach my bottom in one day or six months or six years, so it makes sense that I wouldn't get all recovery has to offer as soon as I want it.

I do remember the "brain zaps" that occurred after I stopped taking Paxil. Very odd, but they did go away after a couple weeks.
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Old 02-09-2010, 11:20 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I used to have anxiety almost constantly. I quit 5 months and I noticed it went away after roughly 1 month of sobriety. It's totally gone now - I don't even worry about it anymore.

I guess it's different for everyone.
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:46 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I totally remember how bad the anxiety was.That sense of impending doom was just horrible.Alcohol can really throw your brain chemistry for a loop.I always keep in mind that any sedative has a rebound effect.I remember the Dr. put me on Xanax for a while,and the rebound was even worse!Anxiety....self medication....repeat.It's a horrible way to live,and I'm so thankful it's over.I still do get anxious,but I just handle it with exercise,and meditation,as it seems to restore the feel good chemicals in my brain.
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Old 06-26-2011, 12:51 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Well it has been a long time now since I posted on this thread. I forgot about even joining this site and just ran across it again and found this post.

8/1/2011 will be 2 years alcohol free!!!

I found out alcohol was not my main problem, although it did play a role. My main problem was benzodiazepine (benzo) withdrawal! I had been taking 1 mg per day of Klonopin for around 3 years and stopped that at the same time I quit the alcohol. I never imagined just 1 mg a day could cause such a horrible withdrawal. I've been off the Klonopin for 14 months now and am still having a hard time due to a lot of central nervous system damage caused from Klonopin. I am getting better all along very, very slowly but healing is happening. Thank god the panic attacks went away.

Everything i've read online says you do heal but it can take a lot of time. Thanks god for the benzo sites I joined for support too. Hopefully before long I will be able to drive myself to some meetings.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:05 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Withdrawal from benzos and alcohol can be beyond bad. I quit valium and vodka at the same time, had bad anxiety, insomnia, racing thoughts for almost 4 months. Would never try that again! Congrats on the 2 years!
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