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Anxiety

Old 01-11-2017, 05:14 PM
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Anxiety

So...inspired by a friend I thought I would post this link and raise a discussion about anxiety:
Everybody's Anxious and Nobody Wants to Talk About It

Of course heavy drinking often causes acute anxiety to the point of panic attacks. Anxiety is a symptom of withdrawal too. One of the features of early sobriety (or PAWS if you like) is acute anxiety lasting for some time into abstinence. Some people feel they drank to self-medicate...that booze was the remedy for anxiety.

What I want to say is that acknowledging and dealing with Anxiety has been the primary feature of my own continuing recovery...nearly 8 years now without a drink.

Symptoms which are sometimes better and sometimes worse for me:
- Worrying
- Overthinking
- Insomnia
- Irritability
- Perfectionism
- Social Anxiety / avoidance
- Oneupmanship
- People pleasing
- Low mood/depression
- Chronic low self esteem

I could add to this list indefinitely. The root cause is often anxiety.

I will go out on a limb and say alcoholics are more likely to suffer from pre-morbid anxiety. An anxious disposition is a risk factor in developing a drink problem. Years of drinking worsen anxiety. These all have a lasting effect. Recovering alcoholics are more likely to suffer with ongoing anxiety.

Even in sobriety, it took me a long time to admit that. I went for treatment for my 'depression' long before I would admit that anxiety was the bigger issue.

Anxiety is a dirty word. People don't like to admit it, even to themselves. People don't like to hear others talk about it. The instant reaction is to reassure, close the Conversation down, rationalise it or offer a solution.

Which is crazy Anxiety to some extent is a natural human experience. Acute anxiety is a destructive, but very common phenomenon in modern society.

Anyhoo...point being this past year in particular I have spent a lot of time spotting and fessing up to my own persistent anxiety, and tackling it in whatever way I can. Talking about it helps. Admitting it to someone helps.

Anyone else else out there suffering. ..You're not on your own. You're not weird, unusual or defective. Anxiety isn't a barrier to recovery. It's a naturally occurring obstacle that needs to be seen and tackled

Just my opinion, no medical advice offered.

Have a great evening folks

P
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:31 PM
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Good topic!

I definitely did some of my drinking because I'm not a social person, and alcohol brought out the social side of me, at least for some of my drinking years It made me feel normal, enjoying being around people, and helped eased my anxiety in social situations. Vicious circle indeed!
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:39 PM
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I am 79 days sober after 27 years of daily drinking -severe panic, anxiety and depression is why I finally quit the booze.

I am currently on a 3 month leave from work due to anxiety and depression. I am not ashamed - my employer and everyone in my life knows my issues.

I have good days and bad days now - usually a bad day follows a really good day.

I realize I will probably always have anxiety issues - I work hard to try and manage it.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:07 AM
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Your mention of anxiety and panic attacks is true on a biological level; I just wish I had delved into that area earlier than I had. According to some medical literature, anxiety has been demonstrated to be the other side of the coin to depression, meaning that they're almost the same demon after all.

Still, people seem so much more receptive to the word 'depression' over the dreaded 'anxiety'. If someone mentions their depression, sympathy is usually the response they receive. If you mention your anxiety, watch as people around you try to make you 'snap out of it'.

Both (in their severe forms) are obviously health problems, but I think the way the mainstream views them is counterproductive; we know that alcohol makes them worse, yet the answer is somehow another drug? I doubt it.

I do agree that we're (the anxious and depressed) set up for alcohol abuse, for sure. Once alcohol boosts our serotonin, dopamine, glutamine and GABA, it's like we're finally 'normal' for a hot minute. If only that lasted in the real world.
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Old 01-12-2017, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by DeathBox View Post

I do agree that we're (the anxious and depressed) set up for alcohol abuse, for sure. Once alcohol boosts our serotonin, dopamine, glutamine and GABA, it's like we're finally 'normal' for a hot minute.

Everyday, for so many years, I only felt "normal" after I had the first 2 or 3 drinks of the day in me.

Before I started drinking for the day I was hungover, irritable and anxious. After a few drinks I felt normal and really good. Eventually I would get drunk and just be out of it until I passed out and woke up to start the awful cycle again.

So I only felt "normal" for a few hours per day.
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Old 01-12-2017, 05:44 AM
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On the "booze as cure" angle...

Alcohol is a social lubricant. I definitely buy the idea that some people discover drinking for "liquid extroversion" or as a poor strategy to address anxiety.

But...pretty quickly the solution becomes the problem. You're drinking to relieve the anxiety caused by yesterday's drinking. That's why it's a poor strategy.

The fear of untreated anxiety is a massive barrier to stopping drinking for some, in my experience, but it's completely unfounded.

I am certainly glad I stopped so I can deal with what's underneath.

P
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Old 01-12-2017, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug39 View Post
Everyday, for so many years, I only felt "normal" after I had the first 2 or 3 drinks of the day in me.

Before I started drinking for the day I was hungover, irritable and anxious. After a few drinks I felt normal and really good. Eventually I would get drunk and just be out of it until I passed out and woke up to start the awful cycle again.

So I only felt "normal" for a few hours per day.
yeah that was me too.

the sad part too with anxiety is over they years when i was hesitant say anixous about something or sturggling with something due to anxiety i was called many things along the lines of a "sissy" "wuss" etc.. Saying hey i got bad anxiety sorry was an unacceptable excuse you might get hit back with "man up" or "grow a pair" etc.. all those things dont help they just make you feel even worse and worse about yourself usually lead me right back to the bottle etc..

Since getting sober I've had to stomach all of those things and I get better and better at shrugging it off and saying hey look this is just how i am sorry if it bothers you etc..
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Old 01-12-2017, 06:36 AM
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I never really had anxiety. It was only when I started drinking heavily that the anxiety popped up in my life. I'm on a Librium taper and still had a panic attack last night. Came from out of nowhere.

The other thing I don't understand is when the Dr tells me my insomnia is due to anxiety. I get the early insomnia as your brain is healing itself, but I never thought I had anxiety in the 4 years I was sober. I just had trouble falling asleep
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:03 AM
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This hits home. I've suffered from anxiety since I was a child. I thought it was normal because my mom acted the same way.

I definitely started drinking because of it. I remember goint to a therapist, worried that I needed a drink at night to fall asleep. He told me, "you found your drug of choice" as if it was ok to drink to relieve my symptoms. Bad advice.

Quitting definitely brought the anxiety back, but now at 16 days, I've had very few attacks. I know I'll always be a worrier, but quitting the drink really helped.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:37 AM
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I thought that I had anxiety and depression. I was having horrific anxiety and panic attacks when I was drinking. I've been fortunate that since quitting they've mostly gone away. Once in a while, if I overdo the caffeine or forget to eat I will have an anxiety attack. Self care is important. I do still have mild depression but it's manageable now that I don't drink.

I think that regardless of whether you're self medicating any underlying anxiety with alcohol or the anxiety is caused by the alcohol withdrawal, it's worth quitting to give yourself a chance. In the end I was doing what paulokes said. Drinking today to relieve the anxiety of yesterday's drinking. It was no way to live.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:05 AM
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I also struggle with horrible depression and anxiety, for many years until I found alcohol and it was like a miracle cure. I think that's what makes it so problematic for people in our shoes is that it works too well for our issues, leading to full blown addiction and making the problems even worse in the long run,
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by DeathBox View Post
I do agree that we're (the anxious and depressed) set up for alcohol abuse, for sure. Once alcohol boosts our serotonin, dopamine, glutamine and GABA, it's like we're finally 'normal' for a hot minute. If only that lasted in the real world.
Been dealing with anxiety and depression since I was a child and yes I agree that people who are depressed or anxious are more prone to addiction.

Maybe this would be worth a new thread but does anyone know of natural ways to boost our serotonin, dopamine, glutamine, and GABA? The doctor I see for my SSRI mentioned this, but it wasn't clear to me exactly how to do this.
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Centered3 View Post
Maybe this would be worth a new thread but does anyone know of natural ways to boost our serotonin, dopamine, glutamine, and GABA? The doctor I see for my SSRI mentioned this, but it wasn't clear to me exactly how to do this.
You could always supplement. Tryptophan for Serotonin. Tyrosine for Dopamine. Gaba for Gaba
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Centered3 View Post
Been dealing with anxiety and depression since I was a child and yes I agree that people who are depressed or anxious are more prone to addiction.

Maybe this would be worth a new thread but does anyone know of natural ways to boost our serotonin, dopamine, glutamine, and GABA? The doctor I see for my SSRI mentioned this, but it wasn't clear to me exactly how to do this.
Feel free to keep the discussion here I'd say. The chemicals in the brain often rebalance over time with rest, healthy living and a balanced life but otherwise strongly recommend speaking to your doctor or a health professional.

The boring answers are all worthy of mention:
- Good sleep hygiene
- Cutting out unnecessary stress
- Having strong social support
- Eating well
- Cutting down caffeine
- Learning better coping strategies
Etc etc.

There is good evidence to say people with faith worry less and cope better with adversity. I don't mean attending church regularly, I mean having a strong sense of faith and meaning to life.

I will pull out the necessary research papers if that's controversial; )

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Old 01-12-2017, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Centered3 View Post
Been dealing with anxiety and depression since I was a child and yes I agree that people who are depressed or anxious are more prone to addiction.

Maybe this would be worth a new thread but does anyone know of natural ways to boost our serotonin, dopamine, glutamine, and GABA? The doctor I see for my SSRI mentioned this, but it wasn't clear to me exactly how to do this.
This would be an interesting topic to hear from others that have had success with natural alternatives. I've tried l-glutamine which is also supposed to help with alcohol cravings, but all it did for me was give me more anxiety.
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Old 01-13-2017, 12:52 AM
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Anxiety with depression for me was actually fear with self pity, the answer being faith with works. Spiritual alternatives are proven to work.
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Old 01-13-2017, 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Gottalife View Post
Anxiety with depression for me was actually fear with self pity, the answer being faith with works. Spiritual alternatives are proven to work.
I hear you Mike and I don't disagree with you.

Just maybe think there are other useful ways to talk about the problem and get to the same result.

Another useful distinction...fear is often specific, anxiety is general. What do you pray for if you can't put a finger on the nature of the problem? So it helps to get more specific...name the dragon, understand what it is we want removing

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