Increased Anxiety

Old 12-20-2016, 07:40 AM
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Increased Anxiety

Hey everybody

I am just wondering if anybody else has experienced a huge increase in Anxiety since becoming or trying to become sober?

My quit day was October 29th but I have fallen off the wagon twice (both in December).

After all the initial symptoms (night sweats, shaking, irritability, head aches) I experienced three weeks of hardcore insomnia.

I went to a doctor who prescribed me sleeping meds and I was worried I would get hooked on those so now I am trying to sleep without them and I am doing ok.

My latest issue has been with anxiety - which has caused me to fall of the wagon because I just can't handle how extreme it has been....

Some days I wake up in a panic and I don't even know why.... I feel like I should be doing something yet there is nothing of particular importance I need to do at the exact moment and I am also constantly freaking out about the future....

I exercise a lot, read, hang out with my wife but sometimes I just can't shake the thoughts or the terrible feeling anxiety gives me so I fell off the wagon because I know if I am drunk at least my head will stop spinning temporarily.......

My sister thinks that I should go on some medication as it will help with my recovery now that I do not have insomnia......

what do you think? Does anybody else have anxiety like this? It is hard for me to do my job because of all these racing thoughts..... I am a school teacher so for me to come clean with my boss and tell her I am a recovering alcoholic with anxiety issues will probably hurt my ability to continue teaching but if I keep having these panic attacks I am not going to be a good teacher regardless.

Feeling a little stuck.

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Old 12-20-2016, 07:57 AM
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Yes, I had a huge increase in anxiety. Getting sober means actually dealing with emotions, not burying them deep with alcohol, so they are all amplified. If you stay on the right track and stay sober, the anxiety should lessen.

Do you have support for your sobriety? Can you go see a therapist about your anxiety? Therapy has helped me with the anxiety, depression, and overall list feeling since I've gotten sober. I just passed one month.
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Old 12-20-2016, 07:59 AM
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Unfortunately I do not have access to common health care needs.....

I work in a remote hamlet in northern Alberta in Canada.

I had to drive 2 hours to see a doctor to prescribe me sleeping medication and they want me to come back for more treatment and therapy but I need to take time off work in order to do that..... so i am feeling a little bit stuck.....

I am on holidays now so i am planning to go see a doctor today now that I am in a city with my family.
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:11 AM
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When I first quit (cold turkey)... I did have fear and anxiety. But I also started an exercise routine and walking every day. IT really helped. Especially the time alone walking. I think the physical activity is helpful.

Hope your doctor visit helps!
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Old 12-20-2016, 09:40 AM
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Hi. I'm a teacher as well. And yes, the increase in anxiety is very common. I found that AA and working the 12-step program of recovery when I finally got desperate enough to try it. Unfortunately I let 6 months slide by where I somehow stayed sober, but didn't work on my recovery, so I'd got into quite a negative spiral by then. My boss / Head referred me for counselling in the end, as the doctor wasn't very helpful and she was getting very worried about me and my mental health. To be honest the counselling wasn't massively useful either, apart from as an illustration of how adept I was at avoiding painful or embarrassing truths. But at least that brought me to the place of willingness that meant I finally engaged in my recovery work at AA.

Please reach out for some support from people who understand alcoholism. There's plenty of help out there. Dee has an excellent thread about making a sobriety plan which is busting at the seams with useful information. ...

Wishing you all the best for your sobriety and recovery. BB
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Old 12-20-2016, 09:56 AM
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Yes, I definitely had a marked increase in anxiety both in the latter stages of my drinking career and about a year into my sobriety.

Therapy and the practice/concept of mindfulness and meditation has been very helpful to me and has almost eliminated the panic attack type things and reduced my anxiety significantly. Eating well, getting enough sleep and exercise is important too.

There are a whole bunch of podcasts and resources on the web for mindfulness and meditation but it's difficult to sort them all out until you know where to focus your efforts. That's where therapy comes in, or at least it did for me. I only see my counselor about once a month now, and only about every 2 weeks initially as well. So you don't need to be driving somewhere every day.

Accepting that i was an anxious person by nature was essential as well. I went into my therapist wanting a "cure" -but one really doesn't exists. It's a lot like can't ever completely cure yourself of it - but you can do a lot of things to make it almost an afterthought. Accepting that concept in itself can go a long way.
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Old 12-20-2016, 10:03 AM
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Hi, and congratulations on your recovery.

I had generalized anxiety long before I began drinking. In fact, it was the anxiety that pushed me to start drinking. I think you will find your anxiety will become more manageable in the near future.

This is a personal decision, but I do not take medication. I experience anxiety most of the time and, anxiety medication can be addictive. I have read a lot and found some things that work. There are simple breathing techniques that help. When you feel very anxious your breathing becomes shallow and quick and this fuels the anxiety in your body. Try Belly Breathing:

Sit comfortably, with your shoulders, head and neck relaxed.

Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out.

Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale slowly through your mouth.

And, here are some good books that will help you manage your anxiety:

Amen, Daniel Change Your Brain, Change Your Life

Bassett, Lucinda From Panic to Power

Burns, David MD When Panic Attacks

Chodron, Pema The Places That Scare You

Doidge, Norman MD The Brain That Changes Itself

Dyer, Wayne The Power of Intention and Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

Orsilla, Ken Mindful way Through Anxiety
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Old 12-20-2016, 10:22 AM
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I have also suffered from anxiety most of my life and used alcohol as a medication.

I think what you're going through is normal. Early withdrawal after the acute phase is marked by various uncomfortable things...whether it's anxiety, depression, dizziness or feeling like your going to fall down. Panic attacks are also common and for me a few years ago coming off a HUGE drinking problem, those hit me really hard in the morning when waking.

I echo what others have said that it does get better in time, but it might not be a bad idea to explore with your doctor what options are best for you. For me getting on an SSRI (Lexapro) has helped my underlying anxiety tremendously. Early on I also needed a benzo as a rescue med, but I don't use it anymore.

Hang in there and check in with SR often!
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Old 12-20-2016, 11:32 AM
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I don't want to sound like a broken record but my situation was pretty much the same as everyone else who posted on this thread.

The anxiety will get better with time and understanding how anxiety affects you.
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Old 12-20-2016, 02:11 PM
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Welcome Jeford

I think if this problem is a debilitating one, maybe it's worth taking some time out to get some help for it?

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