I am a late 20's male that has been dealing with anxiety since the age of 17. It began as sleep paralysis at that age, and it disappeared until I went through a rough patch in life at the age of 23. It returned then as panic disorder that ended with a trip to the ER due to feeling "out of control" probably exacerbated by dehydration. Now at age 28 it is back again, and this time it is even worse.
I have been on Prozac the previous two times, but I am always afraid that those medications have side effects that worsen anxiety/depression (go figure). I am afraid at this time that my anxiety has come from alcohol abuse. Not the sort of binge drinking/black-outs from back in college, but a sustained 3-5+ high-alcohol beers every day for the past year and a half. I drink beer because I love to and it is relaxing, not because of problems in my life, but I feel that it is now a crutch I need every day (I used to be addicted to cigarettes, and did various drugs between the ages of 17-22).
Since March of this year, I have noticed the following symptoms and I am not sure if it is the alcohol making my inherent anxiety worse: frequent panic attacks, impending sense of doom/dread, feeling of worthlessness, feeling of being out of body or out of control. These feelings happen when I am watching a movie or walking around the mall or driving...aka normal things. I am in a wonderful relationship and am doing better than ever in graduate school on the way to my career, and yet I feel terrible 50% of the time. Sometimes I find sobriety a strange and discomforting feeling, and sometimes it feels normal like it should.
Here is my dilemma: I know that continuing to drink at this level is making my anxiety worse, but I am afraid to quit because I do not want to have another ER episode. I am also hesitant to take medicine, but I do want to see a psychiatrist to see if there are any short-term (3 months or less) solutions to help me. I don't think I need rehabilitation or AA, but I want to make a fundamental change and I want to be safe doing it. Any advice would be very beneficial. If not, then it was nice just being able to type out my feelings.