Giving Up Alcohol Due To Anxiety

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Individuals have diverse ways of coping with their problems.

Most of them choose to "have a drink" or get over with their difficulties through drinking a bottle of alcohol; they unwind or de-stress through drinking alcohol, to the point that they exceed their limits and forget that they have different levels of tolerance.

What if their way of coping with anxiety becomes the cause of another anxiety?

Drinking occasionally is ideal, and only moderately is recommended than drinking like there is no tomorrow.

Why? Read more to understand and know the answers, which would suffice your curiosity.

Understanding Anxiety

You cannot delve directly into the relationship between alcohol and anxiety without defining each term first, especially the latter. On that note, what then is the meaning of anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion felt by any individual, emphasizing his reaction or response towards a sad or stressful event in his life.

It is said to be a normal reaction to a painful event. However, if this anxiety levelled up to a continuous feeling of nervousness, it could be a sign of "anxiety disorder."

Anxiety disorders come in different forms. Based on the statement of The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, (ADAA) "anxiety disorder" involves the feeling of "extreme fear and worry." In this regard, the extremity or the level made it more alarming.

Can Alcohol Cause Anxiety?

Unfortunately, drinking alcohol heavily can lead to alcohol addiction, and worse, in the long run, it can cause "alcohol use disorder" (AUD).

Understanding the anxiety caused by alcoholism connotes adjacent health problems - be it in the facet of an individual's mental health and psychological aspect.

Research shows that alcohol addiction leads to intensive anxiety and panic attacks.

Alcohol abuse can have long-term effects on our health, such as mental health conditions.

Individuals with alcohol addiction are having difficulties in coping with traumatic events. Alcohol harms brain activity.

Excessive alcohol drinkers have great possibilities to develop an anxiety disorder. But up until this moment, no solid evidence confirming anxiety may also occur for those moderate alcohol drinkers.

The good thing is you can still decide whether to stop drinking. You can do it slowly or abruptly.

It takes willpower, especially for those excessive drinkers, as they may experience the effects of alcohol withdrawal. The side effects of alcohol withdrawal can aggravate your anxiety.

How would you know if you are experiencing the side effects of alcohol withdrawal?

Specific impacts of alcohol withdrawal are:

  • nonstop trembling of hands
  • excessive sweating
  • increased heart rate (more than the normal)
  • more episodes of hallucinations
  • nausea
  • unusual vomiting
  • sudden seizures

Does Giving Up Alcohol Help Anxiety?

Giving up on alcohol is the only step and decision you need to make to help you with your anxiety. Be brave enough to do this essential step towards a healthier you.

But how does giving up on alcohol help you with your anxiety? The following are the benefits of giving up alcohol:

1. You will have more time to rest physically and mentally.

Deleting drinking sessions on your planner or daily activities would undoubtedly give you more time to sleep and relax with a serene mind.

Who would not want ample time to rest or relax? Of course, eight hours of sleep are what your body needs daily, and aside from that, you also need the right amount of exercise. Both are essential to your health.

2. You will have quality time with yourself and your loved ones.

Drinking sessions undeniably eat a lot of your time, and worse, you could spend a day or two with it.

Some individuals think that alcohol is the best way to forget their problems, but the truth is, it would just give you a temporary relaxing feeling because that is the effect of the drink itself.

But as the famous saying goes, too much of anything is dangerous. The same applies to drinking alcohol.

3.  You will have a healthier lifestyle.

You are on your way to a healthier and better version of yourself as you decide to let go of your alcohol addiction. This might be the best help you can get from giving up alcohol.

It only means that you can now start to plan daily fitness routines to top it all. In such a way, you can redirect your focus to your health.

Alcohol Is Never A Treatment for Anxiety

Once you say, "drink moderately," it goes to show that individuals must drink at least one to two bottles of alcoholic beverages a day. However, "moderate drinking" has different implications for different people.

Moderate would mean two drinks per day as the ratio recommended for older men and women.

On the other hand, older adults have faster alcohol metabolism, which means that you must know your limitations for alcoholic beverage intake per day if you belong to this particular age group.

But the best way to know what is moderate for you, to ask and consult your doctor and confirm how much alcohol you must consume without compromising your health.

Regardless of whether you are drinking moderately, there are still risks that may compromise your health.

  • mania or depression
  • obesity
  • diseases, such as liver disease
  • heart ailment or cardiovascular problem

The impact of alcohol on individuals varies. It can lift your spirit after a terrible day or make you more sedated.

It can cause a feeling of relief, but only for the first short hours. It would not make you more comfortable after long hours of drinking. Therefore, the relief is but temporary.

Discuss and open your concerns if you notice any with your medical practitioner first to check if alcohol consumption is good for you.

Remember that drink alcohol is unsafe if you are experiencing the following:

  • low tolerance to any alcoholic beverage
  • anxious tendencies or aggressiveness
  • diagnosed with any mental health problem

Take note that alcohol is not and will never treat your anxiety. It is always better to consult a professional specializing in mental health issues.  

He is the most reliable person that could answer all your questions regarding the matter.

Effective Ways of Treating Anxiety

Modern advancements in the facet of health and medicine have come out, which means many options to treat anxiety are available.

These options exist; therefore, they must be conducted and offered to possible clients.

Treatment options vary depending on the anxiety a person is experiencing. Therapy is said to be an effective treatment for alcoholism and anxiety.

Say, for example, "social anxiety" therapy can help to minimize anxiety attacks along with medications.

However, if you suffer from GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, you may opt to undergo therapy. Let your doctor rule out the cause of your anxiety attack.

This way, you will know which activities to avoid that may interfere with your behavioural therapy.

GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a constant feeling of stress or worries with no specific reason or cause.

The said, therapy entails a series of conversations with a therapist, only tackling things in connection with your anxiety.

And in a more superficial understanding, it is done by literally talking about it with your doctor constantly.

You can ask for effective medicines from your physician that you can take regularly. Each medication has different effects on treating anxiety.

Doctors commonly prescribe the following medications:

  • Antidepressants – You can take antidepressants each day to treat anxiety, generally
  • Benzodiazepines - Doctors prescribe these for temporary relief of anxiety attack

Other prescribed medications:

  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta); Escitalopram (Lexapro); Alprazolam (Xanax); Diazepam (Valium); lorazepam (Ativan); Paroxetine (Paxil)

Always consult your doctor before taking any medication. You can take some of the abovementioned medications or interact with alcohol.

Discuss everything with a professional about your problem with alcohol addiction to rule out the best treatment. This way, you can avoid fatal or harmful side effects.

Coping Mechanism

Coping with anxiety depends more on yourself. As much as possible, do not depend solely on taking medicines.

Try to slow it down and prevent it from causing intense increased panic attacks and seizures:

  • Breathe slowly. Do the basic "breathe in/breathe out" exercise. This breathing exercise can make you calm when you are about to feel the attack of anxiety.
  • Think of happy and positive thoughts. Reminiscing old happy memories will do you a favour. Avoid overthinking.
  • This one is proven and tested: Count from one to 10 slowly or up to higher numbers. Do it until you begin to feel that the attack is fading.
  • Redirect your attention to anything that makes you happy or feel good. This would create positive emotions.

Consider Alcohol Rehab Treatment:

The One Thing I Least Expected in Rehab

There are many available treatments and methods for recovery. However, the rehabilitation treatment programme and choosing to be an in-house client may work perfectly for you.

In this option, the treatment programme will guide the former user through a safe and very effective medical detoxification in a round-the-clock manner.

This is followed by counselling to emphasize the reasons behind the former user's alcohol addiction.

The rehab treatment centre will cater to effective ways to manage their clients' triggers, including cravings. The holistic approach is that one thing most individuals least expect from the rehab centre.

How to Recover from Alcohol Addiction

Support is one major thing that you need to find after undergoing rehab. You have the option to seek out the company of your loved ones or the company of other recovering clients.

They will be the ones to understand you since you are in the same shoes fully.

Conclusion

It is imperative that you share your sentiments, thoughts, and struggles with your network of friends and colleagues. It is a form of outlet to finally let go of all the anxiety you experienced in the past days.

Take control of your life. Chances are, once you fully take control of your life, your family and friends will be proud of you, and you will get the unexpected support and love you deserve.

As part of the treatment programme, former users were recognized at the end of their journey and were asked to seek help from the "higher power".

Some say it is their faith, and others say it is their strong will that gives them the courage to give up alcohol in their lives.

Regardless of your motivation for giving alcohol, remember that Abbeycare can be a partner you can rely on in this journey.

Visit our Scotland rehab or Gloucester rehab centres to find out how we can help you.


About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Pete has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for The Hygrove and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. To read more about Pete visit his LinkedIn profile.