Avatar universal

Could this really all be anxiety? Trying not take benzos if I don't have to.

For the last 5 or so years I've had an undiagnosed condition where my feet get cold and sting, my head starts feeling cloudy, I feel utterly exhausted, and I feel a need to get up and exercise vigorously--which is the only thing that really helps.  All symptoms temporarily subside after.  Alcohol can lesson the symptoms too, but I have to drink 2-3 beers or more, and the symptoms usually come back and I STILL have to exercise after.  

If I'm lying in bed, totally exhausted, it will still happen and I'll have to get up and move.  If I'm in a hot bath, I'll still sting and feel messed up.  It'll help with the coldness but nothing else.  And if I just ignore the symptoms and let them continue on and on I'll feel discomfort in my chest, and sometimes can get heart palpitations.  The symptoms will not go away unless I exercise, or drink.  But I don't want to drink anymore--I hate having to--and I shouldn't because of my new meds anyway.

I'm male, 32, and weigh 155 pounds--I look physically fit. I've exercised vigorously daily for years since this has been going on.  I've walked 10 miles some days, across town, only to have to still get cardio before I go to bed.  Even after yoga it still continues.  My doctor thinks now with confidence that it's anxiety (he thought it was Reynaud's before, but that didn't make sense since I don't get discoloration or numbness), and just put me on a very mild dose of Celexa, and Klonopin (to take as needed).  I haven't been on any meds for years, so this is quite a lot for me.

I do have anxiety, I know this.  Particularly social anxiety.  My parents also have serious panic disorders and have been medicated for years.  But could anxiety cause these crazy physical symptoms, even when I'm lying down, physically exhausted?  The small amount of klonopin I've taken so far has helped me a little, particularly with getting to sleep.  I know of the dangers of benzos though and I really don't want to have to resort to taking them, and my doctor doesn't really want me to take them either, even though my parents do.  I feel stuck.  The Celexa doesn't seem to be helping much so far, at around 6 days in.  

I've never asked for help online like this before, but it's a new year; another year without answers.  My quality of life is getting worse and worse, and I find myself unable to hang out with friends the way I want to or even go to the movies because I know I'll be too uncomfortable to sit for long.  I can't work on the things I want to.  Holding a job has been difficult.  I'd love to go back to school at some point but the thought of sitting in a classroom for hours again seems agonizing.  This can't keep going on.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
5 Responses
Avatar universal
It is hard to believe alcohol is effective in stopping numb and stinging feet. I would not drink while taking Celexa since the FDA does not recommend it and I am doubting it controls the stinging but that is just my guess.
Perhaps you need to see another doctor for a second opinion about the stinging and numbness, to verify if it is as serious as you feel or perhaps just a minor issue that you are overly concerned about.
I can have biting itch and stings as often as every minute, but I ignore it since my doc and a neuro guy said it is unimportant. At one time it frustrated me when I woke up in the night to the point I couldn't get back to sleep so I had to go to a sleep clinic to find ways to ignore it. I have successfully conquered any urge to even think about it while trying to get back to sleep and as a result have cured my insomnia that I lived with for years.
My point is that sometimes an annoying thing can be successfully turned into a non-event with some training.
Hi.  Thanks for answering.   I don't feel any numbness, and alcohol often really does control the stinging and coldness.  Warms me up all over and I've had that confirmed by others as I let them feel my feet before and after.  After a few drinks I'm able to be comfortable again, for awhile.  But yeah, now that I'm on the Celexa I'm not touching it.  Exercise is all I've got now to find relief.

Immediately when this all started I chalked my symptoms up to be a circulation issue, or heart issue, but I've had numerous tests done that all came back normal.  Which is great, but I'm lost still.  I'm glad you were able to learn to ignore your symptoms.  I couldn't imagine learning to ignore mine...it really seems like there's a physical problem somewhere that has a definite answer, maybe even an easy one, I just have to keep searching.
What did the doctor say about your drinking alcohol as a treatment for your foot problem?
You also said your doctor thinks your tingling foot is anxiety related?
Avatar universal
The first question I'd ask is, do you feel anxious?  Are you plagued with irrational fears?  Do you get panic attacks?  You say you have some social anxiety, but don't say how much it affects you -- everyone has some anxiety problems and a couple of phobias but it doesn't affect them much.  When you suffer from anxiety in a form that is a disease, it's there a lot and severely interferes with your life.  As for the cold feet, some people just have cold extremities.  My wife is like that -- her hands and feet are almost always cold, despite being a regular exerciser.  People are odd birds.  I have the really bad anxiety disorder, but she calls me the furnace in comparison.  When anxiety causes temperature problems, and it can, it's usually in the form of the shivers.  So that's the most important question, because if you're not thinking anxious thoughts when this stuff happens, it's unlikely to be anxiety.  What does sound like anxiety is how much having what sound like relatively mild sensations has messed up your life -- you're really focused on this.  As for the stinging, that's more puzzling, and sounds like a neuropathy problem perhaps from a pinched nerve -- you exercise so much that if you hurt something at some point and pinched a nerve, well, exercising releases endorphins and increases circulation which can mask pain until the feeling wears off.  This is what people with arthritis have to do -- not moving makes it worse, but moving doesn't fix it, it just makes it go away for awhile.  They're still inflamed.  So most people just maintain so they can get on with life, because medication and surgery can lead to worse problems.  As for alcohol, that's one reason people take drugs -- to mask pain both mental and physical (the other is because it's fun).  Alcohol is a pretty good temporary numbing agent.  But anxiety sufferers don't usually do well with alcohol -- when we're anxious we feel disoriented and alcohol also makes us feel that way, so while some do okay with it, most of us can get more anxious if we drink too much or too often.  I'd keep looking for a physiological explanation, because antidepressants and benzos can also numb us but it won't treat whatever is going on with you.  If it is anxiety, given it doesn't seem to be out of control other than driving you to exercise and drink too much, you might consider therapy.  But you need to see someone who will test you for everything ordinary and weird.  And also tell us if you feel anxious a lot, which would do more to indicate psychosomatic pain -- anxiety makes us focus more on our pain and that aggravates it, though it doesn't necessarily cause it.    
I saw a few docs and a neuro guy with the intermittent stinging which is all over my body but has no pattern and they all just said there is nothing to test for. Not that anyone here can diagnose to say my situation is the same as GettingDesperate but it may be, in which case it is something that one lives with.
Or the problem could be something like plantar fasciitis. It seems to be all self-diagnosed at this point which is not to be relied on. My nurse friend swore she had self-diagnosed a typical nurse's ailment, sciatica, for decades until she went to an active release professional who cured her of the pain in one session, so there is a lot to be said for going to a professional instead of trying to do it on your own with no medical training. She lived with pain for decades for no reason!

GD said 2 beers can get rid of it, which doesn't sound like a lot of alcohol to numb pain. Anyway, I think that perhaps a specialist or another doctor's opinion or a physiotherapist/chiropractor/active release practitioner would be a good idea, because self-diagnosis isn't likely to yield any solutions and will be time consuming.
Paxiled, you bring up some great points.  I definitely don't feel shivers when this happens, or rapid heart rate, or anything like that.  And what I'm thinking about doesn't seem to have anything to do with the problem.  It happens often when I'm in bed, mentally exhausted, ready for sleep otherwise.  But when I fall asleep I'm usually okay through the night.  I get a nice few moments after waking where I'm warm and relatively symptom free.

I've always been socially anxious though, and self-conscious.  That's what got me into drinking in the first place, because it relaxes me when I can be very tense and hyper aware around others.  I'm pretty introverted and spend a lot of time alone.  I'm also a musician and playing in front of an audience is terrifying--my heart nearly jumps out of my chest sometimes and I screw up a lot when all eyes are on me, and I'm a huge perfectionist--so that's been hindering my career quite a bit.

A pinched nerve makes sense.  I've had chronic lower back pain since I was a teenager and have had to go to a chiropractor periodically.  Could be from that.  I also do have plantar fasciitis in both feet--have had it for years and have done everything suggested by my doctors to battle it.  Physical therapy, injections, orthotics, night splints, massage therapy, you name it.  But no doctor has ever suggested that that could be the cause of coldness, stinging, needing to exercise, etc.  That active release specialist might be something to try though.  Thanks, AnxiousNoMore.

Regardless if it's all due to anxiety or not, I'm going to make an appointment with a psychologist.  That's been long overdue.
"A pinched nerve makes sense." Maybe, however be cautious about trying to self diagnose just because something seems to make sense. Medical science is for professionals with experience, so always verify with them and preferably have them do the diagnosis.
Well, I've had quite a few wrong diagnoses from doctors, which have lead me to doing my own research.  My last doc first thought I wasn't getting enough activity and made me get 20,000 steps a day.  I exercised myself ragged during that time.  Then she thought this was all due to an iron deficiency (I was "low normal" for one single test, while every other iron test over the years while I've had this condition was normal) and wanted me to undergo an upper endoscopy. So I went to another doctor for a second opinion who told me that procedure was totally unnecessary.  I saw her for about 2 years and got nothing accomplished.  

And recently, my current doctor said it was Reynaud's syndrome initially, and then decided with certainty that it was anxiety.  Up and down and all around.  Every visit is a new diagnosis and new pills to go with it.
When they only spend about 10 minutes total talking to you and put you on pills first before really getting to the bottom of your issues, pills that could cause problems at work or even potentially wreck your life in the long-run, you've got to do some of your own research.  That's why many of us are here.
If you are low in iron today, all the previous year's tests are irrelevant, otherwise there would be no reason to test more than once in your lifetime.
Your analysis claiming doctors were "up down and around" so you have to do the diagnosis yourself is also not a realistic approach. If you think a doctor isn't good at their job, the solution is to find another, not to mistakenly think you are going to be able to diagnose.

You don't have any medical training and Googling and chat forums are not going to make up for that. Nothing left for me to say that isn't going in a repetitive circle, so I will leave you with the most important fact - self-diagnosis is rarely correct and no one can diagnose from here.
My "low normal" ferritin level could have simply been due to not eating enough iron rich foods during that time.  I also wasn't taking any supplements with iron in them.  I was put on iron supplements and shortly after it returned back to "normal", showing that my body responded well to more iron.  This, according to my new doctor, ruled out the need for an endoscopy.  

And I'm sorry but you don't make a whole lot of sense.  If I didn't self-diagnose, how would I know a doctor isn't good at their job?  The very reason I knew these doctors had misdiagnosed me is because I researched on my own.  If you believe I should just blindly follow my doctors' orders, you might as well have just told me that instead of trying to help me find answers.  
Here's my take on this discussion.  Anxious is right that it's impossible to self-diagnose, but that's not what you're doing.  There are a lot of people on here who Google symptoms, and the problem is, the same symptoms can indicate numerous things or nothing at all.  But what you're doing is, you're seeing the docs and then checking up on what they tell you.  That's what Google is really good for, because the truth is, doctors aren't any different than the rest of us -- some are great at it, some stink, some are passionate about it, most are doing it just because it pays really well and is a very secure job with virtually no costs for failure.  Anyone who went to a high quality college knew mostly pre-med majors, because that's what the majority of people started college doing because that's what their parents wanted them to do.  Most didn't become docs, either because they couldn't get past organic chemistry or realized they didn't have the slightest interest in it, but many did, and knowing them and why they got into the profession in the first place definitely gives one a more sober look at who doctors are.  The same is true for most professionals and most plumbers and most janitors -- only a few actually like doing what they do and care enough to learn to do it right.  Most of us work just for script that allows us to buy the things we no longer know as a species how to make or grow ourselves.  So I'm all for people checking up on their doctors, and there are great sites on the net for doing that, but I'm with Anxious in believing just googling symptoms causes needless anxiety and nothing you can use.  But over time, if you have a lot of medical problems or one that lasts a long time and you are a good learner, you can then do some self-diagnosis because you'll then know pretty much what a general doc knows.  You'll never know what at true specialist knows, but specialists have no time for patients -- too busy and too arrogant.  A good example is that nurse Anxious mentions -- sciatica doesn't actually cause pain in almost anyone.  It's most often muscular.  Nurses aren't trained in anything much but enough to make mistakes, but with experience if they're acute listeners they can learn a lot.  We all have the capacity to learn if we just exercise it.  We all have to understand as well that very little in medicine has any consensus behind it, and when you lived 64 years, as i have, you will have seen enough u-turns to make your head spin.  What is true today in medicine almost definitely will be false tomorrow.  That means anyone with enough time and interest can become an "expert," but a whole lot of medicine is just advertising and marketing and trial and error.  The patient is not free of responsibility for their own health.  Peace, everyone.  
Sorry, made a goof there.  Didn't mean to say sciatica doesn't cause pain, of course sciatica is a type of nerve pain.  Meant to say disc irregularities and skeletal irregularities don't usually cause pain.  Meant to say, sciatica is caused by different things -- sometimes arthritis, sometimes hip problems, sometimes disc problems, sometimes periformis problems, but that the treatment for it is usually relieving the pressure on the sciatic nerve from whatever is pinching on it which can usually be done without surgery or medication but not always.  But sciatica itself is pretty easy to self-diagnose, whereas the cause of it isn't.  I got myself confused because I participate in forums that discuss this stuff and usually the subject is the back.  But also  , you can't tell someone is low in iron from one test.  The poster is correct on this.  People do vary by the hour, the day, and the month.  Too much iron is a risk factor in heart disease, so it's one that shouldn't be diagnosed cavalierly.  The supplements used for it by doctors are very poorly absorbed, causing constipation -- most people can solve it better by eating more green leafy vegetables that have the most easily absorbed iron or taking supplements that derive the iron from green leafy vegetables.  The fact someone tests low in iron once or low in anything once is a guide, not a diagnosis.
I need to clear up a misunderstanding so have to add this paragraph even though I said I was done. You claim to have had some bad docs per your post, so you got second opinions and solved the problems. That doesn't mean they are all bad, but if you are still dealing with one who is, then likely more errors will occur.
The solution is to find one who is competent. I have a good doc which solves my problems, since he would never make the mistakes you say were done by those two. I will leave a misunderstanding about my quote regarding the iron tests as is, since you have solved the problem.

" That's what got me into drinking in the first place, because it relaxes me when I can be very tense and hyper aware around others." This is a big warning sign; dependency on alcohol to deal with work stress issues. I won't lecture you on alcohol abuse after this post unless you ask for info,  since you didn't come here for that, but you might want to read up on the subject and I would recommend reading the AA book, which is a collection of short stories about different people with alcohol dependency  -  it was years ago when I read it, but I was thinking after your post that there was a musician in one story who drank to relax and become better at his job so perhaps you would find his story interesting if nothing else.
When you add that above quote to your claim that the foot issue is resolved by alcohol it suggests you are taking enough to get you "feeling no pain" and would be more than the 2 beers.
I originally mistook your drinking solution to mean that you thought alcohol had some special ingredient that released whatever problem your foot had, however that doesn't seem to be the case if you are using alcohol to the point it removes fears when you work. If you are using it as a pain reliever, then there are better options - either OTC or if necessary something a competent physician can prescribe.
This whole post is just something to think about, but I have lots of experience with alcohol abusers and suggest you stop using alcohol as a prop to do your job, and perhaps find a different way to cope. I am not a performer but can imagine the pressure you are under, but there must be a better way to face it.
I note near the beginning that you said you would stop drinking, so if it is that easy maybe this post of mine is unnecessary.
Anyway, miscommunication on chat forums often leads to misunderstandings and errors.
AnxiousNoMore, I have never once had a drink while performing music (honestly it would probably help with the performance anxiety!), and I typically only have those 2-3 drinks about 3 nights a week. Sometimes I will drink more with friends on the weekends.  I don't drink at all during the day.  My drinking falls very much under the category of "moderate" for a male and even below that since I don't have those 2-3 drinks every night.  It's been 5 days since I've had a drink, and I feel no withdrawal effects.  I've just had to exercise a whole lot more because now that's all I have left to combat this.  

Well, the klonopin seems to help, but I haven't taken it much since it was prescribed.  I'm afraid to, with all that I've read.

When my doctor thought it was Reynaud's he said the alcohol made sense, and even said I could continue drinking moderately in order to combat it, because it opens the capillaries.  But as I mentioned before, he has since ditched Reynaud's and moved onto anxiety as being the culprit.  But maybe it's both.  I am probably one big mess.

Paxiled, I agree with everything you wrote.  You seem to have a wealth of knowledge in this area and I appreciate you taking the time to share it with me (us; for those looking in).  I would love to find a doctor or specialist (in whatever field I require) who will spend a significant amount of time with me in trying to understand what exactly is going on.  Until that happens, I don't see anything wrong with getting some information and suggestions from people like yourself who might have some insight on the matter.  

I seem to be a unique puzzle because I have searched and searched online for years for someone with the same problem(s) and I haven't found anything yet.  Everyone I meet says it's bizarre and they've never heard of it.  This kind of thing, I don't think, is going to be solved by a regular 10 minute doctor visit if I don't already have some ideas to go on.  So that's why I'm here.
I also have something that isn't common and have not been able to find any doc that cares enough about it to even know the condition exists even though it's in the diagnostic manual, so I guess I have extra empathy here.  But I do agree with Anxious on the drinking, but have to say that performers in general are well known to use a lot of drugs of all kinds.  Partly it's because of the extreme insecurity of trying to make a living doing something so competitive and so hard to get paid to do (I'm a writer who has made a total of 100$ on it, so I get it.  I'm also a musician, but not a paid one, but was a serious one who wrote a lot of music -- living this way is just not the way most people live and so it can feel very isolating).  But you are more than a moderate drinker, and if you do have an anxiety problem, alcohol will probably make it worse.  That's my concern.  If you don't, who am I to judge?  Trying to find a musician who doesn't live outside the normal boundaries and who doesn't use more drugs than others is pretty hard, creative people are different.  But again, the amount you're drinking is more than moderate drinking because when you do drink you drink 2-3 drinks and that's not moderate.  One drink is moderate.  But I really don't care if it gets you through the day and benzos are also a dangerous drug but one that many of us need to cope.  Life is more complicated than any one answer can fix.  I'm just saying this to say that Anxious does have a point and if you reject that point, fine, but he's an anxiety sufferer and so am I and I think that makes us more sensitive about alcohol use.  I hope you find some answers, I really do.
"the amount you're drinking is more than moderate drinking because when you do drink you drink 2-3 drinks and that's not moderate.  One drink is moderate."

That's for women.  Most guidelines I've read state moderate drinking is anywhere from 2-3 drinks daily for men.  

These sites even say 3-4: https://moderatedrinking.com/home/default_home.aspx?p=md_defined


I also drink very slowly when I do, sometimes a drink per hour, and usually consume plenty of water.  I think if it were a problem my doctor would have told me to quit drinking, instead of being fine with it and telling me I could continue.  I certainly drink a lot less than most people my age that I know--but I know everyone's different.

By the way, I tried a little klonopin again last night.  0.25mg.  Didn't help with the coldness in my feet, although it made me tired and more "okay with it".  I guess that could still be helpful.  Made me feel kinda fluttery though in my chest for a few moments though.  Didn't like that very much.
If you're going to use klonopin, that dose is probably too low to do much.  I don't recommend you get to where you rely on that drug, as it's a bear to stop taking, but again, if you are going to take a drug you need to take enough for it to work.  
As for what's moderate or not, I'm really not talking about what doctors say.  I'm talking about life -- if you find it necessary to have 2-3 drinks at a time to enjoy yourself, well, you can make up your own mind.  Again, I really don't think that's a huge issue here, I wouldn't say anything except for the anxiety issue, which for most people doesn't mix well with anxiety or depression.  But you'll find your own way, I believe that.
973741 tn?1342342773
Drinking to cover up a symptom of something else that is uncomfortable is how a lot of issues of alcohol dependence start.  That's self medicating and a dangerous habit to get into.  

You have anxiety because of symptoms.  That's normal anxiety.  I have had a inner ear issue that leads to severe vertigo.  Whenever I get the fullness in my ear, I have a lot of anxiety that I'm about to get vertigo.  Normal anxiety.  

I think it would be in your best interest to exhaust whatever resources you have to uncovering why you have the sensation in your feet.  This sounds what I describe as my foot going to sleep when I'm in certain positions including when in bed and going to sleep.  Neurological reasons or circulation reasons would seem to be impacting this.  

I would not encourage anyone wondering about anxiety and mental health issues to take a drink.  Most alcoholics do have substantial anxiety and mental health issues and masking it is common.  So, advise you to not go down that road.  good luck
Thank you, Specialmom, for commenting.  As it stands currently, I either have 2-3 drinks to get relief, or I exercise vigorously--and often have to do that multiple times per day.  If I don't do either of those, I suffer.  Sometimes I simply don't have the energy to exercise, especially when it's time for me to go to sleep and I don't want to get out of bed and hop on the exercise bike for half an hour, so drinking has been a very effective tool.  For me.  

I'm not covering up symptoms--I'm alleviating them.  My body gets warmer, the tingling/stinging goes away, the strange sensation in my head goes away.  Whatever alcohol is doing feels like what my body needs.

Additionally, I'm a whole lot more fun to be around.

I feel you guys have really been vilifying alcohol here and making my moderate intake your main focus instead of trying to understand why exactly the alcohol is helping.  When I can quit alcohol for a week and experience no withdrawal symptoms, and feel no benefit to the symptoms that brought me here, it would seem that that's not the problem.

I recently had every blood test under the sun and the only issue (iron was perfect this time) is low Vitamin D--so I started taking that.  No improvement so far, but it hasn't been too long.  Circulation is fine.  Been to 2 neurologists--nothing conclusive there.
We vilify alcohol because it deserves it.  Sorry, but it's just true.  Look, booze is fun.  I would never tell anyone to never ever drink unless it made them unhappy or ill.  But alcohol is an addictive drug, and using addictive drugs to treat a problem leads to other problems.  Whether that's opiates or benzos or any other addictive drug, it's always better to find another solution.  I'm also sorry, but having to drink two to three drinks to get a reaction indicates you already have built up a tolerance.  Again, I don't really have a horse in this contest, if you like drinking that's fine with me.  It just might not turn out to fine for you in the long run.  We all drink because it makes us more fun to be around -- that's the insidious part of it.  So again, I'm not a drug prude -- there are a lot of them in the US but I'm not one, I think it's fine for people to get high to have fun and learn something about themselves they might not learn otherwise.  But alcohol is not a drug that teaches anything, it just dulls everything.  You want to drink three drinks at a party?  Fine with me, it's fun.  You drink three drinks because without that you can't sleep and apparently don't like yourself as much?  That's a problem because it's alcohol and alcohol is one of the most easily and most commonly abused drug for those who self-medicate.  And yes, you are covering up symptoms, that's what alleviating them means -- you're not curing the problem.  You cover it up by not feeling the pain because of a drug that doesn't cure the problem -- it's the same with benzos and antidepressants, which don't treat the cause of a problem but only cover up the symptoms.  On the other hand, if you can't find the cause of the problem and nothing else works, then if alcohol is the only thing that works and you don't ever find yourself drinking more and more or more and more often, then who am I to judge?  I take benzos for anxiety, and I know perfectly well it's not a good idea and doesn't do anything to solve the problem.  It's just the best I can do because after years of having the problem nothing worked.  I'm not sure you've exhausted all the possibilities yet, and I hope you get past this so you can drink just for fun, not because you feel you have to in order to survive.  Peace.
It's your choice to drink but understand you are abusing alcohol. This is a classic pattern.  And with the statement that you feel you are more fun to be around because of the drinking seals the deal.  This is your life though.  But alcoholics always start somewhere. I see you are already starting the pattern of denial and excuses and again, this is your life, not mine.  But if you've ever known a few alcoholics, you'd know that they are not fun to be around.  It's not a fun life.  It's isolating.  You're okay now, but alcoholism is a progressive disease.  Eventually, you will not be having fun.  

That exercise also helps, good.  Glad to hear it.   Maybe this is all psychological.  Do you see a psychiatrist?  
Wow.  So because I drink MODERATELY, you are giving me the alcoholism spiel and accusing me of abusing it.  I have explained time and time again that the alcohol is not the cause of my symptoms, and the symptoms began before I started drinking regularly, and you simply will not explore with me why exactly alcohol is helping.  2-3 drinks a night over a span of hours a few times a week does not constitute as alcoholism.  I am not getting wasted when I drink.  Aside from occasions at parties where everyone is doing the same thing, I don't ever desire drinking to excess and to where I have a headache the next day.

And once again, I am not covering up the symptoms with alcohol.  When my feet are ice cold before alcohol, and then become warm after alcohol, that's not "covering up" symptoms.  That's alleviation.  Temporary, yes, but alleviation nonetheless.  You should be helping me to figure out exactly why this is happening, not spending your time slamming my moderate alcohol consumption that even my doctor doesn't see a problem with.  

"And with the statement that you feel you are more fun to be around because of the drinking seals the deal"

Actually, no, it does not "seal the deal".  Most people who drink, even if only occasionally, feel they're more fun to be around--and they probably are.  It's called a social lubricant for a reason.  I'm an introvert, so that's even more common for us.

I'm sorry but you guys aren't helping me at all.  I didn't come here to argue--I came here to try to find answers.  I'm leaving this thread and I'll be continuing to work with doctors on the cause of my symptoms.  When I find out the diagnosis I will come back here and let people know--just in case someone out there has the same frustrating condition.  In the meantime I'll continue to enjoy a couple drinks on nights when I am feeling too exhausted to exercise.  Peace.
It's always a good idea to work with doctors and I think I speak for all when I say we wish you the best in figuring out what is wrong with your feet.  

When I was younger, I had a few drinks here and there.  I really don't now just due to my current lifestyle.  I don't think having a couple of drinks is bad.  I think the concern you are hearing is just that no one wants you to go down what is known to be a very difficult path.  That's all.  That's it.  No one knows you or the full situation better than you and we're just outsiders looking in.  Sorry if it was annoying.  My own intention was just to say that lots of things we do in life (I have my own things) have to be considered in terms of how it fits into the big picture.  

I hope you get answers for the discomfort in your feet and again, wish you the best.

PS:  I'm a blast to hang with even when drinking water.  Just ask me.  (joke)
I'm saying feet but know it's more than your feet giving you the sensation.  
973741 tn?1342342773
Have you ever looked into neuropathy due to vitamin deficiency or nutrition issues?  Something to check out too.  
Aside from low (but within range) vitamin D I appear to have no deficiencies.  I just had comprehensive blood work done a couple weeks ago.
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When you say exercise makes it go away, I mean, this is so obvious I guess I just assumed you'd probably covered this, but it increases circulation -- vigorous exercise pretty much forces blood and nutrients to move around the body.  If this is what's helping, then a nerve problem is a good possibility.  One thing that causes this is diabetes and pre-diabetes.  Another is an excess of Vitamin B6.  Another is lupus.  Another is impingement somewhere in the spinal column or the hip area.  Some people just have poor circulation to the extremities that isn't a medical problem at all -- my wife always has cold hands and feet, for example.  What alcohol would do is numb the feelings -- to the contrary side of what exercise does, alcohol limits circulation.  It gives a feeling of warmth while actually cooling the body, so it feels the opposite of what's actually happening.  It feels good, but makes the problem worse.  People worldwide used to think alcohol was good in cold conditions because it made them feel warm even while it was dehydrating them and making their circulation less, thus increasing the chances of freezing while they felt warmer.  
I realized after I wrote this that I made it sound like only serious things can cause the foot problem, I wasn't trying to do that.  If that part of your problem is a nerve problem it can even be caused by wearing a tight pair of shoes too long or from strained ankles or a nerve impingement that is often falsely thought to be plantar fasciitis.  Unfortunately, this doesn't explain the foggy head and fatigue, although the former can also be a vascular problem as this happens in people who get migraines, caused by constricted blood vessels.  Anxiety sufferers feel anxious and have anxious thoughts, but the also overfocus on things others wouldn't think much about.  But none of us here is a medical expert and can't diagnose you, we can only warn you of the pitfalls we've seen as anxiety sufferers.  I hope you find the diagnosis, but what I find really strange is getting the same relief from two activities, drinking and exercising, that do two different things physiologically in the body.  Life is just hard sometimes.
I was just tested for diabetes a couple weeks ago and it was negative.  No vitamin issues aside from low (but within range) vitamin D.  B12 is high, but the doc didn't seem to think that was a problem. Everything else is normal.

I actually often don't wear pants at home because they make the condition much worse when I'm sitting.  Loose clothing has been best.  Sitting cross-legged also feels better, or having my feet up on a foot stool.  Sounds like circulation doesn't it?  That was my first guess but I had an ultrasound to check blood flow and it was all good.

"Another is impingement somewhere in the spinal column or the hip area."

Not sure about impingement but I've had low back pain for many years, but I had an MRI of my lower back and 3 doctors couldn't find anything wrong.  Frustrating.
You might try an osteopath or chiropractor.  While I have to say chiropractors have never fixed me, they are pretty good at diagnosing some of this stuff especially if they treat a lot of athletes and athletic teams.  Physical therapists can also be pretty good at diagnosing impingement.  MRIs are a bit dicey -- I've had a lot of them, and sometimes they aren't read very closely by the orthopedists who order them -- they often go more by instinct (of, if you want to be cynical, by the money they can make by performing surgery).  But you do make a good description of something going on with your circulation in some fashion and it doesn't have to come from you lower back.  For example, the periformis is a small muscle in your buttocks that doesn't show up on MRIs.  When it's inflamed, it can pinch the sciatic nerve which runs just above it, and cause pain all the way down the side of the body to the foot.  You don't describe this, but it shows there are many places other than just the back that can be constricted.  Often this can be relieved with rest and proper exercises, but again, it doesn't explain the foggy head and fatigue, which goes more to fibromyalgia or nutrient deficiencies, which mostly would sound like electrolyte imbalances.  Have you ever tried supplementing with D3 to see if it helps?  People are different and the tests regular docs use aren't very good really -- holistic nutritionists usually do the best tests and they do them more than once to make sure they're not recording a one-time oddity.  Some people with very slight blood sugar imbalances have significant effects.  Could be the same for you with the D.  Could also be food allergies or intolerance, such as Celiac Disease.  Again, your ordinary doc just isn't that interested in finding answers, which is why so many end up at the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins before they discover what's actually going on.  
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