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Old 16-04-12, 21:20
br19893 br19893 is offline
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alcohol and anxiety, should i stop drinking?

Hi everyone ,
I went for an assessment for cbt today and we found that my main issue was social anxiety. I'm on the waiting list now (so will probably have to wait a few months)
She asked me whether I drink and, being an 18 year old I said I binge drink every weekend. I don't drink excessively for someone my age and to an extent I don't drink to ease my anxiety. However, thinking about it iv never had a night out without getting drunk...
I knew that drinking made anxiety worse and I have often found that the next day I Feel incredibly anxious and depressed. But still its part of a teenagers life to go out and get drunk, I know it sounds harsh but I have the general opinion on people who dont drink that they are often quite boring. To all my friends I'm someone who knows how to let my hair down (my social anxieties lie in more formal situations where my skills are being judged, rather than socialising with people my age) so I Feel like if I stopped drinking I might be seen as boring! Plus I'm going to uni in September so I was looking forward to a few crazy nights out!
My question is, has anyone found that cutting down on the binge drinking will have an affect on your recovery? I was told that if I'm ever serious about recovering from social anxiety I would not be able to do it if I still go out and binge drink on the weekend. Would be nice to hear some peoples own experiences to see if this is true. I am willing to try going out and enjoying myself without drinking if I think its worth doing.
Hope to hear from you

---------- Post added at 21:20 ---------- Previous post was at 21:18 ----------

Woops iv just seen a big thread on this topic a few pages down! Il have a read!
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Old 16-04-12, 21:32
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Ingenious Ingenious is offline
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Re: alcohol and anxiety, should i stop drinking?

I think it would be very hard to stop drinking at your age particularly with you going to Uni, there is a danger that if you become teetotal you'll have to endure pretty agonising peer pressure and also pressure from yourself if you feel you are missing out on having fun at a time of your life when most people drink. I know I could never have given up drink at that age - now I'm middle aged I couldn't care less how boring people think I am, but I could never have done it at 18!

Weighted against this obviously is the fact it might not be helping your health. It's a tough one, I'd suggest trying to reach a good balance, do what you can to cut down (as opposed to stop completely). For example, can you try and drink less on a night out? Do you need to keep on drinking on your nights out, or can you switch to something less strong? You can do a lot to cut down without anyone even noticing.

I'm encouraged that you are asking these questions because it shows you are aware of the problems and issues with drink (so many your age are not). This is a good foundation to build on, and try to ensure you keep it in moderation.
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Old 17-04-12, 07:08
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littleredhen littleredhen is offline
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Re: alcohol and anxiety, should i stop drinking?

Hi - well done for your thread and for having the self-awareness to be thinking about these things.

In brief, my answer is - yes, stop binge drinking.

I long , my answer follows pretty much wash Ingenius said. You should not be fearful of being boring - let me tell you, there is nothing more boring than a drunk person!! But it is very difficult to be the only one not drinking when all your friends are and it will be difficult when you are making new friends at uni.

However, it will undoubtedly be affecting your health at some point and you only need to do the briefest of google searches to realise that you will be doing yourself a favour in the long run by maintaining your awareness and moderating the drinking now.

Sadly, I have close hand experience of alcoholism and in the case I know of very personally, the root of the alcoholism started very young to combat anxiety and booze became the addictive drug of choice to change mood.

As ingenius said - try just moderating - low alcohol or none on the nights that you are not out. Alternating soft drinks with booze. Perhaps when it's your round ordering just the Red Bull without the double vodkas, etc.

I don't think anyone here will criticise you for wanting to let your hair and get drunk - we've all done it, enjoyed it and most of us have lived to tell the tales and get over the regrets - but just be kind to yoruself and your body and don't overdo it.
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Old 17-04-12, 09:54
theharvestmouse theharvestmouse is offline
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Re: alcohol and anxiety, should i stop drinking?

Well done for recognising the problem, the truth is binge drinking massively increases anxiety. Anyone who tells you that its boring not to drink is talking rubbish. In fact people who drink less are much more enjoyable to be around.

Binge drinking makes it impossible to recover from anxiety problems, because alcohol is a known depressant and for causing anxiety. It also does a lot of damage to your body, so all in all if you can have a good time without drinking loads then you will be much better as a person.
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Old 17-04-12, 11:56
mikewales mikewales is offline
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Re: alcohol and anxiety, should i stop drinking?

Alcohol can also stop anti anxiety meds working properly, which may be one of the other reasons they mentioned it, as well as the reasons the other posters have said.

TBH if you cant enjoy yourself on a night out without binge drinking, then there is something wrong, it is quite possible to have fun sober, or just have a couple of social drinks.

You also do need to learn to address social situations sober, as if you always approach them drunk, then you are just masking any problems or worries you have
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Old 17-04-12, 18:56
br19893 br19893 is offline
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Re: alcohol and anxiety, should i stop drinking?

Thanks for all your answers, deep down I think I already knew the answer to my question. Rather than stopping altogether I need to change my mindset on drinking-like mikewales said if I can't enjoy myself on a night out without drinking then there's a problem, which in my case there is. My social anxiety makes me extremely self conscious and on a night out if I'm not drunk I hate dancing in front of people, it all boils down to me hating the way I used to look at my fear of being judged.
I think drinking itself is okay at my age, but I need to make sure that I'm doing it socially rather than to increase my confidence. I'm going on a pub crawl on saturday so this will be my first test! I plan to alternate between soft drinks and alcoholic drinks and see if I can let my hair down and enjoy the company of others a bit more, without needing to be drunk!
Wish me luck
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Old 18-04-12, 16:33
theharvestmouse theharvestmouse is offline
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Re: alcohol and anxiety, should i stop drinking?

I'm sure you can do it!
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