Wasn't always this way

Old 07-02-2018, 09:40 AM
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Wasn't always this way

Hi everyone. I am trying to quit drinking, and I have had some starts and relapses on this site since joining in January. I'm plugging away at that and making progress, but I have a question about anxiety.

I've noticed that I've gotten increasingly anxious and worried in the last couple of years. It's common for me to spend the whole day in bed worrying and feeling upset about something that is totally minor like making a phone call, handling a bill/payment, dealing with a real estate agent, or driving somewhere unfamiliar, etc. I often lose entire days to this kind of worry. I'm worried, so I don't work or do anything productive. And then I worry about how little I'm getting done. The thing is, I wasn't always like this, and I'm not necessarily a shy or reserved person in other areas of my life. I don't experience anything like a panic attack (from what I've read online). Just...low level anxiety about mundane ordinary tasks.

I need to see a therapist, but I've been putting it off. (I have new insurance kicking in next month, so waiting). But my question for now is, can anxiety develop like this later in life? And how do I know the difference between anxiety and just...being a nervous person? Not asking for medical advice, just if anyone has a similar experience.
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:17 PM
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Alcohol caused me tremendous anxiety post consumption. Abstinence, exercise and a healthy diet took most of it away and forcing myself to face situations and into situations eventually helped with most of the rest.
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:51 PM
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Professor I agree with Totfit! I've suffered from anxiety for most of my life it seems. At 73 days sober today, my anxiety is much lower and continues to trend lower everyday. When I do experience anxiety it's manageable and tends to left quickly.
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Old 07-02-2018, 09:15 PM
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Booze for sure can create, or make once minor, to massive issues when it comes to mental health.
Going to see a therapist will be a great step. I would suggest AA in the meantime until you can see them.
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Old 07-03-2018, 05:14 AM
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What worked for me was seeing a therapist, going to AA and fellowshipping so that I could hear similar experiences, and practicing a 12 Step program of recovery. Over time, the extreme anxiety I was feeling lessened.
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Old 07-03-2018, 08:42 AM
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Stopping and starting drinking multiple times is putting your brain through multiple withdrawal cycles, which is actually harder on it than daily drinking. It's setting the stage for increased persistent withdrawal symptoms, which include anxiety.

I did the same thing. During the years I was sort of trying to quit drinking but not really committed to sobriety yet, I stopped and started numerous times, all while experiencing worsening anxiety and mental health in general. I kept researching this puzzling decline in my well-being, coming up with all sorts of abstruse diagnoses and elaborate possible courses of treatment, while never confronting the obvious solution: STOP DRINKING.

Once I finally did stop drinking for good, my mental health improved by leaps and bounds over time. At 5 years sober, I can say my anxiety level is the lowest it has been since well before I started drinking alcoholically.
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:22 AM
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Absolutely - my anxiety became much, much worse towards the end of my drinking. I cannot say if the drinking/withdrawing made it worse or not, but quite frankly "why" it got worse is kind of irrelevant.

If it's to the point of keeping you in bed then it's definitely a problem - and not a small one. Quitting alcohol was a big help for me but that in itself was not a solution to my Anxiety. Just as I needed to accept that I had an alcohol problem, I needed to accept that I had an anxiety problem too. And that was confirmed by seeing a therapist where I was quickly diagnosed with GAD and Health Anxiety.

My advice would be to stop drinking and see a therapist. Most clinics have sliding scale fees if you don't have insurance yet. And quite honestly, if you go to an independant clinic an initial assessment probably won't cost you much more out of pocket than a couple weeks worth of alcohol anyway.

I know it's really hard to take action in this state - believe me I've been there - bit that's really what you need to do.
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:50 AM
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Thanks, everyone. The cycles and ramping up anxiety you mention Andante, and the need to take action both make a lot of sense to me. I think I'm realizing I need to tackle several issues including but not limited to alcohol to make a real change in my mental health and well being. I'm a little exhausted and overwhelmed by how much work that will take, but it does sound like it's the right thing.
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:19 AM
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I think that once I dove into recovery and realized how happy and at peace it made me feel, I didn't feel so overwhelmed. Rather than it feeling like a lot of work, I looked forward to meetings and fellowship, as well as my therapy appointments.
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:23 AM
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Anxiety and stress are two edged swords. A little of both results in optimum performance but too much can be debilitating. You may simply have a high set point for anxiety. Also note that there is a positive correlation between intelligence and anxiety. Smart people worry more.

IMO the relationship between alcohol overuse and anxiety is complex. In more early cases the alcohol can mask the anxiety. In later cases the alcohol is such a problem that it causes huge amounts of anxiety. But in the end alcohol is never the solution in the long run because over time it is the problem.

I think your plan to see a therapist is a great idea.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:49 PM
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I have dealt with anxiety for years. Even before I started drinking. Drinking did increase it tremendously. I have been on anti anxiety medication and it has helped me alot.
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