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6571576 tn?1382548114

Could this be alcohol related anxiety???

Hi everyone, thanks in advance for all your answers and advice.

I'm a female, 32 year old professional, and although im a business owner i have a pretty relaxed life. I'm one of those naturally happy kind of people, glass half full. I can say that i socialize a lot for work, but for the past 8 months have regulated my drinking. I used to drink at least a bottle of wine a DAY and then began having issues with anxiety hangovers the VERY next day. Some got so bad after binge drinking on the weekends, i'd have full blown panic/anxiety attacks with severe symptoms, I mean SEVERE, that was 3 years ago. I got on a pretty good track after finding out WHAT was really causing this (believe it or not the onset of it, i had no clue, i was told it was a heart condition i had) EVEN after i would mention to my doctor that i believe it could be alcohol related. Anyway, on Saturday I drank quite a lot celebrating a friends birthday. Im at that age now that annny little alcohol will give a nasty hangover, and over did it anyway because i of course, didn't learn the first time. I had to have a good 5 shots of vodka throughout the day, and perhaps 2 mixed drinks with vodka! I woke up the next day literally still drunk! Took another half shot to feel "normal" at 1pm on that Sunday morning, had a meeting, it was either that or be hungover all day and cancel meeting, i had to choose. That evening, the anxiety got so bad, I just couldn't bare it anymore and took myself to the ER for rapid heart rate, because of my heart condition i knew they'd give me an ativan to calm the anxiety.

Anyway, here it is Wednesday and I haven't had a drink at all. I'm not sad, but not happy, its just a monotone feeling, there's nothing there. Im not like my usual self at all. This is a different kind of anxiety that im feeling because usually with my anxiety either its there fully or its not at all. And with this state, it seems to be a constant feeling of anxiety, tense muscles, weird unreal spacy feeling, foggy brain, BAD insomnia, and nocturnal panic attacks, weird vivid dreams, loss of appetite, night sweats, cheek/jaw clinching that I now have sores in my mouth. A little panicky when awake but really nothing i can't deal with. I have the tingles and tense ribcage.

I took some Vicks sleepaid last night only 15ML which is half cup and ironically felt an hour or two of being NORMAL. Which was so weird, but my body fell asleep shortly after that. Not for long though, i guess my anxiety was still there because i woke up gasping for air, racing heartrate, and then too scared to go back to sleep with this happening twice. I said screw it and stayed up. I finally got back to sleep for 4 hours around 7am. Waking up perhaps once or twice.

Now, the anxiety is still there. Could this be alcohol-related? Is this scenario at all familiar to anyone? This is the first time i've had anxiety like this after a hangover for THIS long and so like..steady. I have alcohol in my home but scared to test this theory out only to start all over again. Im not psychologically needing liquor, i have no interest in it whatsoever, but maybe my body wants it? Also, if this is the case, what kind of doctor do I see?

Thank you so much for reading this. Hope i've given enough information.
23 Responses
6571576 tn?1382548114
Im sorry, im new and not sure how to edit yet but i wanted to add some personal health background.

Im a non smoker, I dont do hard drugs, I have smoked pot from time to time, I don't drink caffiene, I exercise, and considered fit. The only known issue i've had is a heart condition called WPW, that I found out after going through the horrible panic/anxiety issues. I'm single and have no children at the moment. I live a pretty decent life, and just pretty normal. So this is why i think its alcohol, i can't see any other reason but i did have a tough childhood, however i dont even think about that, lol. Definitely has to be alcohol, I was so dehydrated when i went to the ER on Sunday night that they had such a difficult time putting fluid IV in that i told them to stop poking me. I saw my blood in the needle at a stand still. Im very much hydrated now, but that was a freaky weird thing to see. Ive always been known to have stubborn veins, but that was just ridiculous, they were however able to GET blood from me the first time around.
Avatar universal
Welcome to the forum. Congrats on stopping alcohol! I'm a recovering alcoholic and have been through it all. I love how you write. Don't worry about it! Keep sharing and clearing your mind by sharing all those thoughts. I'm just sorry that I didn't see this sooner.

I see the anxiety part as the DTs. Mild DTs, but I'm fairly sure that's what it is. Stay stopped and I bet it goes away. I went through the exact same thing at work back in 1982. In the morning I'd come in to work and I was filled with anxiety. My doctor was giving me tranquilizers to calm my nerves, and they had stopped working. The only thing that calmed me was the drink I had to have for lunch at the bar near work (in downtown Detroit). My doctor was also telling me I'm having alcohol problems and these are the DTs. A guy in my department who was 21 years sober in AA asked whats up a few times also. What I did was to finally ask that guy to take me to an AA meeting. I stayed sober for 28 years until I had a slip in 2009 when I blew my back out and started up on vicodin, which led me back to my drink. Now I'm over a year clean again.

If we have the disease of alcoholism, one drink, no matter how far down the road it was from the last drink, leads us back into the hell we came out of however many years ago it was. You describe your drinking. I can identify with it. None of us know when we cross the borderline, but once we have the disease we have it for life. We must work on our recovery every day.

I personally stay away from Benzos even if my doctor suggests them. All I'm doing is borrowing tranquillity from my future and I have to pay it back with bad anxiety if I ever want to stop them. They are easily one of the most addicting substance prescribed by doctors you can get.

As for a doctor, just go to your regular general practitioner. They've all taken the alcohol class (hopefully). But be completely HONEST with him/her! Tell them everything. Don't feel shame, feel proud of the steps you are now taking to change your life. You're doing a positive thing here and I congratulate you on posting and recognizing you might have a problem other than simple "general anxiety disorder" (GAD). Keep posting, sharing and asking questions. This is sometimes a slow forum. I'm going to look for you on here often and I hope others see this post. You're going to be okay!!
6571576 tn?1382548114
Thank you so much for your reply. I would've never thought of myself as an "alcoholic" but perhaps I am! I can go months without alcohol no problem, and no desire to drink it whatsoever. It never crosses my mind to have a drink. But i built up such a tolerance to it over the 2 years of being a socialite that i needed more and more to feel a "buzz" i mean who wants to drink without feeling a buzz, i think alcohol by taste is nasty, lol. I don't know so much though if im an alcoholic or if i had alcohol issues that if i would've ignored these symptoms could have led to being full blown alcoholic. Who knows, i think my brain is really sensitive right now too. Also, what are DTs? Sorry new here :)
6571576 tn?1382548114
Okay I just googled "DTs" Delirium tremens and I am not experiencing any of THAT at all. I haven't had any shakes or anything like that. Though I do think I have pushed my body way too far in the drinking department lately because i need to get a buzz, and my tolerance is built up way too far. When I get that simple "buzz" i stop, ive never blacked out, passed out, been in a stupor or any of that. I think I do have a heavy drinking problem, and i do believe that is do to tolerance. I remember just a month ago, i had 1 glass of white wine, for some reason felt an awesome little buzz and had no more than that. My body just can't handle as it gets older, how I used to throw back the shots and im trying to get accustomed to that.
6571576 tn?1382548114
To add, My symptoms are pretty much gone. No insomnia, no anxiety at all, no depression. Back to normal. Although its been a week since that crazy "binge" and i don't take benzos. I have no desire to drink at this moment, lol too scared to even see if the anxiety pops back even with ONE glass of wine. I remember once when I was 19 years old, I drank so much I had a 5 day physical hangover. Not mental though, no anxiety, no shakes. After that i never drank again until the age of 25. And only at the age of 29 did I began drinking more and more because i was around it more at events. At 32 the hangovers are more emotional and mental than they are physical. Interesting how that works.
Avatar universal
Everyone drinks for the "buzz" - if not for that, we would drink water or tea or something alcohol free.  Seems You've come to realize Your tolerance has gone up - and so it goes for everyone - in order to get that buzz, You must drink a little more; and then in a while, it takes even more to achieve the buzz.  This is how alcoholics are born.

If You leave a group of cucumbers in the brine long enough, each and every one will become a pickle.  Some become pickles sooner than others,
Left In The Brine Long Enough There Will Be No More Cucumbers, Only Pickles!!

My opinion:  Everyone has the potential to become addicted to alcohol (brine) if they expose themselves often enough, long enough.

I think Your body is trying to tell You something.  
I think the hangovers ARE physical
I think it's Your mind and the emotions that try to convince You otherwise.

Avatar universal
Another great response from you my cyber friend in recovery!!!!i so agree!
6571576 tn?1382548114
If the hangovers were only physical, i would probably still drink, knowing i could just recover from them in a day, lol. But i VALUE my brain, so having this stuff mess up my mind, nope, can't deal with that. No thanks. Never been addicted to anything, and not trying to start now. As I said before, i was never a big drinker, didn't even drink in college, only this "socialite" bull, such a drinking culture and I just can't hang with everyone else. Fine and dandy. I was wondering if the anxiety was caused by that night and sure enough it was. I haven't drank since last week, and no desire to, no anxiety what so ever. A good friend of mine just passed away 2 days ago, and STILL no desire although im as sad as can be. These are the trying and testing times. I dont smoke, no drugs, not even coffee..Thanks for responding though! :) Got an appt with my doc next week, im one of those people who, when see a problem, TACKLE it, i just value my life and mind way too much, and how im feeling about my friend right now, wouldn't ever want my family and friends to feel this way. Total self LESS act...that i think kind of separates those who CONTINUE down the line of alcoholism and those who get the warning signs and STOP.
6571576 tn?1382548114
Also, yes people drink for the buzz but i know tons of people who claim that alcohol tastes good or that can drink a cold beer down like a soda. YUCK. Thats why i used to just take shots, i want to get that nasty taste down and over with. Sipping on a cocktail of that disgusting taste makes me want to hurl. If I can't take shots, then whats the point, its just such a gross taste.
6571576 tn?1382548114
Personality type is what seems to separate those who continue on to become full blown addicts and those who can stop on their own with no real issues. Ive noticed that people i knew who became addicts, also had addictive qualities, they were quite impulsive MOST of the time, and a lot of their life's choices were selfish. I can't imagine knowing what i know, to continue and put my family and friends through seeing me spiral, and going through the mood changes, dealing with all of this, worrying about me. Im too empathetic when it comes to that, i can't have them doing it on my behalf, just cause i chose to have a BUZZ? That's just plain ole selfish. Most people drink, and a lot of people drink heavily, but i notice that as people in my family aged, they just stopped altogether, their party days were over, now its family, work, life. Then I have that uncle or two, who were always known as the more selfish ones even before their addiction to alcohol, that just kept it going throughout their 30s, 40s, 50s. Personality type, definitely matters.
Avatar universal
No one recognizes their own addiction early on, lest there would be no addictions.

It's called "denial".
and I hear it in You.

You are mistaken that personality type "definitely" matters.  One does not become addicted because of "personality"  One becomes addicted because the SUBSTANCE (ie.,tobacco, heroin, ALCOHOL) is addicting.

I repeat, EVERY cucumber/person BECOMES a pickle left in the
brine/alcohol long enough.

cucumbers don't even have personalities
so You see
Personality matters not at all

Suggesting that "personality type" is what separates addicts from those with no "real issues", suggests that one personality may be stronger than another and that simply is not true.  Personality isn't the culprit , it's the SUBSTANCE that is addicting; smoke long enough You WILL become addicted to tobacco; shoot heroin enough times You WILL become addicted to heroin; smoke enough meth, You WILL become addicted to meth; drink alcohol long enough You WILL become an alcoholic - Your body AND mind becomes dependent on ADDICTIVE substances, no matter Your personality.  For some reason many of us want to think (deny) it's different with alcohol but it is not!!

I find many of Your comments pertaining to alcohol and Your use of it, concerning (denying).  I do not say this to offend You

Avatar universal
i do believe in the disease concept of addiction....if u haven't read any of the science behind this you should!i have a lot of denied alcoholism in my family.....all of them dead now.i never had an OFF switch early on in my drinking....tried like hell to find it...w/drugs too.I finally surrendered to the fact that i'll never have one.....and i have a healthy fear of the FIRST one of anything!this healthy fear has kept me sober/clean for going on 30 years!
Avatar universal
My Mother died an alcoholic.  I know and understand the struggle(s) and I have Utmost Respect and Admiration for Your Recovery!! Congratulations to You on 30 YEARS!! !!
Avatar universal
What you described as your symptoms based off of your initial post are exactly what I have been going through.

I used to be able to drink incredible amounts of alcohol with only symptoms like a terrible headache and maybe nausea the next day.  Now the day and even days after I drink a lot, I get a tight chest, it feels like my heart is beating irregularly and it's all that I can think about when I am in the moment drinking.  The thought that I'm going to have to deal with this absolutely terrible situation for days following drinking.

Even the days following it's hard to fall/stay asleep.  I'm constantly tossing and turning and never feel like I get a good night's rest.

The part that amplifies my anxiety moreso is that I'm only 21 years old and I feel like this shouldn't happen to someone my age. I'm a senior in college and exercise 4 or 5 days /week (By exercise I mean run 3-4 miles) and eat a pretty well-balanced diet and have always felt like a healthy guy.
When I feel my chest tighten up I get really freaked out, I usually can concentrate on my breathing and calm myself down but one time I ended up going to the ER because it felt like I was having what I imagined would be a heart attack.  They did an EKG on my heart and blood tests and told me that I was severely dehydrated but that my heart was healthy.  

Im in Marijuana central in Northern Cali and used to smoke multiple times a day and still smoke more than your average person but I've toned it down.  I am constantly around my friends who are all getting wasted (which I used to do and like your typical 21 year old does).  All the people I see throughout my days are constantly offering me beers and it's incredibly hard to turn them down time and time again.

Even right now as I'm typing this I have tightness in my chest.  Every Sunday (Or Monday or Thursday depending on when the 49ers play) we have our friends over to our house and drink mimosas or beers or whatever, BBQ, and watch the game.  All of my friends are broke college students, while I am quite well off (Marijuana Central Cali), I don't mind buying much more alcohol than what I am going to drink myself but it makes it very hard to keep my drinking to moderate levels.
Avatar universal
Thank U Tink!its been quite the journey...and believe me thru the years I've wanted to drink/use.....BUT i play the tape the whole way thru and know what will happen..plus a few hours of what i think might be an escape...cuz thats what it really is when ya get right down 2 it...isn't worth it!i don't miss hangovers,the anxiety many describe here,blackouts,drunk driving...the feelings of panic when i run out of something and having to get more......don't miss it one bit!i like being able to remember what i did the nite b4.......and not to mention the financial savings!i've got 3 dogs and 3 cats to take care of...they depend on me!we are each others worlds plus being a substance abuse counselor and watching the HELL ppl PUT themselves thru when they relapse is a constant reminder of what is out there for me if i yield to temptation- MISERY!i love recovery!
6571576 tn?1382548114

This is what I can say to you, you're having panic attacks brought on by anxiety, dehydration, and possibly hypoglycemia. This is what alcohol does to the body in excess. I've been there when my hangovers began to get crazy just out of the blue. If i were you, i'd SLOW DOWN now. Regardless of your age, some people's bodies can not tolerate alcohol like that. And many times people with anxiety disorders, will have a heightened level of this than someone who does not. If you don't "crave" alcohol like that, just please cutback altogether. Or go a period without drinking so that you can detox your body and get it back to a point of not needing so much to feel a buzz. This is a dangerous stage, healthwise and you may be suffering physically but mentally any time your body is dehydrated severely like that, it affects the brain. Also, i know your concerns prompted you to seek out this forum and probably others like it. Please remember that most people on these forums have serious alcohol problems, so please don't let a few of them beat you to believe you have some HUGE alcohol problem that needs to be addressed, or that you're an alcoholic. This will only add to your anxiety, you have to understand that its possible you could develop a problem with alcohol IF you continue down the path you're on, but immediately CHANGE courses, you're not already at that point, lol. One thing i've realized about addicts online is that they recognize every little thing about a "newbie" and relate it to themselves as if "YES you are just like me, an addict, i was just like you" it can make you feel horrible. Not EVERYONE becomes a full blown alcoholic even though they have issues like you and I. Most people do, its those who choose to, or crave alcohol so badly they IGNORE the anxiety (its your body's way of telling you something is wrong, its waving a white flag) Don't ignore that! My friend just died and I am grieving hard, I haven't had ONE moment that i wanted to get drunk whatsoever, and i have never lost anyone close to me like this, a sudden unexplained death. Matter of factly, its just making me look back on those drunken nights out on the town as a silly person destroying the life and beautiful mind that i have. I feel super ungrateful and would feel like an idiot if i drank now. Take care of yourself! You will get there, and what you're experiencing is NORMAL for anyone who has over drank, whether alcoholic or NOT.
6571576 tn?1382548114
I'm sorry but some people are a bit more strong willed than others. That's not opinion, that's fact. Just like some are more intelligent than others, some are more physically strong than others, some are faster than others. This isn't to say people who are a bit more emotionally and mentally vunerable aren't "strong" people, in that aspect they lack. And not even that they aren't strong, but some personalities are just selfish, and selfish doesn't mean weak, it means they dont care if their families suffer through their addiction, they are self absorbed. I remember someone asking me "do you think addicts have the selfish gene" Im not so sure, the drugs dont make an addict selfish, the point that the addict has a selfish personality is what leads them into becoming addicts for the most part. Me going through this just solidifies that belief. I am seeking out whether the SUBSTANCE is a problem, worrying about my health because i dont want to get myself into something that my FAMILY will have to deal with. I recognize a heavy drinking problem and am making proper steps to correct that. I think MOST people go through this, but many stop, and others DON'T because they dont want to. Then there are people who have impulse control disorders (i was a psych major) and really they will become obsessed and addicted to anything. Unfortunately these are disorders of the brain, has nothing to do with "will power" or whether one is weaker than the other. There are so many complex factors, but one thing i do know, is thankfully i have the ability to nip this problem in the butt. Me not doing so would be so incredibly selfish. To be aware of an issue, and not do anything about it. I am seeking out answers, and taking necessary steps, i can't say that for a lot of addicts.
Avatar universal
Strong will (or personality, or selfishness, or strength, or etc., etc.) has less to do with addiction than does EXPOSURE to an addictive SUBSTANCE.    

addiction can happen to ANYONE who exposes themselves to an addictive substance, often enough, long enough.

I did not make this up.

Don't be offended by what I say.  This IS "the alcoholic community" (not "the anxiety community") and it's alcohol/addiction that I addressed in my comments.  Alcohol inhibits signals between the brain, nerve endings and spinal cord.  Alcohol affects the body like a sedative does except it doesn't go the "regular" digestion route, it goes straight to the bloodstream and it can (and does) affect almost ANYTHING in the body, certainly the nervous system, the digestive system, the brain, the liver, etc., etc.  It's quite a dangerous SUBSTANCE as a matter of fact, and no small wonder that someone might experience "anxiety" (hangover) from too much drinking.  Too bad we don't have a bigger clue to the DAMAGE alcohol is ACTUALLY doing to us than to think it is only a case of "anxiety" (hangover).

All this being said, I admire Your decision to give up drinking.

Not everyone here is an alcoholic/addict.  Some of us were born of, and raised by, an alcoholic Mother and have learned much about alcoholism - and denial - along the way.  


Avatar universal
You've offerred up some wise food for thought.Many will digest it and others will rebuff it...i'm one who likes to digest it!Many of us in recovery value you here!:)
3060903 tn?1398568723
TTinKK : you are always so caring, so kind , so informative , so likely to recognize transference, you are truly my hero. IBIZZAN the same applies. Personally, I take great offense to elites , it so often leads to nepotism and then what do we get ? WWIII ? This site is about non judgmental action taken by a group to help raise the bottom of other addicts. The original poster sounds like she suffers from Transference. I send her my prayers, as well as Mike. May they never take their first hit of an illegal drug, for EXPOSURE means everything.  I think that if I had had my start in life as a “socialite”, I wouldn’t have Hepc, but that would be naïve. Mood altering substances, the disease of ADDICTION runs amok through every social economic class… it has been proven, albeit addiction just might hit the lower classes harder DUH, So what? Are we not all people? Do we not all deserve love and compassion that comes with rehabilitation, or should we all suffer in hell because we caused our family's a fraction of the heart ache that we have suffered succumbing to our disease and then making amends, with everything in between ? That's what my family did. It solved nothing. We both lost.
3060903 tn?1398568723
lower classes as it pertains to lack of jobs healthcare benetits...
Avatar universal
I was told that if you're wondering a lot if your drinking is a problem it most likely is!So glad i surrendered to knowing mine was years back...the drugs as well...but so much mental wrangling denial and failed attempts @ controlled use preceded it!and that Tink lady just plain rocks w/wisdom and experience!:)
Avatar universal
NightHawk61 and ibizan

Thank You Both Ladies for Your compliments, You've made me feel that I might have something valuable to say.

My Mother hurt me deeply in Her alcoholism but somehow I always knew the alcohol was our enemy and I'm left with Deep Compassion for those who struggle with addiction and those who are hurt by it.  You Have No Idea How Greatly I Respect You Two Ladies in Your Recovery!!

Thanx again, Both of You
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