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Severe anxiety, panic, after stopping drinking

Old 12-31-2016, 07:23 AM
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Severe anxiety, panic, after stopping drinking

I'm 24 years old and I have been drinking quite heavily, at least a couple times a week for as long as I remember. I tried stopping and didn't even after I promised myself and my boyfriend I would. Our only problems were due to my drinking. On Christmas, I started drinking like usual and couldn't stop. After this I had a massive panic attack and decided to stop immediately because it was just causing me and those I love so much pain. It's been a week since then and I'm still having severe panic attacks and anxiety. I can hardly eat or sleep and keep thinking crazy things that i have never ever thought before. Is this normal? Can anyone give me advice or help me? Im just so scared.. I went to the er and talked to a crisis unit lady and she said that even though I wasn't drinking everyday, my brain became dependent on the chemical. And that these feelings are normal. Please help

I should add that alcoholism and anxiety run amok in my family
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:36 AM
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Welcome Corinneg1992 I'm glad you found us we can help

Nice to meet you
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:47 AM
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I think going to the ER and getting help was a good idea. And, I think the information is probably accurate. I had terrible anxiety and panic attacks when I stopped drinking. It's just a case of getting through it and knowing that it will improve. The things you can do to help could include exercise, meditating and deep, slow breathing to help calm yourself.
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:22 AM
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Many of us with mental health issues would turn to the booze. I also battle with horrible depression and anxiety issues, and the absolute worst of it was caused by the alcohol.
I would really suggest seeing a therapist to help work things out.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:49 AM
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It's tempting to keep using alcohol to tamp down these anxiety issues. I did it myself for years. But it's just no way to go through life, trying to dodge these demons that want to own our souls. You have to kinda say enough, Basta, no more, and take a stand. And then do the right thing, get on the right path.
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:26 AM
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Same here

Massive anxiety. When I finally do get to sleep I wake up soaking with sweat. Drink more to try to take the edge off. Helps a bit but then it comes right back. Spend the day lying on the couch watching stand up comedy shows on tv to try to laugh.seeing doc next week to get anxiety prescription and get back on that. Planning on the gym, too, but God it's so hard to even get out of bed or up from the couch to do anything at all. Got some post its and a pen and am writing myself notes of things to do and sticking them on the wall next to my bed. It feels good to identify concrete actions I know will help, even tho they will take time. Including recognizing the anxiety is a vicious circle of being terrified things will not get better. Chipping away at that. You can too. You can too
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:50 AM
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Yes. Unpleasant but quite common. We can minimise the effect on us by learning different strategies to cope - breathing exercises, as well as learning to remember that the feeling DOES pass, and although it feels like it might do, it will not kill you (I used to feel like it could anyway).

Taking care of the common triggers for cravings will also help you get through these early days and you can remember the triggers with the word HALT. Ask yourself if you could be Hungry-Angry-Lonely-Tired. Generally these things did not feel like that's what was up, it just manifested as anxiety , restlessness, irritability, and a general feeling of discontentment. Much of the time I felt like I didn't want to eat or feel hungry. Of course, my body DID need food, whether I felt like it or not. Eating is pretty much like taking our medicine though. If you're not eating much, try to ensure you have all the food groups covered and a eat little but often to keep the blood sugar levels even and avoid further mood swings with sugar highs and crashes.

I found that going to AA meetings really helped me find some hope , and I really benefitted from being able to talk frankly to people who understood exactly what I was experiencing, and we're brave enough to tell me what I needed to hear (my normie friends and family were, I think, doing a good line in saying what they thought I wanted to hear, and I didn't want to upset or worry them so didn't feel I could be completely open with them).

I'm not sure how I'd have made it past all that anxiety and changed my way of dealing with life without AA and the program of recovery that I worked through. It's not for everyone, but I think it's definitely worth giving it a good go.

Have you seen Dee's thread about making a plan? That could also be helpful for you .... http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...y-plans-1.html

Wishing you all the best for your sobriety and recovery. BB
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Old 01-01-2017, 06:19 AM
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sounds about right. thats how it went down for me as well. good news is it passes. in time.

if its causing you lots of grief I woiudlnt rule out seeing yoru doctor to rule out any other possible issues and such.

posting here or going to AA helps too you'll find you'll feel better when you talk with those who you can relate too and whom understand what yoru up against.
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:18 AM
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Hi Corinne,

I hope you're feeling a bit better.

Like you i'm 24. I also have long term issues with anxiety. Whenever i quit drinking, I get immediate severe panic symptoms / attacks for a few days. If you are still having these after a week its definitely worth seeing a Dr. There are a plethora of things that can help long term anxiety issues. Most people will get anxiety on quitting, but for some of us with long term anxiety issues, stopping drinking will not necessarily make that go away.
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:10 PM
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[QUOTE=zjw;6271023]sounds about right. thats how it went down for me as well. good news is it passes. in time.

if its causing you lots of grief I woiudlnt rule out seeing yoru doctor to rule out any other possible issues and such.

posting here or going to AA helps too you'll find you'll feel better when you talk with those who you can relate too and whom understand what yoru up against.[/QUO


I've been feeling much better today. It's the first day I haven't had to take a alprazolam to calm myself down. I have a mantra that I recite when I start to feel one coming. I was getting nervous that it would never end but I'm so happy that it's atleast calmed down.. it gives me hope that it wont last forever and that I'm gonna be okay
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:13 PM
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thank you so much for reaching out.. I haven't ever really had anxiety attacks like this but I think it's because i never got sober enough to realize I had problems and confront them. I just willed them away and drank but now I know I actually have to deal with them. It's scary but I'm happy that I'm feeling better with each day.

I got a doctors appointment on Wednesday and will be discussing anti anxiety/ depression medication.
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:51 PM
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Anxiety is common after quitting drinking. It does get better, the longer you're sober.
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Old 01-01-2017, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Corinneg1992 View Post
thank you so much for reaching out.. I haven't ever really had anxiety attacks like this but I think it's because i never got sober enough to realize I had problems and confront them. I just willed them away and drank but now I know I actually have to deal with them. It's scary but I'm happy that I'm feeling better with each day.

I got a doctors appointment on Wednesday and will be discussing anti anxiety/ depression medication.
It's a good idea to chat with the doctor. But there are lots of options that you can explore as well as medication. When we talk about getting a plan and working on our recovery, basically it's about learning what we can do to live life on life's terms comfortably without relying on alcohol or other substances or other compulsive behaviour for escape or instant gratification.

Why not consider all your options before going straight down the medication route?
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:06 PM
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Welcome Corrineg

Glad you're feeling a little better. Anxiety is common but if you stay sober it will subside in most cases
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Old 01-01-2017, 07:40 PM
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I have to say that I understand where you are coming from completely. I have anxiety, my dad has anxiety, and my sister thinks she has it too. I had a rough childhood to say the least. My sponsor in AA always tells me that a lot of the anxiety I'm feeling is my body withdrawing from the alcohol. I never wanted to accept it, but I'm starting to realize it's true in some cases.
It seems the first couple of days after quitting cold turkey I get massive panic attacks and anxiety, then it sort of subsides to a manageable level, but then they rear their ugly head back up again at random times. I have relapsed chronically for the last year and a half because of this, and most people say that if you're taking benzos or anything for anxiety that you're not truly sober. I say IGNORE THOSE PEOPLE. If you are honestly experiencing this severe anxiety, be honest with your doctor and tell him about your history, and how the anxiety is affecting you. I have had panic attacks since I was fifteen years old, before I even started drinking.
I am prescribed Klonopin 1 MG 2x daily for my anxiety, but as I have been on it for two months I am slowly starting to skip my dose on days where I don't need it. Sometimes I think these medications can be a tool to help us get adjusted to life. I don't think it will be a permanent solution, but if you are miserable right now and may turn back to drinking to quell this anxiety, there is no shame in taking medication for it. Just my two cents!
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by khendal46 View Post
I have to say that I understand where you are coming from completely. I have anxiety, my dad has anxiety, and my sister thinks she has it too. I had a rough childhood to say the least. My sponsor in AA always tells me that a lot of the anxiety I'm feeling is my body withdrawing from the alcohol. I never wanted to accept it, but I'm starting to realize it's true in some cases.
It seems the first couple of days after quitting cold turkey I get massive panic attacks and anxiety, then it sort of subsides to a manageable level, but then they rear their ugly head back up again at random times. I have relapsed chronically for the last year and a half because of this, and most people say that if you're taking benzos or anything for anxiety that you're not truly sober. I say IGNORE THOSE PEOPLE. If you are honestly experiencing this severe anxiety, be honest with your doctor and tell him about your history, and how the anxiety is affecting you. I have had panic attacks since I was fifteen years old, before I even started drinking.
I am prescribed Klonopin 1 MG 2x daily for my anxiety, but as I have been on it for two months I am slowly starting to skip my dose on days where I don't need it. Sometimes I think these medications can be a tool to help us get adjusted to life. I don't think it will be a permanent solution, but if you are miserable right now and may turn back to drinking to quell this anxiety, there is no shame in taking medication for it. Just my two cents!

You're message truly helped me. Both my parents and my siblings all suffer from anxiety too, I think I never realized how bad it was because I was medicating so much with the alcohol. And now without the alcohol, it's hard to control the anxiety. The first few days after stopping were so scary I thought I was going to die. The thoughts going through my head terrified me. The last week I had been using .5 mg xanax to help curb the freak outs once a day but the last couple of days have been easier with the panic attacks so I was able not to. Today the anxiety reared its ugly head back again though and it took me close to 2 hours to calm down..

I'm excited to seek options and talk to my doctor. I know that if I need to be on anti anxiety meds and that is their opinion, than so be it! There is nothing wrong with needing that kind of help I don't think..
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:55 AM
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So glad that you are doing better, Corinneg and have sought out proper help!
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Old 01-02-2017, 12:51 PM
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From the little I know, what you are experiencing is pretty normal. Something to keep in mind is that you never have to go through this again. Its one of the reasons I quit. I couldn't handle the panic attacks, heart palpitations, impending doom, and all the other stuff.
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Old 03-29-2017, 12:38 AM
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I just checked back into this forum and saw your reply! I cannot say how much it means to me that you said that, I am so glad that my reply helped!! So many times since I have been in AA I have been caught up in following the definition of what other people define as being "truly sober", and worrying about "having the alcoholic brain since birth" as the old timers like to put it. Let me tell you, while alcoholics and addicts do have a certain neural pathway that makes us prone to substance abuse, that does not in any way discount our suffering in other mental health issues!!
If we are these idiots who cannot take any substance with abusing them, then please tell me why rehabs are prescribing medications to ease our suffering as we get off of our self-medication(alcohol)!! Sometimes issues are not related to sobriety, they are related to getting a clear head, trauma, dealing with our cards in life as we are dealt them, and moving on with life whether we need the assistance of medication or not!
In the end, it truly does not matter. The relationship between you and your doctor is private for a reason... That reason being because it is no one else's business!! (my sponsor has been on anti-depressants for 15 of her 30 years of sobriety and does not divulge this to people in the rooms of AA because that is a personal choice that only she needs to worry about; she also does not judge me for taking medication for my anxiety as long as I am honest about it!) Thanks for reading!
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Old 03-29-2017, 05:32 AM
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Today the anxiety reared its ugly head back again though and it took me close to 2 hours to calm down..
I still have times like that myself. In my case i try to be happy that its not taking me days and months to calm down. But still even just a couple hours or half a day is a lot of itme lost and wasted on it. But for me I try and shrug it off and keep going. Initially I felt like i was disabled or something unable to deal with anything. but I dunno I hit a point of acceptance where i thought this is just how i am and theres certain things I need to do to try and stay on top of this is all. It got easier after that.
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