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Anxiety and Alcohol

Hi all.  I've been having strange symtoms for about a month now.  I'm currently undergoing a bunch of tests to start ruling different things out,  but the possibility of anxiety disorder is still a possibility.  I'm suffering daily with strange fuzziness in my head, being off balance and kinda stumbling and I can't stand loud noice, vibrations from the surround sound stereo drives me crazy,  and I sometimes feel like I can't breath and/or that the air I'm breathing is icy cold.  In any event,  I have noticed that I am 100 times worse the day after having a few drinks.  I had three glasses of wine of xmas eve and the next day my symptoms were soooo pronounced.  I didn't feel anything while I was drinking,  but the next day is always a nightmare.  Any input of similar experience with this?
12 Responses
366811 tn?1217422672
This is what we in the forensic business refer to as a "clue." You drink, you feel like ****, you drink and you feel like ****, you drink and ...you get my drift.

So at the least I'd say to put away the booze. A FEW drinks? Hmmmmmm. I realize that the definition of "too much" is "you drink more than your doctor," but "few" sounds like some number that is large enough that you can't remember what it is. And, if the number is big enough, and has been growing over time, guess what? You're developing a tolerance for alcohol, which is NOT a good thing. And the tolerance simply means you can "hold your liquor" while your drinking it in, but there's hell to pay later on, as you are aware.

If you are not now an alcoholic, you are, it seems, at risk of abuse and a dependency. Your next move is to be clear with medical authority on how much you drink. It may be something you must stop.

If you can.
366811 tn?1217422672
It probably goes without saying, but the starred out material above is a word which refers to a dice game played for money at Vegas, but not in the plural.
Avatar universal
I'm not sure how to take your response as it seems quite snide and sarcastic.  You certainly didn't answer my question, however you have done a fantastic job of rambling on and on about alcoholism and have made obnoxious, snap judements.  

Perhaps you should re-read my post.  THREE glasses of wine!!!  NOT an amount I cannot remember, Addendum....THREE GLASSES.  

I'd love to hear from others who have insight and are responding to be helpful.  

Avatar universal
JSGeare was trying to help you.He is an invaluable member of this forum.His advice to stop drinking is correct.Alcohol is no good for anxiety issues.Three glasses is not much, but when I was in a bad way with my anxiety,my doctor told me, "not a single drop".I have had only one glass and it alone made me feel worse the day after.I went down the alcohol road ,drinking a bottle of wine daily!!I too started out with a drink here and there,but it soon got out of control and made me feel really bad.The point JSGeare ws trying to make is that 3 drinks now can end up as 20 down the track.Reason being is that alcohol can have a soothing effect on anxiety initially but down the track it can really screw u up.
Dimi.
Avatar universal
This is not about me having a drinking problem.  I want to know if the symptoms of anxiety have a tendency to become pronounced after having SOCIAL drinks.  I am not an alcoholic.  Whether or not JSGeare is a valuable member of this group or not,  my question was not answered.

Anyone with valuable input which relates to my initail question,  please respond.  Thank you.
Avatar universal
Most people will tell you that the symptoms of anxiety are exacerbated by alcohol,even social drinking.
Avatar universal
But JSGeare was making a good point. If I look at my late father as an example. He suffered with his nerves. But he drank. When he drank he felt better. All those problems would go away. So come the end of the day his choice was drink. That is the way people do it. They work it out in their own minds as a sollution to the anxiety. Then they can also work out that if they went to a doctor they might be put on tablets and told not to drink. If long term a lot of people might not like that one at all. So instead they opt for the drink.
366811 tn?1217422672
OK, point taken, I was not as courteous as I should have been. I apologize, I can do better than that.

It is true that you said you had 3 glasses of wine. And it is also true that you said, "I have noticed that I am 100 times worse the day after having a few drinks." And regardless of how many drinks you have had, you always end up feeling terrible after you have them, so it is reasonable, although not a 100% guarantee, that there is some relationship between the booze and the feelings.

What you call my judgements -and I confess to some bias on this- are really my early attempts to guess at what might be going on. You will note that I conditioned my response by saying "... IF the number is big enough, and has been growing over time..." (emphasis mine).

You say that I did not answer your question. In looking at your initial post, (the one I was answering) the only question I see is this: "Any input of similar experience with this?" The similar experience would be -or so I thought- that the day after drinking you feel lousy. A lot of us can identify with that! And as a rule of thumb, doctors who are treating people with psycho-active drugs often recommend mixing alcohol with the drugs.

But it was not until your third post that you ask if  "... the symptoms of anxiety have a tendency to become pronounced after having SOCIAL drinks." I'll take a run at that.

Social drinks? The alcohol does not know the reasons or context for your drinking -all it knows is what to do inside of you. It is possible -I don't know this, but it is possible- that you may actually have an allergy to the stuff, instead of or in addition to whatever dependency there may (or may not) be. I'm not sure your next day reaction would be any different if the drinks were for "other than social" reasons. The characterization of the drinks as "social," however, suggest to me that it is very important for you to emphasize that they were not taken for some other reason -and I'm guessing you are possibly a bit uneasy with your own drinking.

The answer to the question, in my experience and based upon what my doctors have said and the shared experience of others, is that alcohol, as a drug, tends over the long term to make anxiety worse. The mechanism seems to be this: When first consumed, there is somewhat of an uplift, a cheeriness, a "feel good" thing. That after all, is why we drink it. But later, a sense of depression takes hold, which all to often is corrected with -guess what? More booze! The depression is a close cousin and frequent mental traveler with anxiety, panic, anger -the usual gang of suspects- and so the drinking is perhaps a component of, or condition corollary with, the anxiety.

Gabby, I'm kind of dancing around a really direct answer to your question as it reads literally, "...AFTER social drinks..,. " (emphasis mine). The reason for this -and I really don't mean to split hairs, here- is that that while those bad feelings occur AFTER the drinks of the night before, they also occur BEFORE the next round of drinks. My guess, based on what you write, is that you've had this experience more than once; enough, in fact, to pretty much know that every time you drink, you'll pay for it next day. And so given that this is repeating, continuing behavior, we have a kind of cycle going here, in which distrinctions of "before" and "after" are somewhat artificial and misleading (to yourself) I think. And therefore I am reluctant simply to give a simple "yes" or "no" to your question.

What I can say is that it seems likely to me that the drinking is possibly a coping mechanism (and perhaps much more) and that your anxiety is bad enough that an occasional martini after work (or with company) isn't really cutting it as a way to take the edge off the day -or just perhaps have friendly fun for awhile. There are other situations which are provoking anxiety, and, on the assumption that you have a few sessions of talk therapy together with whatever medications may be indicated, my guess is that you will see that the anxiety and the drinking are all related. It is all part of a larger whole, Gabby -so I think, anyway.

You have made a very lusty defense here; so strong, in fact, that you have been given to focus on my tone rather than my message. Some other respondents have tried to steer you back to the message, and you've been defensive about that as well. I think if you read some of the other posts and responses on the forum, you will see that gratuitous mockery is a rarity, and such was not the intent of my response to you but I can understand that you might not see it that way. Trust me, it is MUCH more important that I and every member of this forum be as thoughtful to others as we wish them to be towards us. In any event, if you've been prompted to mount a strenuous defense, that, in and of itself, sends a message.

All that said, Gabby, how about this: print out all this discussion and let your doctor and/or other trusted advisor read it and give you a reaction.

I wish you well.
366811 tn?1217422672
I wrote this in error: "And as a rule of thumb, doctors who are treating people with psycho-active drugs often recommend mixing alcohol with the drugs."

I meant, "recommend AGAINST" of course. Sorry for the error.

(Now, anyone know that doctors number?!)
Avatar universal
For the love of god,  I drink perhaps 3 times a year.  This posting is more stressful than it is worth.  I appreciate that there are probably people out there who use alcohol to ease their anxiety....I'm not one of them.  I simply asked a question regarding whether or not alcohol ( in small quantities and on an infrequent basis) will cause the symptoms of anxiety to worsen.  

And yes,  I am vigorously responding because I felt your response to my original question was ignorant and presumptuous.  Not to mention riddled with smart-*** undertones.  I am a highly stressed and scared woman who is getting very little help from the medical community.  So yes,  I may come off agressive,  but it has reached the point where I am at the end of my rope.  I came here for answers...perhaps a little compassion and understanding.  Instead I have been bombarded with judgement and patronizing responses.  

I won't be back so you need not waste your energy typing a response.  I'm sure it would just be one full of sarcasm and would be uber condesending.  I can get that from the idiot doctors.  I don't need it here too.
366811 tn?1217422672
On the off-chance that you will come back -just because you can't stand NOT knowing how I or anyone else responds, I'll answer your post.

It is entirely possible that, because you drink so infrequently, that even half a glass is sort of a shock to your system and what you have is a hang-over. It is all about what your body is accustomed to. And I think the answer to the question about alcohol's influence of anxiety symptoms has been answered.

I think, if you go back and read your material again, that you will see how easy it was for anyone to assume that your intake of alcohol is on a regular if not frequent basis. No question that the assumption is an inference on my part, simply because your report that you "always" feel poorly the morning after a few drinks suggested to me there have been enough occasions (more than 3 a year, anyway) to substantiate a solid "if-then" type connection. And your stiff response to subsequent posts didn't serve to disabuse me.

Even given that I may be a bit fresh, you could have just as well clarified the data as opposed to digging in for an argument.

So now, Gabby, you have inconsiderate strangers on a forum, together with "idiot" doctors. You may well want to consider the possibility that the way you enagage us all has something to do with this situation, and will not likely help with your stress. As for me, I hope you do come back and we have another run at all this. Neither I nor anyone else here is looking for a fight. Regardless of what you decide, I wish you well.
Avatar universal
Hi Gabby,
I read your experience and it reminds me of what I am going through.  My syptoms just 6 months ago with a shortness of breath, or not being able to take a deep breath, and chest pain.  I went to my doctor and she said I had exercise induced asthma, which made no sense because I was having the symptoms in her office and I was not exercising.  So I went on with my life still experiencing this shortness of breath.  I had really bad syptoms one day after I had a couple of beers the day before, pounding heart, fever, tightness in my chest.  At the time I did not equate it to the alcohol, because I have never had a problem like this before.  I went to a cardiologist to check everything out and everything came back fine.  This has been going on for 6 months now and I just recently put 2 and 2 together with the alcohol.  But it doesn't make sense to me, why I would be fine one day and then the next have absolutely no tolerance.  I try to explain it and it is not a hang over, it is a horribly debilitating feeling.  I was on Lexapro for about a month and felt nauseaus and like my arms weighed 100lbs, when I told my doctor she recommended doubling my dosage.  I said no way I would be a complete vegetable.  I have done a ton of reading, and one bit of info I found has to with the liver, gall bladder and pancreas.  I don't know if you get a pain under your right rib or lower back, but that is one thing I started noticing that I experience.  I have read that gall stones can cause a blockage to the pancreas which aids in digestion and breakdown of alcohol.  If there is a blockage you will experience symptoms about 12 hrs after you consume alcohol.  It may not be a large enough blockage to pick up on x-rays, but large enough for it to dirupt your bodies normal flow of digestion.  This can cause a feeling of anxiety, rapid heart beet, and upset stomach.  There are natural remedies to flush liver stones and gall stones.  I have not tried it yet, but at this point I am game to try anything to get back to normal.  I hope this helps.  Please keep me posted on any updates.
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