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Severe anxiety after quitting drinking
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Severe anxiety after quitting drinking

Hi, I am 25 years old and have been a drinker since I was roughly 16-17 and have been a heavy drinker for the past 5 years. I got to the point where I was hungover/sick or drunk pretty much all the time and decided to quit drinking. I stopped cold turkey a couple months ago for about 1 week and it was one of the worst weeks of my life. Horrible insomina, anxiety, shaking, sweating, dizzyness, so much I couldn't take it and started drinking again. I started drinking a few beers a day just to feel good and did this for about another month. Finally I decided enough is enough and I don't want alcohol in my life anymore. I quit drinking on christmas and have not touched a drop since. However after 4 weeks I'm still suffering. My physical symptoms have lessened some but mentally I am a wreck, I cannot sleep and am exhausted all day and suffer from extreme anxiety. I was told that generally these symptoms start to go away after a couple weeks but I've yet to see any releif.

I have been trying to eat healthy, I take daily vitamin suppliments, and my doctor prescribed a low dose xanax .25mg I believe? But nothing helps...

I have about 3-4 what I would call serious panic attacks a day where I feel like Im choking, extremely afraid and paranoid. The rest of the day I have serious feelings of fear and nervousness. I get mentally foggy and can't think clearly or concentrate. all in all it just leaves me both mentally and physically drained. I don't go out anymore, I never feel good. I do not have health insurance so constantly seeing a doctor is very costly to me. I don't know what to do or try to help get through this. Will this every go away? are there any tricks I can use to help lessen these problems?

Any advice would be apreciated.



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Avatar_f_tn
Don't take the xanax.  Your doctor should of never given them to you.  He should of asked you how much you drank and if you were honest, telling him you had a drinking problem, legally he was not supposed to prescribe them to you. The xanax is for you, like taking a drink.  Your problems are alcohol related, it can easily take a year for a very heavy drinker to feel "right" again. See some of the AA web sites and talk to people about your situation. You will find that your problems are common. Expecially the insomnia.

When you quit drinking cold turkey you could of had a seizure. I am not a doctor, there is an abundance of knowledge about alcohol and the body. The're are many state and local facilities that will help you regarding your alcohol related problems on a sliding fee basis. Consider finding local AA meetings, you will find you are far from being alone.

PM me if you what to someone to talk to.

Goog luck,

abby
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Avatar_m_tn
Out of curiousity why is the xanax bad for me to take?
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Avatar_f_tn
The drug works on the same brain receptors as alcohol does.
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455167_tn?1259261471
hi. abby is right about the xanax. it's one of the most addictive benzodiazepines available and cross addiction from alcohol dependency is common. there are other anti-anxiety meds that are safer. were you completely honest with your doctor about your drinking? that is imperative if you want to get better. if you are used to taking it now don't just stop without consulting with a physician as xanax has its own withdrawal syndrome much like the alcohol. but don't put it off---make the phone call tomorrow and get things moving. depending on your location there may be some form of outpatient therapy available at little or no cost, but your best resource is definitely aa. it costs nothing and there are meetings all over. if you drank heavily for 5 years it will likely take a little while for your nervous system to re-normalize, but it will get better. call your doctor and find an aa meeting. just try it---try several different ones if there are a few to choose from. talk to some of the folks there especially before and after the meeting. during the meeting just try to listen. i was right where you are in 1991 and i chose to do things my own way for many more years. you don't have to find out the hard way like i did, give yourself a break!   take care,  gm
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey there, I just found this website by googling "quitting, drinking, Anxiety"
I'm going through EXACTLY what youre going through, minus the medication
i'm 24 and ive also been drinking heavy since 16-17.
I quit cold turkey on Jan 3rd, and I have been going through INSANE amounts of depression/ anxiety. I can't even leave my house, I can`t talk to people normally. When i go out to get food I run and grab it and run back home. I can`t go out with friends, my mind feels cloggy. I cant think when I speak to people. ITS HORRIBLE.
I`m thinking about going to a doctor and trying to get on some sort of medication, I CANNOT HANDLE THIS. I had to take the semester off school, and ive been doing NOTHING except sitting in my room.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for posting this, I just signed up for this forum because of this post.
I'm also kind of going through the same thing.  I've been struggling with anxiety for probably the past 5 years, and coincidently, I've also been drinking a little too much for the past 5 years. I'm 26, started drinking more when I turned 21, but I've been known to tie one on pretty frequently since I was about 18 or 19.  When I 18 my mom started buying me alcohol; I suspect it was an attempt to turn me into a drinking buddy for her, since my father wasn't much of a drinker.  Slowly I got more used to it, to the point when I was 20 I told my mom never to buy me alcohol again, because I can't avoid drinking it if it's in the house. She'd go two days without buying me beer, then she'd tell me " I got some Sam Adams in the fridge just in case you want it."  I began to catch myself becoming an alcoholic at that age, and started to calm myself down a little...started exercising more...and started reading about buddhism and tried to find myself spiritually.

I'm not going to go into my whole life story, but some ****** things happened in my family, I joined a band full of alcoholics, I started drinking more heavily because those were the people I was around... I'd be drinking about 8-10 drinks per day, maybe a day off inbetween occasionally.  However, I started getting heart palpitations and sleep apnea...It took me awhile to link these to the alcohol consumption. I lessened my drinking to 3-5 drinks per day for about the past few years, but that was still way too much. I'm about 3 weeks into quitting drinking, and I was an absolute constant nervous wreck for awhile... My heart palpitations and sleep problems dissapeared a day or two after stopping drinking, but I still feel anxious, nervous, dizzy, foggy, and I know what you're saying about feeling like you're choking. I've been having more frequent moments of clarity though, and I've been sleeping better, my hands don't shake unless I'm panicking... I think as time goes on I feel just a little bit better each day.  I still hear something inside me saying "see? quitting drinking hasn't gotten rid of your anxiety, can we just start drinking again now?", and I get very close to giving in sometimes, but I just try remembering the heart palpitations and sleep apnea, and how ****** it feels, and how often I've stared in the mirror while I feel like I"m about to die, telling myself "Chris, his is going to kill you someday, please listen to me when I tell you to stop drinking."  I'm not a religious person, but I still ask God every day to give me the strength to avoid drinking on this day.

Now it's a beautiful day outside, my work was cancelled due to snow (still getting paid though, hell yeah), and I think I'd like to go for a run.  Good luck to all you out there going through this. It's a struggle, and as I type this I still feel kind of distant and foggy...I just have to keep telling myself it'll go away eventually, and I've been making myself sick for so many years, I can't expect to heal entirely in 3 weeks. I've got all the emotional baggage I've avoided opening for the past however many years to deal with now...If I can sort through it, maybe I can start feeling better about my life, and I hope you can do the same. Don't give up, the addiction stops with you, don't pass it on to future generations.

-Chris-
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Avatar_f_tn
The same person will drink again. It sounds like you are trying to stop alone. Please talk to other alcoholics. Only another alcoholic understands what it is like.  AA is an awesome support group.

Good luck,

abby
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527657_tn?1214055450
I am an achohlic so you can talk to me.  I have been on ativan for 22 years i dont abuse it and i no longer drink or smoke cigs. I quit both by myself, well the smoking with the help of chantix.  I am also a nervous person and I am on paxil for anxiety and insomina.  I still need to take a tylenol pm before bed in order to sleep through the night.  If any of you would like to chat feel free to pm me.

taybey
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi.  I am not 24 or 25 but 72. I drank 24 oz. of wine to help me sleep for the past 30 years.  I quit cold turkey Nov. 30 2008.  Like you, I am suffering from anxiety and sleeplessness.  I also get seizures that I am told are caused by anxiety. My doctor put me on Effexor that I took for 2 months.  It helped but I went off also cold turkey.  At the same time she put me on Effexor, she had me take 2.5 mg diazapam (valium).  I still take the diazepam to help me sleep.  I have read several times on the internet that benzodiapines (spelling?) which Xanax and diazepam are, can be used to treat withdrawal from alcohol.  I have also read that mental withdrawal from alcohol can take from 3 months to one year.  I now have a doctor at the University that says not to quit benzodiapines cold turkey but to have a doctor monitor withdrawal.  I think you are on the right track.  But from my experience anxiety from alcohol withdrawal is tough.  I am also scheduled for a psychiatric evaluation soon and will have that team advise about further use of diazepam or whatever.
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Avatar_m_tn
I drank 1/2 a 5th of scotch every night for 15 years. Then I started falling down and doing serious injury to my body. I stopped cold turkey February 16th, 2010. At first I would turn bright red and sweat like I was running a marathon. I had the shakes and couldn't sleep. Then the horrible insane anxiety attacks. I am still experiencing anxiety attacks, but not as serious. After reading your posts it is clear that I will be a year without drinking before I am out of the woods, I hope. As far as wanting to drink again, I have been lucky with that, I don't have the desire to drink again. I just want the anxiety attacks to stop and to go to sleep when I am tired.
Patrick
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Avatar_m_tn
I was told to take xanex, it releives the withdrawl (withdrawal) systems from alcohol. I have the same issues as you are going through. I quit drinking a little over 2 months ago. Find a few AA meetings to go to, get some phone numbers from people and just keep in mind, you are not alone.
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