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Anxiety in sobriety

Old 04-09-2015, 04:53 AM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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I'm very early in sobriety and before I quit drinking I never noticed any anxiety, but since quitting, it is huge. I thought that the anxiety was caused because of my not drinking?! I thought I was just anxious because I can't drink?

I'll be interested to learn what you end up doing Scott, and HUGE HUG to you.
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:09 AM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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Hi darling:

I have no experience with pills. They really scare me. I just want to say that exercise is a great natural way to help anxiety. I have had issues with it all my life and still deal with it but I have learned to cope. I am the perma-sweaty hands girl.

I dnt have much input but I just wanted to say that we are with you, that I was startled when I saw you started a thread and this is whY I had to contribute. You know alcohol will only makes things worse so picking up is a definite no-no. I would try to incorporate exercise into my life as well as breathing techniques... Start and go from there and keep us posted.

I send you a big hug and I wish I could be more helpful. I really hope you feel better soon.
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:49 AM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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Scott - I am not a big advocate of pills. I try to minimize the amount I take if possible. I am currently taking Effexor for depression. It is a bit different from the SSRIs. It is an SNRI -serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It is supposed to work to help reduce depression and anxiety. I have also started taking niacinamide which is the non-flushing version of niacin or B3 and it seems to help with my anxiety. You can google it so see info about niacinamide and anxiety. Good luck Scott
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:31 AM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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The two most incredibly-effective, life-changing cures for anxiety that I have found are;

Meditation
Running

They really do work. I believe it is actually impossible to have anxiety or depression if one consistently sticks to daily meditation and regular running.

There is a really great, practical, straight talking book I am reading that you might like. It's called 10% happier by Dan Harris.

This guy had an epic freak out on national TV. Panic attacks and anxiety crippled him. Partly associated with drug addiction.... But even afterward.

The answer he found was meditation.

A lot of us talk about it here but I sometimes wonder how many of us seriously commit to it regularly. I know that I talk of it often but only actually do it in fits and spurts. But even just five minutes twice a day begins to make a difference. And when I am running regularly, everything improves. Everything.

I think you ought to check out that book, then try an experiment; for 30 days - set an alarm for 5 minutes in the morning and meditate. Every day. Then again before bed. Bonus points if you work in a noon session.

In addition - take at least a 20-30 minute run daily... Most effective if it's in the morning. If you have trouble running that long at first or are having an off day - then make it a vigorous hike or a bike ride. It will be most effective it its in a natural setting like the woods or a lakeshore or at least sparsely populated area.

All told your investment is less than one hour a day, but I will bet you a hundred dollars it will change your life.
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:58 AM
  # 45 (permalink)  
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Thank you so much to all of the thoughtful responses, reading through these really gives me a lot of hope and ideas to try. I'm DEFINITELY not considering drinking at all through this for those that expressed concern, that is the very last possible thing in my mind right now.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:22 AM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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Sorry you are suffering, Scott.

The things that have worked most to quell my anxiety in sobriety are exercise, meditation (if for only five or ten minutes each day), eating fairly regularly, limiting my caffeine to three cups per day, and getting enough sleep.

That sounds like a lot However, whenever I let a few of those things slip, the effect is cumulative. I have to monitor myself regularly. I actually log these activities on an app. It seems tedious, but the alternative can put me in a state of mind conducive to drinking, and of course, that's my #1 no-no
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Old 04-09-2015, 02:26 PM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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Thanks again everyone, so much good info and experience from all of you. As a follow up, I just got back from an appointment with a Psy.D Counselor, the first of my life ever. We only had an hour but we had a good conversation. His initial assessment is that we can definitely try a "natural" cure first with counseling and other methods and wait and see if drugs are needed, he thinks we may not need them at all which makes me feel very good ( although he didn't rule them out entirely, only time will tell ). His office prescribes them too so the option is there if we need it.

I'll be taking a mental inventory of how things go over the next week as my "homework" and next week we will start working on getting better...i am very much looking forward to it.

I'm also going to try some of the meditation and breathing suggestions I've gotten here and try to start getting back into a regular excercise routine - that will help no matter which route I go.
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Old 04-09-2015, 02:33 PM
  # 48 (permalink)  
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sounds like you're on the right track.

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Old 04-09-2015, 02:54 PM
  # 49 (permalink)  
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Hi Scott.

What an informative and insightful thread, thanks for posting. I also had mild-to-moderate levels of anxiety in my whole life (fluctuating, sometimes it seems virtually non-existent for months) and like many of us, drinking made it extreme and often debilitating. I also had your dilemma about medication several times, even tried an antidepressant for a few weeks last summer, but I did not have good experience with that particular drug and then never explored it further as I feel my anxiety can be managed drug-free and a lot of it tends to be self-inflicted (the result of maladaptive "coping" strategies). I have been in therapy for over a year now and worked on quite a few issues related to anxiety, with great results. I hope you will also experience relief this way.

One thing that I've come to realize about things like chronic anxiety and depression is that we often put off seeking help and treatment out of fear of losing it actually. These emotional patterns get very ingrained in our thinking, decision making processes, and behavior especially for those of us who experienced them since early life, that we learn to function using anxiety as an integral part of our motivational schemas. Even if it's unpleasant, we get attached to these emotional states and fear of "losing ourselves" and our ability to function in the world the way we know to function. I really believe this is a major component of refusing medication and other forms of treatment for many of us, it was certainly for me. The perception of living without our anxiety seems threatening (even if unconsciously) also because initially it is unfamiliar.

The great thing about therapy and counseling is that we can "lose" it in a safe, controlled, and supervised way, and learn to replace it with healthy, adaptive thought processes and strategies.

I also second everyone on the exercise and meditation. I tend to feel my anxiety increasing each time I lag with these for even a week.

Good luck and please let us know how things go!
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:05 PM
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Thats really positive news Scott good on you spk soon friend
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:12 PM
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Hi Scott. I dont start many threads either. This was one I did start two months ago after a similar time frame to yours sober -

Hi

Please remind me why I don't drink. It will be 3 years in June.

I have to admit life is so much better in so many ways. But it gets pretty raw at times.

The OCD and depression seems to be getting worse lately, it embarrasses me and it's going to have to be medication or drink and I don't want either.

I enjoy seeing people here doing well and the positive changes. I feel bad to put a negative spin on things but I am just feeling as low as I have and like things are spinning away from me a bit.

Thanks for listening.


Basically I had been battling severe OCD and depression the whole time, trying to tough it out. I am very fit, exercise daily, martial arts and no caffeine. Had been on SSRI once years ago but was still drinking and didnt like it.

I have been on them nearly two months now. Citalopram at 20mg. Lowish dose but works wonders for me almost instantly. Probably because I am now more in control without drinking the meds seemed to be the missing bit of the jigsaw puzzle.

I didnt want them but tried everything else and hey, if I had diabetes I would take pills for that too.

There are downsides to the meds but for me it is a fiar trade off to help get this monkey off my back.

Just my story you may be different.

PM me if you want more info
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:59 PM
  # 52 (permalink)  
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Ahem....... "Tension Tamer" from Celestial seasonings - go Google it. Cheap tea that sells for $2/box. Works great

I don't use it often, but it seems to do the trick as far as anxiety goes. Has a nice tangy lemon taste to it

Sometimes I'll mix it with green tea at the start of the day for calm, focused energy as I go about my day. Or, I'll have a cup after my usual morning coffee. I'm also a big fan of their Vanilla flavored "Sleepytime tea", which is what I usually use daily for the better and improved sleep..... another great way to wind down the afternoon.

Just my two cents.
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:39 PM
  # 53 (permalink)  
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Scott great to read your news after seeing the counsellor! I'm glad that you have the opportunity to investigate non-drug methods but still have the option to move to a drug if it's deemed best. I'm confident that things will be a lot better for you in time, whichever path you follow, if you give it the same focus as you did recovery.
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:20 PM
  # 54 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by haennie View Post
One thing that I've come to realize about things like chronic anxiety and depression is that we often put off seeking help and treatment out of fear of losing it actually. These emotional patterns get very ingrained in our thinking, decision making processes, and behavior especially for those of us who experienced them since early life, that we learn to function using anxiety as an integral part of our motivational schemas. Even if it's unpleasant, we get attached to these emotional states and fear of "losing ourselves" and our ability to function in the world the way we know to function. I really believe this is a major component of refusing medication and other forms of treatment for many of us, it was certainly for me. The perception of living without our anxiety seems threatening (even if unconsciously) also because initially it is unfamiliar.
Yes. Research and clinical practice has born this out for decades.

It takes a lot of time and effort to adapt ourselves to and arrange our lives around anxiety and depression, and we therefore generally don't give up either of them all that easily. As you suggested, the fear of not knowing how to live without our hard-won and only partially adaptive behaviors in response to anxiety and depression adds another layer of resistance. And this is not always a fully conscious decision. Yet, according to the CDC, major depression is the leading cause of disability for Americans between the ages of 15 and 44, even though applying for disability for depression -- to say nothing of being approved -- is extremely difficult and time-consuming, and tends to wear down those who are most vulnerable.

(About two-thirds of those with severe depression in the U.S. go untreated. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting forty million adults in the United States age 18 and older. Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country's $148 billion total mental health bill.)

There's an analogy here to alcoholism and the "risks" involved in getting sober. Psychological addiction or dependence arises when we feel we cannot function "normally" without our drug of choice and, of course, physical withdrawals often provide a convincing argument in favor of continued drinking, moderation and/or tapering.

Though we can offer hope, the one thing that none of us can give to someone who is contemplating sobriety or who is newly sober is the often radical change of life and all the benefits that come with it when we put down the drink and then work towards achieving or discovering purpose in our lives. The same holds true with other kinds of psychiatric conditions, no matter what form the treatment takes.
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