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  1. #1

    What Is Wrong With Me?

    Hello, this is my first post here.

    I have been suffering with anxiety, panic attacks and depression for 8 years now.

    My symptoms worsen dramatically after drinking alcohol, to the point where I am a completely different person the next day as a result of my physical and mental symptoms.

    My head feels full, heavy and is all over the place. My heart begins to race if I so much as stand up. I feel sick for days after. I am twitchy, cannot sleep and get panic attacks for no reason.

    It intensifies the more I drink, and if I drink for 2 days in a row it is pretty unbearable. I cannot even imagine how I would be if I drank for 3 or 4 days in a row. I honestly believe I would die or kill myself as it would become utterly unbearable.

    I want to make it clear that I am not an alcoholic, I drink once or twice a week, and that my symptoms are still there when I don't drink, they just intensify after alcohol.

    They also get worse with coffee, cigarettes, sugary drinks etc.

    I used to be able to drink however much I wanted and be absolutely fine the next day. What has changed in my body and mind?

    After every day which I've drunk on it is as if I am coming off heroin the next day and it is some kind of withdrawal symptom.

    I have been prescribed drugs the last time I went to the doctor but I don't want to go down that route as I have read on the internet that they never really work and there are side effects etc.

    I just want to be how I used to be.

    It's not mental so I can't see how cognitive therapy could get rid of my very real physical symptoms.

    What is wrong with me?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: What Is Wrong With Me?

    Hi and welcome..
    I don't drink because it used to make my anxiety 10 times worse but I do see my mum and sister if they have been on a night out then the next day there all panicky
    But if I have a ciggie 1st thing in morning going it kicks my anxiety off and I go into a panic attack..
    I do take medication anti depressants which have really helped me an idea different than get any side effects maybe u can just chat with your doctor x
    trying in little steps

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Re: What Is Wrong With Me?

    i had to give up drinking as it was giving me such bad anxiety the next morning it just wasnt worth it, it will leave a gap in your life that u will have ro fill , i miss the buzz and the social side of things that booze gave me just not the panic attacks i would stay well clear if i was u

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Re: What Is Wrong With Me?

    The first thing to recognize is the basic physical explanation for increased anxiety after drinking, as that alone can alleviate some of the anxiety - that is that you go into a 'hypoglycemic dip' - low blood sugar. It's why most people crave fatty, sugary foods to cure their hangover!
    When you enter the 'hypoglycemic dip' it basically just means your brain has less energy, and less energy = less control over anxious thoughts/the way you perceive the physical symptoms of anxiety. And that's not exclusive to people with anxiety/gad/etc, but most people. The only difference is, if you already have a high sensitivity to anxiety symptoms, your brain reacts to them more.

    When I was on Citalopram I never suffered with anxiety after drinking. I had never been ill from alcohol, had a hangover or remotely unwell. It seems once I stopped the medication I get hungover and I suffer all of the above, including the increased anxiety, the day after.

    Some tips on reducing this are to eat well and get plenty of fluids the following day, not high sugar sweet stuff that will make your sugars go up and down, but slow energy release, like brown bread, brown rice etc. Hard when you're hungover I know, but it can help! Try reducing the amount you drink, or alter what is it you're drinking - spirits tend to make the after effects worse for me, whereas beer doesn't.

    Caffeine is a stimulant that increases your heart rate, which your body is probably recognizing as something to panic about as opposed to a result of having caffeine...this whole anxiety malarkey really does work in strange ways! Long term anxiety will make your body more sensitized to things like caffeine, high sugar, alcohol etc, which is probably why it's changed over time. But it is all reversible!
    I hope this helps

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Re: What Is Wrong With Me?

    Hi Prawn,

    Firstly, don't knock CBT. For a long long time I thought all my anxiety was physical, the negative thoughts had become so "standard" to me, that they almost became my positive/normal way of thinking, ie to me that way of seeing life seemed normal. My counsellor calls it my "default position" I honestly thought there was nothing mentally wrong with me. I was wrong. very very wrong. It has just taken finding the right kind of CBT for me to help me identify my negative way of thinking that caused my anxiety.

    I have had courses of CBT in the past and found they weren't for me. This time, I am seeing a counsellor who guides me in my CBT and she has found so much to help me on.

    I think the only way for me to describe it is that my negative thoughts were buried SO deep, they were very difficult to identify and target, but they were the source of my anxiety. Since seeing the therapist, and with medication too, my anxiety attacks have shortened in duration, and we are putting that down to me being nicer and more positive on myself when something unfortunate happens to get me down.

    As for drinking, like you, I enjoy a drink once or twice a week. When my anxiety is bad, I can't drink at all because the following day I feel mentally terrible. But I too am on citalopram (like Dread) and I can drink without feeling bad the following day (but again, just the once or twice a week though).

    Also don't knock the medication - as you say,you have been reading on the internet. The internet is completely unregulated, and people are more likely to report when things don't work or when side effects occur, than when something good happens. Think of it like a product review - people are much more likely to take the time out to write a bad review than to write a good review on a new kettle or toaster that they have bought! Different medications suit different people, while citalopram works for me, it may not work for other people. Fluoxetine works for quite a lot of people, but not for me.

    Something that may really benefit you, if you are not really sure of the source of your anxiety is relaxation, and exercise. Something like a relaxation CD to do daily (I listen to mine in the evening before I go to bed), and going for a brisk walk to raise your hear rate can do wonders to use up some of the adrenaline in your body! And Exercise releases Endorphins, hormones to make you feel naturally happy

  6. #6

    Re: What Is Wrong With Me?

    I have found that drinking and anxiety dont really mix, when my anxiety is moderate-bad drinking alcohol makes the next day very hard to handle. Even 2-3 pints will leave me feeling a wreck. I cant even manage a trip to tesco without feeling like I am on the verge of collapse. So I end up leaving the shopping and legging it back to the car!

    If I do have a social occasion I always try to make sure that the next day is totally free for me to recover. Perhaps it would be better to learn to enjoy a night out without the alcohol but as others mentioned its hard to give up the social aspect of drinking and its nice to be on that same 'level' as everybody else.

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